By APRIL GUILMET
Union Leader Correspondent
LONDONDERRY -- Mark Twain once wrote of April 1: “This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty four.”
Yesterday morning, in the spirit of April Fools’ Day, Mack’s Orchards owner Andy Mack Jr. fooled many, indeed, with his fun-spirited prank.
Sometime in the early morning hours, the apple proprietor held a mock press conference via Twitter, alerting countless web surfers of the decades-old orchard’s pending “sale.” The supposed “buyer” was none other than rival Londonderry orchard owner Dan Hicks of Sunnycrest Farms.
“The farm formerly known as Mack’s Apples is now under new management. Press release coming,” one of Mack’s postings read. “Good luck, Dan at Sunnycrest. We’re going fishing. Openin’ day, y’know.” Within moments, the alarmed responses came flooding in: some serious and others more skeptical.
“So not funny! I am counting the hours until ice cream season starts,” tweeted Londonderry resident Nicole Bridges Allen.
Shortly after, another Mack posting appeared, along with a thinly veiled hint. “April 1. Can u believe it? Here’s the swing at the farm formerly known as Mack’s Apples,” it continued, accompanied by a photograph of the snow-covered orchard lands.
“TY. We will still do some work for Dan, in between film projects,” read yet another posting, accompanying some of Mack’s recent YouTube film shorts. “Will get paid in strawberries.”
The postings grew increasingly sillier as the day went on. “Why stop farming?” Mack continued. “Sched to do a film with @BronxZoeCobra-Dear NYC, Apples and snakes have gone together since the beginning.”
Slowly, but surely, folks began catching on: Many of them no doubt smiling in spite of themselves on what may have otherwise been a downright sorrowful (and snowy) spring day.
“Silly,” Londonderry resident Keith Tharp typed in retort. “You can’t liquidate apple trees!”
Were some family members likewise fooled, or were they just playing along?
“Andrew, does your father know?” posted family member Wallace Mack III.
And with that, shortly after 4 p.m., the younger Mack decided it was about time to come clean.
“Thanks for playing along,” tweeted the mischievous Mack. “We love you. Life’s too short not to have some fun. April Fools!”
Later in the evening, Mack said it was his first attempt at such an ambitious, online April Fools’ Day prank, though the local orchard owners do have a history of playful ribbing in the spirit of the season. “That kind of stuff goes back a long way,” Mack said.
And as for Hicks: Well, as it turns out, he didn’t learn of the prank until much later that day, when the two orchard owners ran into each other at the Made In New Hampshire Expo in Manchester.
Mack asked Hicks if he knew he’d just “bought the farm.” “I’ve probably set myself up to be seriously pranked in the future,” Mack said Friday evening. “And I’m probably in trouble for scaring a couple of family members.”