If you forgot to be on guard, you were likely to put salt instead of sugar on your cereal, or be served shaving cream instead of whipped cream atop your dessert. My father and I were the main perpetrators, with my mother as a willing or unaware accomplice, depending on the joke. We never played any tricks on her, low comedy not being her strong point.
The most successful April Fool's Day ever went down like this:
I announced at breakfast, having had no trick played on me yet that day, that I was too old for April Fool's foolishness and was not planning to participate that year. My father agreed that was an excellent idea. It was time for me to put away childish things and start acting like an adult.
We kept up this ruse all day long, and laid it on thick at dinnertime, too. Apparently we dissed the family tradition once too often, because my mother lost her temper with us and turned on the silent treatment. That made for a rather strained end to a day without hilarity.
But all was not lost! In the midst of all my pronouncements, I knew that I'd spent a few minutes earlier in the day short-sheeting their bed. So there was a little surprise waiting for my father, who always turned in first.
What I didn't know was that my father had spent a few minutes earlier doing the same thing to mine!
I don't remember who fell victim to the joke first, but much hilarity ensued when bedtime rolled around. And the victim got sweet revenge only a few minutes later, when the second half of the joke was activated. The joke turned out to be on my mother, as well. It was a perfect storm.
That was the last time I celebrated April Fool's Day at home. I was off to college after that, and April foolishness was never quite the same. But I would often get a message from my dad on April 1, even years later, indicating that a "Mr. Lyon" had called for me at my parents' house and could I please call him back at so-and-so number. Which was the number of the local zoo. I fell for it, once, too. "Hello, may I please speak to Mr. Lyon?"
Happy day and happy memories everyone. And don't forget to play a little joke along the way.