I did one of the craziest and stupidest things in the history of stupidest things to my father. I know stupidest is not a word, but for this story it is, so get over it!
The exact date was Feb 13th, 1998. The day that will live in the memory of my whole family FOREVER! The day of my daughters 5th birthday.
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It was a wonderful spring Saturday and kinda warm for that time of year. I had been planning this party for over a month and was so excited to see my daughter’s face when she saw her surprise and then sadly her disappointment, but more on that later. This is about my father, so here we go……!
My parents, for as long as I can remember, have collected plants. Lots of plants, any plants, and especially wild azaleas. They would crawl under bushes or dig through the woods to find rare bushes. They would dig them up to bring home to repot or get a cutting so they could get it to root, then plant it. I promise my love of gardening comes directly from them and a great portion of my gardening knowledge was gleaned from watching them all these years.
So the party was going great! The kids were having fun and enjoying the beautiful day and the adults were having long overdue conversations about this and that, laughing, joking and eating. I remember one of my brothers being there, my parents and most of my in-laws family attending. We were one of those big families that alway made a very big deal around birthdays and would serve lunch or dinner, open presents with everyone around, oohing and awwing, taking pictures and then having birthday cake and ice cream. It was such fun!
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We were renting a house at this time and the yard was huge, like over an acre and I had a ton of azaleas growing along both sides of my house. They separated my yard from my neighbors and they were wild and beautiful. My parents, whom I told you loved azaleas, just had to have cuttings before they left to go home. So as they meandered over to the bushes and proceeded to crawl underneath the long branches. I went back to the house to get them a bucket, shovel, pruners and paper towels, to wrap the fragel cuttings, so they could be place them in the bucket unharmed.They were very particular about their plants handlings. Now as I was getting the supplies they needed, I spotted my sons very real looking, rubber toy snakes. I just couldn’t help myself. I KNEW my father was deathly afraid of snakes and refused to be anywhere near them. My mom on the other hand loved them and would catch them every chance she could and bring them into the garage. Yeah, thats another story too! My mom is a hoot!
Ok, so can you smell what i’m stepping in???!! Yeah big doodoo!
I decided on toy snake and headed back to where my parents were crawling around under the bushes unaware of what I had planned. hehehehe! I tossed the the toy snake up on top of the bush my dad was working under and stepped away.
I walked back up to the house and was standing out front talking to my brother, when all of a sudden we hear this god awful, hair-raising, high pitched girlie scream. My brother jumps (of course I did not share my foul deed) and looks to where the scream came from and so did quite a few of the other guests. Here is what they see:
My father screaming, doing a combination of crab crawling, back-pedaling, hand swiping, and cursing as loud as he could. Screaming, “ALICEEEE get this damn snake off of me, get it off, for the love of God, get it off!!”. Omgosh, I am rolling at this time! Tears running down my face. Boy, I got him good. This was great. We were going to hoot and laugh and just have a grand time of it. Huh?! No. That is not what happened. He took one look at me and lunged up the lawn. My mom hollering after him… ‘Larry, LARRY…NOOOO, you cannot hurt her. SHE is your daughter.” Of course I jump behind my brother who conveniently moves and I am forced to hide behind my poplar tree.
Oh wow! What had I done? He was so mad. You could cook an egg on him. He was that HOT! He finally slowed down, looked at me one last time, looked back at my mom, who had stopped and was buckled over to catch her breath and told her in no uncertain terms to get the bucket, they were leaving! Needless to say that turned out to be the stupidest decision I ever made to prank my father. And for two weeks after he would not speak to me. I would call the house and he would hand the phone to my mom. “Alice it’s YOUR daughter calling”, and would hand her the phone. We still talk about it to this day, and of course we can laugh about it, but I promise I never, ever did another prank on my dad again.
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Note: Back to my daughters excitement and disappointment on her special day. The moment she saw the pony we had in the backyard and then the moment she realized it was not hers, just one we rented for her birthday. Bless her heart. You should have seen her sweet 5 year old face. But she still had fun and rode that poor pony until they had to leave.