Gord Turner: The joys and sorrows of April Fools’ day

We had an interesting April 1 this year because it featured two events — April Fools’ Day and Easter.

We had an interesting April 1 this year because it featured two events — April Fools’ Day and Easter Sunday.

Usually, we focus on Easter Sunday because the grandchildren in our family get to hunt for Easter eggs, which we hide. But this year, April Fools activities got a headstart on the regular Easter events.

The day before this unique April 1 day, we had four of our grandkids over to decorate Easter eggs. And they had a delightful time using wax crayons to design patterns or write their names on the hard-boiled eggs before dipping them into the various colours we’d prepared.

In all, they decorated three-dozen eggs for the Sunday egg-hunt in our backyard. That night, two of our grandchildren slept over at our house, and we went to bed dreaming of Easter bunnies and brilliant eggs hidden everywhere. Sunday, April 1 was Easter, and I awoke and discovered that my wife and grandkids were already up. So I lay in bed meditating and waiting for my coffee to arrive. (If my wife gets up early, she brings me the coffee. If I get up early, I bring her the coffee.) On this morning, my grandson Atlas came up to the bedroom and delivered my wake-up coffee.

I was still contemplating life, so I didn’t get to my coffee immediately. Finally, though, I took a big swallow — and nearly gagged. I yelled loudly, jumped out of bed, and raced to the bathroom sink to wash my mouth out. My grandson had laced my coffee with salt, and a moment later he came back smiling and said, “April Fools, Grampa.”

I had completely forgotten that April 1 was also April Fools’ Day, the day you’re allowed to play tricks on your family members. While I was thinking about revenge, my son said he had Easter morning gifts for each of the grandkids. He had his hands behind his back, and made one of them guess “which hand?” Then he brought both hands forward and gave them each an ugly April Fool’s potato.

They were not impressed, so I gave up needing to play another joke on them. I should have remembered that particular April Fools’ coffee trick because my own children had done that to me 35 years before. In those days, I had tasted salted coffee more than once, and my wife and I had played a number of pranks on the kids over the years. Once we got them up when it was still dark and told them to dress quickly because we had to go to Vancouver. Then when we had them bundled in the car, we both yelled, “April Fools.”

Our kids wanted to retaliate, and so all morning we had to be aware of possible tricks. In fact, some of their ideas moved off into the hilarious and unbelievable. “Dad, there’s a bomb in the dishwasher.” “Mom, our windows are broken near the patio.” “Dad, there are squirrels in the other room.”

Fortunately, they ran out of time because at noon, following tradition, we simply said, “Sorry, April Fools is passed, and you’re the biggest fool at last.” They got a kick out of that and went around saying it to each other for the next hour.

Easter Sunday weather was like an April Fools joke in itself. During the morning, the grey sky dropped snow and didn’t let up for quite awhile. We were expecting sunshine, and it’s as if the weather said, “April Fools, you silly humans.” But then after lunch, the snow melted quickly, and we had a lot of fun watching the grandchildren search for eggs.

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