Someone once said, “If the year went to the bathroom, April is where it’d wipe when it was finished.” It’s the Ain’t month: ain’t winter, ain’t spring. One day it could be in the seventies and the next day in the twenties. The record high for my area of Iowa in April is one hundred degrees, and the record low is four degrees below zero. That’s a one hundred four degree swing! (They both happened back in the 1960’s before Al Gore conquered Mount Everest and found climate change in a cave at the top playing Pinochle with the Dali Lama.)
It’s a sucky month. What can I say? Fishing season isn’t open yet, and even if it was, the water’s too high to fish. And there isn’t one actual holiday in the whole month. What kind of month is it that doesn’t have a holiday? Of course some of you are saying in a whiny, nasal voice, “What about April Fools’ Day?” If you have to go to work or school and you don’t get presents, it’s not a holiday. Does anyone call Butterscotch Pudding Day—September 19—a holiday? (By the way, I have a hysterical story about an April Fools’ joke that I’ll tell if my wife dies before me. If I tell it while she’s still alive, I can guarantee I will die before she does.)
You can’t plan anything in April. One day its seventy degrees and sunny, and you think, tomorrow a picnic would be nice. By tomorrow there are penguins knocking at your door wanting to come in and get warm.
My mother thought of April as an evil hag just waiting to snatch her children away.
“I’m going outside to play, Mom,” I’d say on a warm, sunny April day.
“Not like that you’re not,” she said and pointed at my jeans and t-shirt.
“But it’s warm outside, Mom.”
“This is Death Weather,” she said. “It gets warm, kids go out without their coats and … BAM. It turns cold and they get sick and die.”
So she’d bundle me up in a parka, face scarf, stocking cap, snow boots and mittens, until I looked like Nanook of the North getting ready to head out on the pack ice to hunt seals.
“Why are you dressed like that?” Mary Kurl asked as she came up to me in a light tank top and shorts. “It’s like eighty degrees out.”
“Ha, ha, ha,” I laughed, taunting her, although I could barely see her from the sweat running in my eyes. “You’ll find out tomorrow when you’re dead.”
“Aren’t you suffocating in there?”
“Yes I am,” I answered smugly. “But at least tomorrow I’ll be alive, which is more than I can say for you. Ha, ha, ha.”
Mary reached down and picked a good-sized stone off the driveway.
“Want to play a little Dodgerock?” she asked.
She always wanted to play Dodgerock in April, because I was wearing so many clothes I couldn’t bend over to pick up rocks, and even if I could have, I couldn’t see to throw them at her. In the end the joke was on her, because I was wearing so many clothes the rocks didn’t hurt when they hit me. Ha, ha, ha. Although they did sting when they hit me in the face.
After a while, Mary got tired of playing Dodgerock—or Firing Squad as I called it—and came over to me.
“What’s that sloshing sound,” Mary asked.
“Never mind that,” I said. “You have bigger things to worry about, such as BEING DEAD. Ha, ha, ha.”
The sloshing sound was my boots. I think I blacked out a couple times from the heat, and my bladder might have let go and filled my boots. I wasn’t sure. I could already wring water out of my pants just from the sweat.
“I better go inside for a while,” Mary said, looking at her shoulders. “I’m starting to get a sunburn.”
“Death Weather, kill this evil witch, now!” I screamed, but it didn’t work.
What usually happened was I’d get overheated, and when I finally got undressed, I’d get chilled and end up with a cold. I’m lucky I didn’t get pneumonia and die. Curse you Death Weather!