April Fools’ Day has narrowly inched its way to become my favorite holiday (Christmas is a very close second). I wake up on that day, every year with the same enthusiasm as I once did on Christmas morning.
The jolt of April Fools joy reminds me of when my little feet would scamper down the stairs passing the presents and filled stockings for evidence of leftover cookie crumbs Santa Claus missed or possibly touched with his own hand, awing at the fact that the Master of Gifts set foot in my house. Except now, specifically when I still lived at my parents’ house (ehhmmm..6 months ago), I run down the stairs to ensure the rubber band securing the push button on the kitchen sink’s spray hose had not been tampered with so that my father would get sprayed while innocently attempting to wash his hands.
Oh, the delight of pranks. I am moved by the idea of a successful hoax, but seldom do I execute one without excruciating remorse. Yah, it’s hilarious knowing that my dad will be sprayed with water at 5 a.m., but shit! Does that mean he’ll have to change his suit? I’m sorry dad.
There is one woman, a master of tom foolery that I will forever admire for her witty tricks. One trick in particular that delighted me so, combining both of my darling holidays into one crazy night.
It came upon a midnight clear, several days before Christmas, when Jenny and her friend discussed a peculiar pattern that itched at their nerves- manger scenes scattered about her fellow residents’ yards had baby Jesus peacefully lying in his cribâ€¦before Christmas Day!
They discussed the story of the birth of baby Jesus and concluded that the community is partaking in sacrilegious behavior possibly unbeknownst to them. Jenny’s memory recalled that her mother, thank baby Jesus, waits until Christmas to place the holy doll in his hay-cushioned bed, and leading up to that day hides him in a serene spot somewhere in the house still immaculately, and theoretically, kicking away in his Mother Mary’s wombâ€¦rightfully so!
They contemplated how to teach the small town how to respect the story of Christmas. Send out a newsletter? Too boring! Throw eggs at the manger scenes? Too cruel! Forget about it completely? Too weak!
And finally, genius sparkedâ€¦the moment of truth struck both of their mindsâ€¦the plan, so obviousâ€¦so brilliantâ€¦and so true to the birth of Jesusâ€¦
On Christmas Eve, Jenny and four friends dressed in dark colors, hopped in a Jeep and traveled from home to home, swiping swaddled styrofoam, Cabbage Patch, metal or plastic mannequin infants from their cradled cots, replacing them with lesson-filled notes:
“Do not worry for baby Jesus is not gone! He is just not born yet. You can find your dear Jesus at Our Lady of Perpetual Peace church on his birthday. —Sincerely, your friendly neighborhood Jew.”
They filled the car with 15-20 baby Jesuses, all innocently stacked on top of each other, driving away from their ruthless premature births. Some houses had to be overlooked due to grassy inclines, barking dogs and to Jenny’s utter dismay- inn keepers who had either bolted down baby Jesus or wired him with lights, “What is the world coming to?!” she questioned at the thought of a twinkling savior.
On their way home, they pulled to the side of the road because the trunk had not been closed, probably due to a speedy and excited departure from the final house. They wiggled the dolls that dwelled in the orphanage trunk, making sure each little baby had a secure spot, they shut the door and then noticed a cop car pulling up next to them. In eye shot, several of baby Jesuses rested in the back seat. The cops asked the standard “where did you come from?” “were you drinking?” “blah blah blah” questions. Having just stole Christ from houses around town, they fibbedâ€¦to the copâ€¦explaining that the designated driver felt a possible flat tire and pulled over to check and that they would proceed home to their families for holiday celebration. The “man” believed them and set them and the clan of Jesuses free, unscathed and unnoticed.
Instead of returning home, of course, they continued to Our Lady of Perpetual Peace, as promised on the notes, and placed the pile of babies underneath a statue of their dear Mother Mary.
The next day, Jenny’s prank riddled her conscious, not because of the guilt of borrowing from manger scenes across town; not because she shammed a police office; but because she did not want to be prosecuted for preserving the Word. She confessed to only a few luckies of her flawless endeavor and although her nerves burdened her, she couldn’t have been prouder of her accomplishment had she tried.
The newspapers and local news channels caught wind of the Jesuses-nappings and the town unified in the wonderment of “Who would do such a thing? Sick thieves!”
If they only knew a mastermind of brilliant pranks and a teacher stood behind the swiping of each baby Jesus- a woman who simply favored the education of those otherwise careless beings- simple townspeople who stood oblivious to one of life’s most precious stories.
My plan this year is to muster up the courage and strength to perform duties such as this, to lie to a cop and then rejoice in a victorious/remorseless prank!!! For the sake of Christmas, for the sake of pranksters and most importantly to honor a woman of upmost brilliance, unrivaled valor and incredible wit- Ms. Jenny S.
Her and her friends’ identity remained concealed and the town would forever, hopefully, remember and respect the actual timeline of baby Jesus.