I have not posted in a while because I have been working on a couple of book projects in my spare "writing" time. I thought some of ya'll might get a kick out of this article I wrote for my church newsletter this week, though.
I was reminded yesterday of the greatest April fool’s prank I have ever been personally involved in. It speaks volumes about my relationship with my father and my life as a preacher’s kid.
I had just recently returned from participating in the Holston Conference sponsored United Nations Seminar for youth. On this trip to Washington D.C. and New York City, I had swiftly fallen into infatuation with a girl from the Chattanooga area. I was a junior at Greeneville High at the time and did not know how well this long distance relationship would hold up. This was before internet, email, Facebook and cell phones, kids. It cost extra money to call long distance back in those dark times. (1982)
It was unusual for my father to drive me to school, but on this particular day he needed to talk to me about something important. On our way there, he explained that the Conference was projecting him to move in June. This was initially a kick to the gut, but then he said we were moving to Chattanooga. I could barely contain my excitement. My girl and I would be together after all! Dad was grinning ear to ear as he dropped me off. As I was closing the door, he said, “April fools.” He laughed at the time, but said he regretted it pretty quickly because of the look of utter dejection on my face.
When I got to Art class, I told my teacher what Dad had done. She was a member of our church and hatched a wonderful plan of retaliation. She called him at the church and told him I had gotten into a fight at school. She explained I had seemed upset all day for some reason and had finally lost my cool on a fellow student. The teacher then suggested Dad stop by her classroom before going to see me in the principal’s office. Knowing this must be his fault for upsetting me, he rushed to the school. When he entered the classroom, everyone in the room shouted “April Fool’s.” Neither of us has ever quite topped this prank.
I share this story for two reasons. First, it is a really funny story. Secondly, it is that time of year again when ministers and clergy families can be on pins and needles during the appointment process. Many may already be projected to move and have to keep it secret for now. Under the best of circumstances, moving to a new church, job, school and so on is very stressful. Keep them in your prayers. It’s no joke.