By HDN Staff
Highland Park Early Primary School principal Jeff Blessum had a joke played on him by Havre High School principal Jim Donoven and Havre Middle School principal Vance Blatter when he first arrived at the beginning of the school year. They had Dan Shepherd from the radio station interview Blessum. "Supposedly he was interviewing all the principals in the area," Blessum said. "He tried to get me to say negative things about other administrators." Blessum said he figured out it was a joke before too long. "I kind of went along with it for a while," he said, after noticing that Shepherd's recording equipment was not running.
Mel Paulson, a driver at the Havre Fire Department, said the firefighters play small jokes on each other. "Just the basics, simple stuff," he said. They've put plastic wrap over the urinals, covered doorknobs with Vaseline and short-sheeted beds. Another trick is to jack up one side of a bed. "They have a tendency to roll out of bed during the night," Paulson said. Yet another is placing a full cup of water inside someone's locker and using a piece of dental floss to tie it to the locker door.
Havre Mayor Bob Rice recounted an April Fools' trick he played on his wife, Dottie, years ago. "I took my wife to a party and said it was a costume party," Rice said. "She was the only one in costume."
The local mortuary, Holland & Bonine Funeral Home, always receives the same call on April Fools' Day, said manager Jennifer Kinsella. "It gets a little old," Kinsella said. "For the person who calls, it can be pretty funny." The way the trick works, someone will leave a note for a co-worker or friend to return a phone call, and then give the mortuary's phone number. "The person says, 'Call this number,'" Kinsella said. "'I'm calling for Myra,' they'll say, 'Myra Manes.'" "It's not on us," Kinsella said, but on the caller. The caller will usually gasp or act embarrassed and then hang up once he or she is told he or she has called a funeral home. "We never get to say 'April Fools','" Kinsella said.
Virginia King pulled this joke on her husband one April Fools' Day: "We always got pregnant when we bought a new vehicle. So I told him one year after we bought a new vehicle that I was pregnant and he believed me for a while. Then he called me back. He remembered what day it was. That was always our joke."
Havre fire Capt. Dave Krezelak said that while he was in the U.S. Navy and stationed in San Diego, he and a few other sailors were asked to paint a barracks hallway, which contained a phone booth. It didn't take long for the wheels to start turning. "They asked us to paint the hallway, and the phone booth was in the hallway. So we painted it. We painted the seat, we painted the phone, everything. We laughed and giggled, but come Monday we were sitting in front of a guy with four stripes. It wasn't funny then. That's when I learned about scraping paint."
Craig Erickson says, "I had a girlfriend once. She made a cake, this lovely yellow cake, and I was all excited because I like cake. And I proceeded to cut into the cake and I couldn't figure out why it wasn't cutting. Then I realized it was a giant sponge that she'd frosted. Oh yeah, she was also the one who put Saran wrap over the toilet seat."
Bill Blake said: "I just moved the numbers and letters on the keyboard on the computer for people who hunt and peck and they started hollering, 'The computer has a virus.' Oh, it's quite hilarious."
Golden Spike bar owner Tammy Farmer has a friend she loves to harass on April 1. "She's a nurse," Farmer said. "She never expects me to call her at work and one day I decided to call her at work. I had a friend at the bar call her and pretend to be Highway Patrol and say there was an accident involving a load of pigs and some of the baby pigs had ended up inside her home."
She knew that her friend had just remodeled her home at the time.
Farmer said she had the man tell her friend "these injured pigs were running around her family room, running around and bleeding on her wooden floor."
The man went into detail, Farmer said, and her friend "was freaking out."
Farmer said she had the man tell her friend the pigs got in there because they were sent crashing through the woman's new French doors during the accident.
"He said he can't go in without permission to get the pigs out," Farmer said. '"They're bleeding all over your wood floor' - and she says, 'Go in there and get them!"'
"As long as I've got permission to go get the pigs out of your house, we'll get them out," Farmer said the man replied.
Meanwhile, the friend called Farmer at the bar, but Farmer couldn't answer the phone yet because she was laughing too hard.
"She called her husband and tells him the whole story and he said he didn't hear of any accident out there," Farmer said.
Farmer called her friend back and listened to the story. After talking to Tammy, the friend was finally suspicious and called the Highway Patrol office to ask: "Has there been an accident with a load of pigs?"
"The story was so far-fetched but she fell hook, line and sinker," Farmer said. "I've got to think of something really good this year."
On another April 1, Farmer had another man call to say that he was delivering chickens to Tammy's friend's house.
The friend's husband said he hadn't ordered any chickens, but the man said: "I'm just paid to drop the chickens off," Farmer said.
The husband told the man posing as a driver that he didn't want them and to just let them loose.
"They're just baby chickens," the man replied.
"You can tell her anything," Farmer said.
Montana Army National Guard Sgt. Tony English is a collector of rare animals.
"Everybody knows about the jackelope," English said. "I happen to have a real one. I even have a license for it."
The real animal, English said, has antelope horns, not deer horns, and he shot it in South Dakota, so he tells people.
English said he also has some fake jackelopes at home and had one mounted on the wall along with authentic wild game.
English held a wedding reception at his home for one of his foster children who had been active with the Salvation Army. A Salvation Army officer attended.
"The captain, he was looking at the jackelope and he was petting it," English said.
English remembers the man saying: "I feel so stupid. All my life I thought these were fake."
So English went into the kitchen and found his wife, Dixie, to tell her what had happened. The captain's wife was also in the kitchen and she heard the two talking, English said. She went running off to set her husband straight.
Sylvia Murray recalls an April Fools' joke her father, Boyce Crone, now 92, played on her when she was a child. "I'm in the second grade in Fort Peck and my dad's in the kitchen. He starts hollering, 'You gotta see this purple dog on the neighbor's roof next door.' Of course, us kids come tumbling out of bed, in our pajamas, just running for the kitchen for all we're worth. And it's a bird. My dad starts laughing.
"And I'm going to hear this story Friday."
Havre Daily News Managing Editor Karen Datko offered this story: This one didn't happen on April Fools' Day but it would work if it's the day after the lottery numbers are picked. I was visiting at the home of friends in Florida. The lady of the house went to bed for the night, but only after making sure that all of our Florida Lotto tickets were neatly laid out on the dining room table. She was pretty excited since the Lotto had rolled over many, many times and was up to many, many millions of dollars. After the Lotto numbers were picked on TV that night, the rest of us went to the convenience store and bought her a new ticket for the next day, using the winning numbers, and substituted it for her ticket on the table. The next morning, she got up, compared the ticket with the winning numbers - and of course didn't look at the date - and thought she was a wealthy woman. We finally told her the truth after she called her mother in New Jersey to scream about the good news.
Jim Lammerding said his wife pulled this prank on him a few years ago. He was painting the back room of their house east of Havre when his wife called to him: "Come out and look. There's four deer in the back yard." Jim ran like crazy to see the deer, only to find out there weren't any deer in yard, which is surrounded by a 7-foot fence. "I wasn't thinking about the fence," he said.