• Friday, April 13, 2012

April Fool (ishness!)            

When you have the dubious distinction of being born on the first of April, you need to be prepared for practically anything happening on your birthday. Particularly if you’re married to our son David.          

Our delightful daughter-in-law Amy, who had unaccountably forgotten previous birthday challenges, came brightly and unsuspectingly to her recent natal day party. She has borne many April Fool’s birthday jokes since she’s acquired a husband and three children, as the pranks have also definitely increased and multiplied. It was Flowertown Festival weekend and the family was gathering in our daughter Cathy’s home near Azalea Park for the much anticipated revelry.          

We celebrated with a unique vegetable appetizer, mudbugs, blue crabs and a salad. Dessert was jacketed German chocolate cupcakes, frosted with white icing and studded with mint green M&Ms – or so we thought. A huge platter of cupcakes was ushered in by granddaughter Grace. Only the cupcake in the center was lit, and that by a single candle. Grandson Riley, that hereditary scamp, urged Amy to blow out the candle and take the first bite.          

Naturally all eyes were on her as she bit into her special cupcake, swayed her head slightly and glanced suspiciously at her husband. I don’t know who broke up first – David, Grace or Riley, who were the co-instigators of the gag. But as her family all laughed uproariously, Amy struggled to digest their latest hoax. She had been treated to a single cupcake made of meatloaf, frosted with mashed potatoes and studded with the aforesaid M&Ms. It sees that the Dreadful Hill Trio (which increases to a quartet when Adam is old enough to participate next year) had spent hours earlier in the day concocting just the right spicy meatloaf mixture. Not too moist, not too greasy and looking remarkably like German chocolate.          

Amy, who wasn’t too sure who the perpetrators were – which, given the family she has married into was totally understandable – successfully swallowed that mouthful and laughed. But she told me later that her first thought was that that cupcake was terrible but she didn’t want to say anything to hurt the kids’ feelings, as they had done the baking. Given the history of this day, she should have been forewarned, but she says she never thinks about her birthday and that her family “gets me every time.”          

A couple of years ago she was presented with a beautifully frosted cake and a knife. As she tried to cut the first slice the knife clunked onto a hard surface. Seems they baked the cake, put it into a plastic carrier and then frosted the carrier!           “I think the kids (including David!) start planning for what they are going to do the next year right after her latest birthday. They go into full planning mode about a month before and are great secret keepers and can always manage straight faces.”          

Well Amy, they say April Fool’s jokes started in the 13th century, first reported in Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales,” followed by a myriad of pranks, especially the 18th century Washing of the Lions. Then the British populace flocked to the Tower of London to see this phenomenon only to find is was an April first joke.          

Maybe meatloaf cupcakes weren’t so bad after all.

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