It was supposed to be a long weekend for me because of a teacher workday at school. Mama explained, though, that because of the snow days we'd had, we needed to make up some days. That way, we wouldn't have to go to school so long into the summer.
That made sense to me. A couple of weeks prior, we'd had an astounding 18" of snow. In Eastern North Carolina. In March. Mama, her belly swollen with her third child, had accidentally slipped into a drainage ditch hidden by snow drifts and had sunk to her waist. She struggled to get out, and Daddy had to come back and pull on her arms and try not to fall in, too. We giggled later, once Mama was out of the ditch and we were back home. We ate snow cream and built a snowman (that, sadly, did not come to life) and had snowball fights. Daddy taught my little brother who was 2 to put snow down my shirt. The snow disappeared as quickly as it came -- it was, after all, North Carolina and March.
I groaned when Mama woke me up that April first. "It's a teacher workday!" She reminded me of the snow days, and I got up, got dressed into my school clothes, and put on my jacket. It was still cool in the mornings, but the flowers were starting to bloom and there was the beginning of the yellow tinge of pine pollen dusting the old white Ford in our driveway.
Granddaddy G-- and his pipe kept me company on the front porch while I waited for the school bus. And I waited. And waited. I told Mama that I didn't think the bus was going to come. Did I miss it maybe? Was there a delay?
"April Fool's!" Mama sang.
What?! I was furious. I was embarrassed that I'd fallen for her trick, and I told her I'd never believe her again. I'd gotten out of bed. I'd gotten dressed in school clothes. My grandparents laughed at my rage.
"But now you're up and ready for your day," Mama said reasonably.
I don't remember anything else of that day. I don't know what, if anything, my grandparents had planned, or even why they were visiting. But I can see every detail of my mother's face, unlined, 26 years old, plump from pregnancy, and entirely pleased. I remember my temper. Later, I could laugh and every year, I ruefully explained to people why I hate April Fool's Day, and why no one should think that pranks on me were acceptable.
This morning, I couldn't tell the story, though. I relived it, but I couldn't tell it. Today is warm, though, around 60F, windy and threatening rain. I drove in to work, my window rolled down, Pearl Jam and Nirvana cranked up until I felt the bass. I marveled at how young I was when those songs were the soundtrack of my dorm life. How naive I was. How arrogant. How innocent.
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