People that know me well, know that I can be a jokester at times. My grandkids never knew this about me. They probably thought of their granddad as more of a “fuddy-duddy” than practical joker. I get it.
But on a recent trip to Tennessee with me and wife Carolyn, my two oldest grandsons became aware of their paternal grandfather’s occasional craziness.
A good old-fashioned practical joke can do a body good and take relationships to another level.
Somehow the subject came up and I shared with them one of my more elaborate mischiefs from back in the day. It was Thanksgiving week 1968 and I was a college freshman living in a dorm at Texas Tech.
I heard on the radio that a contestant had just won a free turkey (fully cooked/prepared) for the holiday and could pick it up at the station.
I started scheming and wondered what someone would do if they “won,” a live turkey. Better yet, what about a dozen of them?
I knew just the gal to play it on - sweet-natured Laura.
Laura was a good friend from high school in Odessa and attending Tech like me. I let several guys in the dorm in on it and, boy, did we have a fun time brainstorming!
The key was Fred, the one guy in our dorm who had a perfect DJ voice.
We gathered in the dorm room as Fred called Laura and said, “This is George Clark from Radio station KLBB and I want to congratulate you for winning our grand prize Thanksgiving giveaway! Your name was drawn and a dozen live turkeys from Prater’s Turkey farm will be delivered to your dorm within 24 hours. Congratulations once again and thanks for listening to Lubbock’s #1 station!”
Man, did he sound authentic!
I persuaded a few friends to call Laura and tell her they’d just heard the news, and ask what in the world was she gonna do with 12 live turkeys. I purposely did not call, but I did receive one a couple hours later from Laura inquiring if I knew anything about all this. I was intentionally evasive of any knowledge of it, except that I too heard it on the radio and I congratulated her! Ha! She inquired what station I heard it on, and I said I couldn’t remember because I listen to several. She told told me she had called every radio stations in town and they knew nothing of it. It was then I knew we had her.
I went out and bought a dozen extra large chicken eggs, packaged them just right and typed out very specific instructions on how to successfully incubate turkey eggs. We printed up a professional-looking cover sheet expressing our station’s sincere apologies for not being to come through with live turkeys (unexpected surge in demand at the farm).
Our hope was that she would precisely follow the included directions (things like keeping the eggs exactly 1 1/2 inches apart, heat lamp 6 inches away and no more than 115 degrees, etc.), and believe there was a possibility she could be the proud “mom” of a dozen poults within the week.
I discreetly delivered the box to her dorm that afternoon and within two hours got another call from Laura asking me again if I knew anything about all this.
Charlie Norman has lived in Somervell County since 1994. He and his wife have two adult children, who graduated from Glen Rose schools. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.