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April Fool

This is a piece from eight years ago.   My li’l Tony is much older, but still very strong for a 16 year old wild animal.

The wake-up call came at 6:30AM, just as light was sneaking into my bedroom.  It didn’t come as a glowing ball over the Mississippi valley but as an orange blur on little cat feet.

Galumpgalumpgalumplop! A leap onto my feet and Brrrow! As a small caliber tiger licensed for home use Tony always means what he says, too.  It’s Spring.  There’s no time to spend lazily in bed.  Happy April Fools’ Day!

April means a lot to both people and cats.  The weather is turning and it’s time to shake off the glum of a drippy lingering Winter.  A few pranks and jokes are just part of the fun – and they’re part of an ancient and natural celebration  we can all get into.

Tony, in a more tranquil moment

Here’s a picture of Tony on a lazier summer day, the kind of moment we’re all waiting for.  That’s the problem with Spring – it’s not really warm yet, but we can feel it coming.  April is about a promise and the smell of life in the air more than the warm reality of it.

When I think of April the first thing that comes to my Bugs Bunny addled mind is a corny old tune I learned from cartoons in my formative years:

Though April showers may come your way,
They bring the flowers that bloom in May.
And if it’s raining have no regrets –
Because it isn’t raining rain, you know,
It’s raining violets.

Spring never comes easy, but when it does it’s a cause for celebration – even when it’s just starting.  Our April Fools’ Day comes from the extra energy that everyone has for carnivals and other parties that any good pagan culture put on to celebrate the arrival of Spring.

The Romans, not usually known as party poopers, moved the start of their new year from the pagan rites of Spring and to the start of Winter under Julius Caesar’s new calendar. According to legend they made fun of the poor fools who still partied in April like it was the new year.  That’s said to be the origin of the term “April Fool” as they looked down on the peasants who kept the party going each year. But their own calendar was messed up enough that it hardly lines up with anything any more.  Who is the fool?

That story may not be true, however, largely because it doesn’t need to be.  If li’l orange cats can get into it there’s no reason to believe that celebrations of Spring aren’t just something which happens.

Pranking comes naturally with the mood. The air itself has a shameless excuse for silly behavior that could  start with an early wake-up call if you have the energy of Spring in you and nothing better to do.  Why not?

As long as it doesn’t get too crazy it’s all a lot of fun.  The only thing I worry about is the sign out by the airport that proclaims in bold letters: “Terror Threat: Orange”.  The last time I saw that I asked Tony what the Hell was up, but he wasn’t letting anything on.  “Ma-Row?”  was all he said, so I think we’ll have to take that for what it means.  Just keep your celebrations safe and watch out because this is a dangerous time we live in.  It’s definitely not a day to sleep in.

It’s April Fools’ Day!

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