My father was fond of practical jokes, in which he’d spin a tale and see how long he could get away with it. He had the poker face down to perfection, and even my mother acknowledged that, after decades of being with him, she still couldn’t always be sure when he was pulling her leg or not.
While still quite young, my brother and I were still gullible and, thus, perfect foils for our father’s brand of humor. He made regular trips to England to see his sister and, right before one such trip, he said that, while he was there, he would be dropping in on his friend, the Queen. “I’ll have her send you two a postcard,” he stated, quite nonchalantly.
What?? Our father knew the Queen of England? We were star struck at the thought of our father and the Queen being chummy and the fact that she would be dropping us a postcard. And, sure enough, a few weeks later, it arrived: a postcard with a personal message for the two of us and, on the front, a photo of the queen, herself, which we assumed she’d had taken just for us. We took our treasured postcard, in the queen’s lovely handwriting, to grade school to show off our enviable “You can’t possibly beat this” artifact, directly from Her Royal Highness. We were summarily laughed at, but we stood our ground. After all, why would our father have lied? Even when he returned, he maintained it was authentic, confusing us even more. Over the years, we learned to look for the twinkle in his eye and the slight turn of the corner of his mouth when he could no longer keep the joke going. Thanks, Dad, for the fun.