I was five years old and I walked down the street to the twins' house. It was a bit further walk than I would normally go, but they had invited me over for an official play-date. The twins were red-headed, freckled girls in my kindergarten class in Amherst, Massachusetts, where we lived for a few years. I was excited and nervous. This was a fairly big adventure for me.
Feeling oddly confident, I entered the twins' house and was greeted by their mom and dad. Their dad was seated at a small round kitchen table eating cereal from a bowl — in the middle of the day. This was my first inclination that something wasn't right. My dad was never home in the middle of the day, and if he was, he definitely was NOT going to be eating cereal.
Their dad seemed nice enough, though. He smiled really big and put out his hand to shake mine. He shook it vigorously while the twins giggled at his silliness. Then, he called me over closer and lowered his voice to a whisper. "Do you wanna see an elephant in the cat's water bowl?" he asked me in a conspiring voice. "Huh?" I articulated. He repeated his question, but with a sense of urgency, "Do you wanna see an elephant in the cat's water bowl?!"
I quickly turned to where he was casting his eyes to see if there was really an elephant in the cat's water bowl. The water bowl and the food bowl, were side by side, pushed up close to the refrigerator. No elephant in sight.
"April Fools!" he shouted. The twins erupted in staccato giggling, one hand over their mouth, one hand pointing at me. "He got you!" they cheered.
I stood there, unsmiling, staring back at them blankly. I had no idea what was happening. I started to cry.
Their dad quickly stood up and said, "I was just joking. It's April Fool's Day. Do you know what that is?" I shook my head and sniffed, stopping the flow of tears.
I don't remember anything after that. No playing in the twins room. No running in their backyard. No snacks. Only the empty kitty bowl.
decided then and there that I hated April Fool's Day. I had never heard of it before and, since I came from a Christian home, I also decided that it must have been a pagan holiday. The Druids probably made it up. That's what my parents had told me to explain why Christmas trees were a part of Jesus' birthday. Maybe those tree worshippers thought it was also funny to tease kids.
That was the last time I visited the twins and their foolish pagan father. Never trust a man who eats cereal in the middle of the day.