Root Cellar

Laugh or cry

By KRISTIN BARRON
Posted 6/17/20

An enormous truffle sprung from my flower bed last spring, the likes of which would make the record books for price as well as size. It stopped me in my tracks one morning as I wearily returned from …

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Root Cellar

Laugh or cry

Posted

An enormous truffle sprung from my flower bed last spring, the likes of which would make the record books for price as well as size. It stopped me in my tracks one morning as I wearily returned from my nighttime job. It was downright obscene towering above the daffodils. How did this mountain of a mushroom get there?

I stepped closer. Was it real? Wait, yes. Then, no. It was ceramic. The zombie-brain-like look, distinctive of truffles, was molded in a kiln not the rocky soil of my flower bed.

I chuckled. It was my friend, Becky, up to her tricks again. I remembered the plastic replica of a giant stag beetle she had stuck in my garden the year before.

This year, April 1, April Fool’s Day… the universal day for practical jokes and pranks… was unofficially canceled as the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the world. No one was in the mood. Misinformation and conspiracy theories circulated the internet. In February, our own president had called the deepening coronavirus emergency a “hoax.” We were at home, stuck in the strange amber of quarantine time, navigating the technological morass of Zoom meetings and homeschool. People appeared in the tiny, patchwork boxes of Zoom, peering out, tired, overwhelmed and worried.

Now, as communities begin to reopen, despite the certainty that the pandemic is not yet over, people are craving the sun and promise of summer. These past few weekends, my niece has visited with her kids to camp on my family’s adjacent farm. They have joined us for a few socially distanced campfires. The fireflies are beginning to sparkle. The kids can play in the woods and brook. It is safer here.

All this new energy has unleashed a series of practical jokes. It started with the kids, who planted a fake well cap on the campsite which confounded my husband, John. Thus began a series of mischievous tricks.

John retaliated with a big, black, velvety plastic spider. Which lead to the yellow rubber snake that was placed on the hammock and a few more strategically placed plastic spiders. Currently a floppy, blue plastic stingray is hiding under the real well head waiting for the children’s next visit.

It is lighthearted and affectionate shenanigans that can make a difference in a time like this when you don’t know if it is better to laugh or cry. It is a tonic for the kids and all of us as we weather these uncertain times.

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