Wednesday, April 1, 2015

My Favorite Holiday

Shannon & me, April Fool's Day 2015
      It's a sign when your voice mail is full by 9 am on April Fools day.
     "Hey Karlen....Just letting you know....I know what day this is...Don't bother calling back."
      For a girl who strives for "Every statement the truth" I make up for lost time on this particular holiday...Next to New Year's Day, April Fool's is my favorite!
     I've called girlfriends at midnight to "Come see the ring!! Come see the ring!!" There've been shark attack phone calls from beachfront ERs. I've called to bug out of huge birthday plans claiming all flights were cancelled. I've got a million of 'em. Trick is to seek out the unsuspecting, which grows  tougher each year as everyone in my circle has come to suspect me by now. Then again, I have some that (for reasons that make no sense at all) think I'll surely outgrow this nonsense. (To which I say "Where's the fun in that?")
     Such was the set up yesterday when, having driven 4 hours to Birmingham for meetings to take place the following day, I was looking forward to seeing two of my favorite people: my UT college roommate and my 21 year old niece, soon to graduate herself, from Samford University.
     While driving down I-65 an idea hits me (after all, I'm on new turf and no one in this crowd will be thinking about the day) so I reach out my niece to see if she's game to play along. With a heart for fun and a few texts for practice, we hatch a plan, complete with cues and it's "Game on!" for dinner time.
      After a picture perfect evening of campus tours and stories shared, we raise our glasses to toast fun times, when, subtle as wallpaper, my adorable mini-me of a niece braces for the pick up line:
     "You get your shots yet?"
     She shakes her head..."Nope," she shakes her head. "You know how I feel about vaccines..." (My niece's major is sports nutrition. She holds her own when it comes to medical conversations.)
      My college roommate and her husband are game for the bait... They look at one another, then back to us, slightly puzzled.
     "We're talking Ebola, Missy...You'll get a vaccine."
     (Two RCA dog looks, right on cue.)
     "Did you tell them?"
      (Wait for it.....W a i t for it ... and.....)
     "Shannon and I are going to the Congo...What's the name of that village?"
     "Yambuku" (Shannon had actually googled it. Home of the Ebola virus.) Stepping on her line I repeat, "Yambuku...Yeah...Yambuku." I turn to my college roommate, and serious as a heart attack say, "Shannon's into this thing...The village needs an orphanage...Can't stand the thought of her being in a third world country for an entire year, so I'm going with her. It's why I sold the condo. We leave next month...right after graduation."
      With just enough room for a gasp, Shannon weighs in...."Oh it is so sad...That village is sooo poor...Those kids really need us...They'll break your heart. I can't wait!"
      We carry on for a good 10 minutes in a job so convincing, Mary Margaret is now thinking through her vacation days...With a sister formerly in the Peace Corps, she's lived this sort of thing before (only in her case, for real). The joke was starting to backfire. She's thinking of joining us...not shocked at all...Instead, she's intrigued. She circles back to the topic of vaccines.
       Like a bad Saturday Night Live skit, we had thought through the set up, but not the exit, save to finally burst out laughing. "We're not going to Africa goof balls! What day is this?"
     Mary Margaret, who has lived through many a good April Fool's jokes confesses,"Ya know it crossed my mind this morning.... but then I thought 'Surely you've outgrown this by now..."
     But outgrow it I shall not. Not only will I not outgrow this holiday, I'm proud to now have recruited the next generation of Evins women to revere this day as well.
     Here's to you, Shannon-bo-Dannon! You're the best!
     Happy April Fool's Day~
     See you in the Congo!

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