June 22nd…“DID SOMEONE EVER PLAY A PRANK ON ONE OF YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS?”
Some babies are born with a wink and a giggle at the first slap on their bottom from the doctor at birth. Our fun-filled family friend, George Morris, was one of those babies.
From just a few of the stories I’ve gleaned about this pixie-spirited soul, I knew our dad had met a kindred spirit in the realm of making smiles when they first met, in 1967, at Glenwood Heights Elementary School. For you see, up until that point in time, we, as a family, had known the brunt of many of our own daddy’s teasings and pranks on us over the years. In his new buddy, George, Dad had not only met his match, but he would be bettered on a number of occasions when it came to silliness and guffaws!!
For one thing, these two friends had come from the same generation. George had fought with the United States Marine Corps in the South Pacific during World War II. Our farmer father, Russell, fought his own type of war with the plows n cows on the Home Front in Minnesota during that global conflagration. Decades later, for the good Lord to bring these two pranksters together in Washington State in 1967 was kismet.
Part of our father’s duties, as a Head Custodian for the Battle Ground School District, was to deliver Inter-District mail and supplies from the main District offices in Battle Ground down to the schools of Glenwood Heights Elementary and Laurin Intermediate School each morning. To accomplish this task, he’d park our family car on the school grounds and drive a 1958 Chevrolet pickup truck that belonged to the school system. Inside the canopy of that truck, he’d haul everything from mail to boxes of books, to cases of food, etc.. He’d return that truck to the District campus each evening and then take our family car home.
George, in his prankster glory, knew that our dad was faithful to the minute each day as he’d swing around behind Glenwood to drop off the Laurin School mail via an access road that went between the two schools. So, like a spider setting a trap for a fly, George began to “weave his web” to catch our father in a choice prank. Both of these fine men were raised in God-fearing Christian families that honored what was the right thing to do in any given life situation. George had a strong notion that our dad would want to do the right thing if he saw what he THOUGHT was some poor lady’s lost purse in the roadway. The “bait” purse was placed, by smiling George, right in the center of that access road between the two schools. That was the same access road that Russell would soon be driving on in a few more minutes. George then tied some clear fishing line to his “bait” purse and let the spool, of almost invisible line, unravel as he played it out for quite a number yards in the distance until he could then hide around the corner of the school building. Now, with spider stealth, George quietly peeked around the corner of the building as he waited for his “fly” (our daddy) to drive up and see the “web” of this purse scene.
Like the faithful tick-tock of a clock, here came that old 1958 Chevy pickup as Dad cruised in between the two schools. “Uhh ohh!”, is likely what Russ thought, “Some lady must’ve lost her purse. I’ll pick it up and take it to the school office so they can return it to her.” I can just imagine the metallic sound of that old truck door popping open as Dad climbed out to see if he could do a good deed of returning this purse to the lady who had lost it. All the while, that six foot tall pixie of a George is peering around the corner of the gymnasium building just waiting to give that fishing line a hefty yank!!! Russell begins to bend over to reach for that purse, and gets within inches of it, when dear ol’ prankster George gives a mighty YANK on that fishing line and the lady’s purse, like a streak of lightning, goes flying off into the grass!!!! Our shocked father must’ve jumped clear outta his skin (and maybe left a puddle on the ground) as that magic purse took on a flying life of its own!!! George, unable to contain himself with laughter, begins his stifled chortling from his hiding place around the corner of the building. After our father’s heart rate came back to normal, I’m sure he joined his fellow prankster kinsman in a hearty howl of laughter and ribbing!!!
For many years to come, George Morris and our father injected each other’s lives with many more times of endorphin-laced laughter. They teased, talked and tricked each other with glee over their many years of friendship together. These moments of happiness will forever remain in the happy heart of this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.