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April Fools' Day filled with light-hearted fun

I love April Fools' Day, but my wife hates it!

Because as a minister I'm expected to be all in favor of truthfulness, it is a delightful escape to know there is one day when I can tell lies to my heart's content without being condemned for it.

My wife does not agree. She says, "Please, no April Fools' jokes this year. I have enough stress in my life without becoming upset about something just to hear you laugh. No mouse in the cupboard; no bumps all over our son's body. Please!"

One year, Betty was entertaining a group of women with dinner in our house on April 1. Before they came, she said, "I don't want you to say a word to me during the meal. No April Fools' remarks. Promise?"

Of course, I promised. When the guests came, the two boys and I went to eat our meal in the family room. The dining room, where the women were gathered, was on one end of the house. Next to it was the kitchen. On the other side of the kitchen, but around a corner, was the family room.

I told the boys to sit still and say nothing. I leapt off my stool, ran around the corner into the kitchen and ripped about eight paper towels off the rack, then raced back to the family room. I saw Betty, from the dining room, looking at me curiously.

After a moment I raced back to the kitchen for 10 more towels, with a panicky look on my face. "What is wrong?" Betty asked.

"Nothing," I said.

When I came back to the kitchen for the third bunch of towels Betty couldn't stand it any longer. She jumped up from her dinner and ran through the kitchen to see what we'd spilled.

"April Fools!" my sons screamed between giggles.

"Betty," I said, "I kept my promise. I did not say a word to you until you asked me a question, and then I told you the absolute truth. I said nothing was wrong."

Somehow, she didn't buy it. But when she told the story to the women in the dining room, I heard peals of laughter, and that helped get me forgiven.

My best one ever, though, was when I lived in East Aurora. Of course, East Aurora is the home of the Roycroft, the famous old inn where Elbert Hubbard once held sway.

My daughters were adults living in different states. So I wrote an identical letter to each of them.

The letter had, at its very top, in larger print than the rest of the letter, "APRIL 1." I then continued by asking them if they had heard the news from East Aurora. The Middle School was to become a resort hotel. There would be a monorail leading from the hotel to Hamlin Park a few blocks away. The park was to be remade into an amusement park and the village was changing its name to Roycroftville.

Many people were excited about the plans, I said, but some opposed it. If they had any comments to make, they should write to the mayor immediately.

I continued, "However, before writing, look carefully at the date at the top of this letter!"

Two daughters got the joke. The third did not. Fortunately, before writing to the mayor she phoned one of her sisters to say, "Have you heard what they are doing to our hometown?" Of course, her sister told her it was an April Fools' letter.

I wonder what I can do today? And, after reading this, I wonder if someone will be out to get me?


Charles Lamb, a retired minister, works part time as assistant to the pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Youngstown.