Thursday, April 03, 2008



For as long as I can remember up to my adulthood, my mother always played April Fools pranks on us and we always got tricked. When I was really little, it would be something fairly simple, like an empty half of an egg shell in my egg cup at the breakfast table, so when you tapped the shell with the knife to open the egg, the shell would crumble. One year she had us all rushing to the window when she proclaimed there was a horse on the front lawn.

Mom was always expert at this kind of tom-foolery and I think she inherited the art from my Grandpa Bexton, her dad. Grandpa was always teasing and playing tricks, not only on my sister and me, but on the adult members of the household. He had a perpetual mischievous twinkle in his eye. To this day I can still hear my Grandma's voice saying "Oh George!" and I'd know Grandpa had either said something naughty or had done something tricky. Grandpa Bexton had that knack of being able to put you on or to pull some trick from up his sleeve. Maybe it was an inherited skill at mischief-making, as according to my Uncle Harold, the Bextons, who hailed from near Nottingham, England ( and Sherwood Forest) were related to Little John of Robin Hood's merry band of rogues and rascals.

At every birthday party, my Mom would come up with some amusing game to play to entertain the guests. One of her favorites was the Hen Game. I've used it to amuse and trick friends and the children at the daycares where I used to work. It never fails to create gales of laughter.

This is how the Hen Game works. You have two chairs facing each other and each chair has a pillow on the seat. You chose someone to be the hen. They must sit on the pillow (nest) while making clucking sounds. The instigator of the game stands behind one of the chairs and encourages the 'hen' to cluck furiously, first on one nest, then on the other, and so on and eventually when enough clucking is produced, after one such clucking session suddenly there's an egg deposited on the 'nest.' (slipped onto the nest by the instigator while the 'hen' was changing nests.) The hen laid an egg! Amazing! This trick has always created gales of laughter and never fails to fool the participants. Guaranteed to create lots of fun at kids birthday parties or inane adult social events.