My dad has had the same best friend since high school. From the simple to the extreme, they have always played practical jokes on one another. As their children aged, we often were part of their mischievous endeavors.
One year, near Christmas, we received a rather large package delivered by a local courier. We assumed it was from one of our dad’s customers. This beautifully gift wrapped box was about the size of a large television. Although the tag said, “To the family of”, we waited for our dad to return home from his office. As soon as Daddy arrived, we gathered around. He took out his pocket knife and slowly opened the box. Just as he removed the last of the tape and the top from the box, out jumped a live turkey.
This was not a domesticated turkey – it was wild! The turkey began running around the house and entered the den with the vaulted ceiling. Daddy had gone into the garage and retrieved his bass fishing net. Chasing this wild bird became quite the ordeal. We had it cornered and just as Daddy was about to net this beast – it took flight.
The focal point in the den was an antique armoire that stood eight feet high. This beautiful piece of furniture had been in my mom’s family for generations and was shipped from Ireland along with other family heirlooms. The front of the armoire was burled maple – truly a magnificent piece of craftsmanship.
Wouldn't you know, the turkey clawed its way up the front of the armoire, finally resting on top. Needless to say, Mother was horrified. Not to cause any further damage, Daddy decided to let it roost there until it fell asleep – then he could capture it. The phone rang and we could hear him talking with “Uncle” Ed. There was laughter and a promise of a return surprise. My sisters and I knew it was game on.
The next morning at 4:00 am Daddy wakes me and tells me to get ready to go out to the farm. Our farm was 12 miles from town where we raised cattle, kept our horses and other assorted farm animals – including goats. As we made the drive, he told me of his plan. I thought he might be taking things a bit too far; but, he was my dad.
We pulled through the gate and took one of the goats and placed it securely in the back of his truck. Daddy went into the tack room and returned with a burlap bag. I didn’t ask what was in the bag; I knew better. On the drive back into town, he gave me my instructions – okay, now I’m an accomplice to his madness.
We arrived at Ed’s around 5:30 and Daddy took a spike and drove it into the center of Ed’s freshly planted winter lawn. We then took a dog collar and placed it around the goat’s neck. A 10 foot chain was attached to the spike and, at the other end, a snap hook was then attached to the goat’s collar. Daddy used Ed’s hose to fill a bucket of water for the goat. Then we hopped back into to the truck and sped off. He was like some maniac laughing all the way back to the house.
We waited for the phone call from Ed to come and get the goat; but, a couple of hours had passed and Daddy could not leave well enough alone. He talked me into to driving by Ed’s in my car. I agreed and waited in the car. After a few minutes, here comes Daddy wearing Mother’s blonde wig and a large pair of sunglasses. I looked at him as if he had lost his damn mind; but, I couldn’t help but laugh.
We drove by Ed’s and the goat had eaten a perfect circle on the lawn. I guess this might could have been one of the first crop circles had we removed the goat. Daddy was laughing and feeling pretty proud of his self. As we walked into the house, Daddy was still wearing his disguise, Mother threw up her hands, “I don’t want to know!” I figured plausible deniability. About a half hour later the expected phone call came, there was laughter and a gotcha.
Later in the week when both families gathered for some peaceful Christmas cheer, Daddy greeted them at the door wearing none other than his prank’s disguise. Several rounds of laughter went up as the two men recanted the tale of their latest escapade and stories of other pranks. Mother served dinner - smoked ham, Daddy whipped up several batches of egg nog plus we exchanged gifts - real gifts. The warmth of the season embraced us; truly, a memorable Christmas was had by all. Happy Holidays!
Disclaimer: There were no animals hurt during this prank. My dad released the turkey back into the wild no worse for the wear and the goat was returned to the farm a little fatter than when it left.