Bryan, have you ever pulled a prank?
Episode #
Thursday, January 4, 2024

Bryan, have you ever pulled a prank?

The Storyworth Podcast
Episode Description

In this episode of the Storyworth Podcast, our storyteller shares what what it was like growing up in a family of pranksters, along with an epic prank gone wrong.

Both sides of our family riddled with pranksters. This prankster trait has passed from generation to generation. My brothers and I received a healthy dose of that gene.

Before I tell you about my greatest prank, I want to tell you about a trick that Dad pulled on his mother, Ernestine. Dad grew up in the 1940s. He liked to hide anywhere he could, then jump out and scare his mom. One day he decided he would hide inside the refrigerator. When Grammy pulled open the door, he would really put a scare into her. He thought, won't she be surprised when a small boy comes leaping out of the refrigerator?

Refrigerators in those days had a hard latch which kept the door closed. They couldn't be opened from the inside. One morning before breakfast, Dad climbed inside the refrigerator thinking, this is going to be the best prank ever! He hadn't been inside the fridge for more than a minute when the phone rang. Grammy picked up the phone. It was a good friend, Ginny. Grammy loved to talk, especially on the phone. The conversation rambled on, first about the war, then about the kids, recipes, gardening, and laundry. Grammy was known to stay on the phone, chatting away for an hour. Minute by minute, Dad began to get colder and started to find it more difficult to breathe. And he was thinking, Mom, hang up the phone. Mom, please hang up the phone. Once his teeth began to chatter and his fingers turned blue, he couldn't wait any longer to surprise his mom. Dad pushed against the refrigerator door. It wouldn't open. He pushed a little harder. It still wouldn't open. Desperate, he began banging on the door from inside the refrigerator.

Grammy asked "what in the world?" and told Ginny "I'll call you later." Grammy hung up the phone and pulled open the refrigerator door. She found a little blue boy inside with icicles under his nose. She asked, "Bryan, what on earth are you doing inside the refrigerator?" The cold, scared boy answered, "I was hungry and looking for something to eat." Thankfully, Dad never attempted this prank again.

When we moved into the house on Mohawk Drive, our neighborhood was still expanding. There were cornfields surrounding our development on every side. It was interesting to watch the corn grow throughout the summer. I remember hearing the old adage, knee high by the 4th of July. Depending on the weather, some years the stalks exceeded this height and sometimes not. Needless to say, there was plenty of corn around the neighborhood.

In the late summer and early fall, we would play hide-and-seek in the cornfields. Once we had made paths from our game, we found the stalks lying in the field with the ears of corn. We didn't want the fallen corn to go to waste, so we picked it up, put it in a paper bag, and carried it home. Once home, we peeled the outer covering and husk from the corn. Then holding the ear with one hand, we used the thumb from our other hand to push the kernels off the cob and back into the paper bag. This continued until we had three to five pounds of corn kernels in the bag.

These kernels became the ammunition for our prank, tic-tac-ing. Tic-tac-ing was performed using a three-person team. We waited until nighttime and used the cover of darkness for concealment. Each member carried his own bag of corn kernels. The team moved to a position near the house, behind some bushes. It was important to be close enough to the house to reach it with a throw, but not too close to risk being caught by the owner. Most houses in East Allen Township had aluminum siding. The corn made a distinctive sound when it ricocheted off the siding that sounded to us like 'bap-bap-bap.' But I guess the originators of this trick thought it sounded like 'tic-tac-tic-tac.' I guess they just didn't throw it hard enough.

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