The legend of April Fools Day
I looked out the window to see snow falling, and faint footprints leading to my mailbox. The flag wasn’t up, but the footprints were there, which intrigued me because it was a Saturday. We get no mail on a Saturday. The sight of Snow on the first day of April doesn’t surprise me but I certainly am not happy.
I was planning to get some yard work done today, but the snow had other plans. I looked out the window again and thought to myself. “good one, Mother Nature-April fools to you to”, and quickly closed the drapes, grabbed a coffee and thought about what I was going to do on this day.
I used to love April Fools Day, my brother and I would be waiting at the door for our mother to wake up to drive us to our grandparents house in the rain, sun, and everything in between. Our Grandpa would have a tent set up in the living room, so we could hear stories and play games. Grandma would make us snacks, hot chocolate and help with the stories.
I smile just thinking about it! First thing he would do is have his arms out for giant hugs, and give us both a piece of paper to read. It always had a riddle for us to solve, and as we got older the riddles got harder. I wished I could have those days back. When my brother and I got into our teens the games would change but we still loved going. My favourite story was about the ‘legend of April Fools’
Our grandfather would somehow fit into that little tent, with a packsack and a beard that spiked out at either end with a matching black wig. He would change his voice, sit up tall and wait for us to stop giggling, because he was very serious in his attire. He looked at us, looked around to pretend what he was going to tell us was top secret! He reached into his bag and put on the tents floor four items( each year it was different) This one particular day was my favourite because he put out a bag of bird seed, a homemade scarf, an envelope with $10 and an umbrella.
I remember the feeling I had when he would show us four items every year. I was excited, I remember looking at my grandfather with his attire and giggle. I remember I couldn’t wait to do the good deeds of the four items my grandfather had. The legend goes something like this:
Every April first a tall man with a beard that pointed at both ends would do four good deeds. The ‘’AFM’ (April Fools Man) was tall and skinny, he a black suit with a top hat. His black bag was magical. The legend said that an item would appear in the black bag and after he did a good deed with the item another would magically appear. Each year the four items was different, but he had to deliver the items in four different cities by twelve o’clock sharp, or he would shrivel up and become dust. The Cities had to be different every year and the ‘AFM’ would only appear on April Fools Day. The legend said that his identity was only told by the people who briefly saw him doing his good deeds. He could never be traced because his mission was to spread good to the world.
I loved the legend, and was excited to see four items my grandfather had for us. The day he had the scarf, the bird seed, umbrella and the envelope with money was a magical day for me and my brother. My grandfather looked at us with his wide eyes and asked for us to get dressed. I remember looking at him and thinking “why”. He grabbed the four items placed them in the bag, got dressed and we walked outside.
That day the air was crisp, just a slight dusting of snow was on the ground, and it was 10:00 am, my grandfather made us look at his watch and said, where to first kids we only have 2 hours to deliver our goods before we shrivel up and turn to dust. My eyes got wide, my heart was beating fast and wondered at the time if he was serious. After all, grandparents don’t lie, or tell fibs. My brother just one year younger than I said the park! So we jumped into the yellow station wagon and headed for the park. At the park in the middle of the city always had lots of people walking the trails, feeding the ducks, kids playing on the swing sets while their parents watched. We got out of the car and my brother pointed towards the river! Look at all the birds, we should give out the bird seed there. “Great idea” my grandfather said, and we all ran to the bench facing river and trees were on both sides of the bench. My grandfather gave us a handful of seeds and we all threw the seeds in the air like confetti. The birds were chirping and we all were laughing.
We looked at our grandfathers watch. He looked at us and said “where to next”, looking at me. I looked around, with panic because I just wasn’t sure. My brother looked at me and said let’s decide in the car. So we all ran towards the car. I said “grandpa, can we go down Main Street were the homeless live” He said great idea. He drove there and I remember looking out the window thinking this is the best day ever! My grandfather put the pack on his back held both of our hands and walked down the sidewalk. I remember pulling on his jacket to get his attention. He bent down, looked at my brother and I, and said “ what item”. I said “the scarf”. I dared not to point, but I said “see that little old lady with the grocery cart? Can I give her a scarf grandpa she looks cold”. He pulled out the scarf, and I bravely walked towards the little old lady and handed her the scarf. She was so happy, her eyes were glowing. She thanked me, and I turned to run to my grandpa and brother. I remember the feeling of being proud of myself. We walked to the car.
My brother sitting next to me in the back seat said “my turn grandpa”. I could see him smile in the review mirror and said “you betcha, Where to now?” My brother looked at me, looked out the window and said McDonald’s. “Ok” said my grandpa and off to a McDonald’s we went. He looked at Grandpa and said “can I please have the envelope with money”, and my grandpa gave him the envelope. I was going to tell him the money wasn’t for us, but before I had a chance he was talking to the manager. We new Marni, she was a friend of my mom’s. He gave her the envelope, turned and smiled at us. In the car he old us what he said to Marni. He wanted her to keep the money for a family who needed help with paying for a meal. All of us smiled and it was quite in the car for a few minutes. I was so excited, and happy.
We were still in the parking lot when the snow was coming down very hard. I asked grandpa how much time we had left because I didn’t want all of us to turn to dust! He looked at me with his smiling eyes and said “20 minutes”. I looked at my brother, then at my grandpa and said “ grandpa, you know those men and women that meet people at a hotel, and grab bags?” He said “yes”, I said “do you think they would like to have an umbrella?” He said “ I think they might? Let’s go check”. I remember looking out the window that day feeling so happy. The man at the hotel loved his gift.
Today, looking back on all of our adventures with my grandpa, I think April fools days were the best days, it was fun to run around the city doing good deeds and seeing people smile. I miss both my grandparents so much. What I wouldn’t give to see him in his taped on moustache and black wig.
I decided to venture out into the snow and see what possibly could be in my mailbox at 10:00 am on this snowy April fools day. I could feel my heart racing, while the snowflakes touched my exposed ears, and could hear the birds chirping. I looked in my mailbox, inside was a scarf, a bag of birdseed, an umbrella, and an envelope with 10 dollars in it!
I ran into the house, shouted up the stairs for Ella-May, and Jackson to get their boots and jacket on, we were going out for an adventure. This was no joke it was April fools day!