By ELAINE MARZE
(SENIOR WIRE) It takes people of a certain age to remember what life was like before cell phones. If you lost your husband in the mall, he stayed lost until you tracked him down in the tool section at Sears. And if you got separated from a family member at AstroWorld, you probably had to call 911.
No, wait, there was no 911 either. Other than panicked screaming, there was no easy way to “call” the lost one.
I have a reputation for being a very honest person, but one day a year I have fun playing April Fools’ jokes. My friends and family believe I have a real gift for knowing what buttons to push to get folks excited and fool them.
I’m so honest that even people who know it is the first day of April will believe me. Some have been fooled more than once. It’s got to be a gift.
One prank I pulled on my husband took an unexpected and undesired twist. My husband bought a bull and had been fattening it up for over two years with visions of steaks and hamburgers running through his head every time he looked at this steer.
His family’s philosophy about animals can be summed up as, “If I can’t eat it, I don’t want to feed it.” They take their meat (or potential meat) very seriously.
My philosophy is that if it has fur or feathers, I want at least one, so we have had a few conflicts over the years what with the pet monkeys, raccoons, squirrels, dogs, horses, rabbits, cats, and birds the kids and I have owned.
Anyway, my husband and his brothers had been planning a camping/fishing trip for weeks, and he was really looking forward to it. He got up early April 1st and left on the three-hour drive to meet his brothers.
Since this was before we had cell phones, he stopped at an unnamed marina when he arrived and used the pay phone to call and let me know he got there and would be unavailable for the next few days.
In one of those sudden, creative inspirations that April 1st seems to bring out in me, I impulsively said, “I’m so glad you called because something’s wrong with T-Bone (the bull’s oh-so-original name). He’s lying out in the pasture with his feet up in the air and hasn’t moved for an hour.”
“Well, go nudge him and see if he can get up. Check to see if he’s alive,” hubby yelled excitedly.
“No way,” I replied. “He’s liable to jump up and get me!” (This was a MEAN bull!)
“You need to find out if he’s okay. If he just died we can still save the meat, and if he’s not dead we need to get him to the vet.”
“You know he tries to kill me every time I go near him,” I said. “I’m not getting close to that mean bull!”
I could tell my steak-loving husband was getting more agitated, and I was just about to say, “April Fool!” when he hurriedly replied, “Okay, I’m coming home. I’ll be there in a few hours!” Slam! He hung up the phone!
“Wait!” I yelled to a dead pay phone at some unknown marina.
For the next couple of hours I was imagining how “unhappy” (that word is a major understatement) my formerly loving man was going to be if he came home and heard me say, “Sorry, honey, it was an April Fool joke gone awry. Your bull is happy and healthy, so just turn around and drive back, and enjoy your camping trip.”
Normally, the man I married is slow-to-anger and enjoys a good joke, but this had all the earmarks of being one of those situations where things could get ugly. I actually contemplated tapping T-Bone on the forehead with a .357 round, so he would be getting stiff by the time my husband got home. (I mean, the bull was going to have to die before we made hamburger out of him anyway!)
But that troublesome bull wouldn’t come close enough to the fence for me to get a good shot, and I wouldn’t take the chance on wounding him and causing him to suffer.
And, I couldn’t get close without him goring me. Did I mention he was mean?
An hour or so later, I heard my husband’s truck throw gravel as he whirled into the driveway. He jumped out and ran into the pasture where his bull was munching contentedly on grass. I watched as my dearly beloved felt and examined T-Bone all over. I had explained to the kids what a neat April fool’s joke we were going to play on daddy, and as we met him at the pasture gate, he was asking, “What happened? T-Bone looks fine.”
Remember, it was still permissible to lie because the day wasn’t over yet, so I clasped my hands together thankfully and gushed, “It was a miracle, baby! We prayed that T-Bone would recover and be healthy and happy when you got here, and look at him now!” (Believe me there had been some prayers offered up before my husband got home.)
The real miracle was that he believed me. After all, it was April 1st! I eventually told him the truth—years later, after I thought enough time had passed that he could appreciate the humor of an April Fools’ joke gone bad.
Apparently though, I didn’t wait long enough. ISI