“Someone needs to take out the trash. I can smell it from here.” Our daughter, the prima donna, diva ballerina shouted from the stairs as she rounded the corner to grab her bagel breakfast before heading off to high school. Claiming an extremely sensitive sense of smell, she regularly managed to opt out of this deadly household task. No one in our family embraces trash removal, so we avoid doing it until the tea bag wrappers and banana peels are falling over the edge. I’ve often wondered if some divine justice will strike when she’s pregnant with her first child and the smell of frying bacon sends her reeling to the white throne.

Part of experiencing fun and laughter lies in our ability to cut loose and act goofy. Fast forward a few years when our daughter becomes the proud owner of a used Honda Civic, amethyst grey with a light grey interior which she vowed she would keep spotlessly clean for the rest of her life. We all remember making this pledge to our new cars before dog slobber covered the back window panes and countless McDonald’s straw wrappers found their way between our bucket seats. But, being a prima donna, diva ballerina she meant it.

On a recent trip to Trader Joes, I offered to buy her a cinnamon whisk to fill her car with the desirable scent of unending holiday freshness. She gagged at the thought, “Are you kidding? You think I’m going to spoil my new car smell with that overly scented thing.” I snagged it at the checkout and tried to hide it in the bag before the hyper-talkative cashier made a comment about it and ruined my clandestine effort. Unfortunately, she spotted the little whisk as I thrust it down between the kombucha bottles. “Get that disgusting thing out of there. I am not putting it in my car.” I acquiesced but tucked it into the back of my leggings as she distractedly rearranged all the grocery items in the bags. At this point, I’m finding this olfactory prank hilarious and am on the verge of a laughing attack. This is defined as a breakdown in laughter that completely overtakes your refined, suburban sensibilities and you make a scene in the parking lot trying to compose yourself.

With her trunk open and groceries being unloaded, I managed to yank the whisk out from the back of my leggings and set it in the glove box, dreaming of the car heating up to 120 degrees in the summer, cinnamon overwhelming the interior. Not two seconds after placing the keys in the ignition she smelled it, “I’m not joking. Get it out of my car!”

Again, I acquiesced. I took the little evil whisk out and pretended to trash it, but the trunk was still open as our son wheeled the cart over to the corral. In a magnificent sleight of hand, I managed to hide the little beauty in the center of her rolled-up yoga mat, all the while reassuring her that its short life was over.

One week later, she walked into hot yoga at Yoga Six. I’ve never taken one of these torture classes, but dancers love stretching themselves into Gumby while everyone else is sweating like a pig before even striking their first downward dog pose. Gingerly trotting her yoga mat over to her usual spot, she looked around and wondered if someone had lit a cinnamon candle in the studio. With a dramatic flourish, she unrolled her mat, Voila! The little, nasty broom filled the boiling hot room, even better than a hot car in summer.

Significant pranks often fail, but small pranks played on an unsuspecting family member with a definite idiosyncrasy just might be the ingredient for a goofy summer of fun and laughter.

Margaret Philbrick

Margaret Philbrick is an author, gardener and teacher who desires to plant seeds in hearts. Margaret has a B.A. in English Literature from Trinity University in San Antonio Tx.and a Masters in Teaching from National Louis University. She teaches writing and literature to children and teens at The Greenhouse School and H.S.U., both of which provide supplemental classical education to the home-school community. She is actively involved in the fulfillment of God’s vision at Church of the Resurrection and the Redbud Writers Guild where she serves on the board of both organizations. Her first book, Back to the Manger, is a holiday gift book she created with her mother, an oil painter. Her debut novel, A Minor, released to critical acclaim in 2014. You can find Margaret in her garden digging in the dirt or writing poetry and you can connect with her on-line via her website at: www.margaretphilbrick.com.
Margaret Philbrick

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