April 7, 2013
Sunday, 3:30 p.m.
Letter #272: April Foolishness
I must confess: I love April Fool’s Day. I get one day a year that has a built-in excuse to lie to those you care about most. It wasn’t celebrated at our home growing up, for the same reason we weren’t lied to about the jolly elf and the egg-laying rabbit. However, I have chosen that “As for me and my house … ” we shall lie. But just once.
This year, I chose my cellie, Tom, because he leaves prison in a few months. Like Phillip last year, he is anticipating leaving soon, heading back to California for his final three months. But not too soon. I was unable to secure the cooperation of correctional staff with boxes at our door, as I did last year to Phillip. One staff member even laughed at my suggestion—they all did, actually—then told me “We’ll see.” I’ve been a child before, so I understood clearly that he was actually telling me no. He laughed again when I pointed that out.
Four correctional staff later, I had to change my plan. As Tom and I left our pod to go teach the Public Speaking class that evening, I gave a note to another inmate who agreed to help me. Finally! So, there he was, flustered and scurrying about, making sure all the students had their handouts and were prepared for their participation roles in class, and in walks the official-looking notice that he needs to “transpack” his belongings. Immediately. I’d made sure his wasn’t the only name on the list, and I’d not used my standard font: Transpack: Tom Reeves V47174 PC-228 He was hooked, stuttering that he didn’t have time to do this right now. Right now? Right now? On and on. Then, he just dropped his stuff and jetted out of the classroom. I paused before running after him, having achieved what I’d wanted. He just matter-of-factly said he’d get me back, but I only do one light-hearted little April Fool joke, and that’s it.
Near the end of class, he announced that the class had prepared a surprise for someone, something they’d been eagerly anticipating to give this person. Then, dramatically, he stated: “Tonight’s special event is the roasting of Christopher! Please come to the front hot seat.” I did, which is when he simply asked me if I happened to remember what day it is. And gratefully, that was it. He’d got me back, as I’d gotten him, in front of the whole class. Nicely done. Well-developed.
Thursday, my quartet got to sing for the graduating class of INEA, which is a Mexican Consulate-sponsored GED-type program for Mexican nationals living abroad all over the world. I’m hoping they’ll invite us to perform for the class in Italy, but I’m thinking I’ll get a “We’ll see.”
The quartet is comprised of Gerald, a music major with his Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance; Nate, a former manager at Taco Bell, who used to sing, I am told, in the shower; Sister Peggy, our multi-talented volunteer, and myself. We practice separately from the Community Choir and generally are doing much more difficult music selections. We performed several songs in Spanish for the graduation, including the operatic song, “The Prayer,” or “La Oracion,” which we did partly in Spanish and Italian, which I’m sure was not at all confusing to men who are finally graduating high school in their 40s and 50s. I’m grateful for the opportunities given to me to not only use the abilities I have to be a witness and example, but also to have fun while eating cake and ice cream. 🙂 Excellence has its perks!
Please pray for a guy named Thomas. I witnessed to him last week, and now he’s attending Bible Studies and church services with me. He’s a Native American who has been attending Mormon services for a year. I’m excited for his hunger about the things of God!