Fun With Little People

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I remember when my friends became grandparents. We weren’t yet grandparents ourselves – and frankly, I was in no rush to be called “grandpa”. It just sounded way too old.

When our first grandchild was born, I realized how wrong I’d been! Grandkids are one of life’s greatest blessings! If I’d know how much fun they were, I would have had our grandkids first, then our kids!

And so, on Saturday before Easter, the two youngest ones came to our house with their mom and dad. We had lunch, then set about decorating eggs. This year we had two different styles of egg decorating: one was a “tie-dyed” kind of decorating where there was an egg-shaped plastic holder. You’ll make us the colors from the fizzy tablets, wrap a hard-boiled egg in a damp cloth, and put it inside of the egg-shaped plastic holder. There were then tiny holes in the plastic holder where you could stick the tip of a dropper in and inject a drop of two of the colored liquid. It really produced some pretty results!

But I think the real winner was the egg spinner. It lays flat on the table and has a hole in it where you can lay an egg sideways. There are small wheels that the egg sits on and a motor that makes the egg spin on the longitudinal axis. Inside the kit were 8 different colored, non-toxic pens, that you could place against the side of the spinning egg and make decorations (mostly circles). It was so much fun!!! The little ones certainly enjoyed it but I found myself wishing I’d had more than one egg that I could have decorated, but I let them have as many as they wanted – and they really enjoyed it!

You can see some of the results of both kinds of decorating in today’s photo that was shot with my cell phone.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: on this day in 1700, English pranksters began popularizing the annual tradition of April Fools’ Day by playing practical jokes on each other. Although the day, also called All Fools’ Day, has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures, its exact origins remain a mystery.

Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563. People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes.

These pranks included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as “poisson d’avril” (April fish), said to symbolize a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person.

Historians have also linked April Fools’ Day to festivals such as Hilaria, which was celebrated in ancient Rome at the end of March and involved people dressing up in disguises. There’s also speculation that April Fools’ Day was tied to the vernal equinox, or first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, when Mother Nature fooled people with changing, unpredictable weather.

April Fools’ Day spread throughout Britain during the 18th century. In Scotland, the tradition became a two-day event, starting with “hunting the gowk,” in which people were sent on phony errands (gowk is a word for cuckoo bird, a symbol for fool) and followed by Tailie Day, which involved pranks played on people’s derrieres, such as pinning fake tails or “kick me” signs on them.

In modern times, people have gone to great lengths to create elaborate April Fools’ Day hoaxes. Newspapers, radio and TV stations and Web sites have participated in the April 1 tradition of reporting outrageous fictional claims that have fooled their audiences.

In 1957, the BBC reported that Swiss farmers were experiencing a record spaghetti crop and showed footage of people harvesting noodles from trees; numerous viewers were fooled. In 1985, Sports Illustrated tricked many of its readers when it ran a made-up article about a rookie pitcher named Sidd Finch who could throw a fastball over 168 miles per hour.

In 1996, Taco Bell, the fast-food restaurant chain, duped people when it announced it had agreed to purchase Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell and intended to rename it the Taco Liberty Bell. In 1998, after Burger King advertised a “Left-Handed Whopper,” scores of clueless customers requested the fake sandwich.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: traditionally, Indians found toilet paper repellent and considered it cleaner to splash water with the left hand in the appropriate direction. Consequently, the left hand is considered unclean and is never used for eating.

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