It was a day like any other day when you have to write two checks out of your hard-earned savings to pay your income tax. In other words, awful. Depressing. The pits.

It was of course April 15.

All I wanted was to be alone with my little black cloud following me around like a faithful pit bulldog. Only a black cloud has the good grace not to bark or wag its tail or display any sign of cheerfulness whatsoever.

I just wanted to be alone and sulk and sigh and feel bitter toward Congress and the State legislators who so easily pass those laws that confiscate the earnings of its helpless citizens.

But did I get to enjoy my misery alone? Noooo. My misery was interrupted on the average of once and a half per hour with eight phone calls and three rings of the doorbell.

The envelopes to the IRS and the State Tax Commission were barely out of the house before an investment representative called. Talk about lousy timing. All I wanted at that point was to put what was left in a coffee can and bury it under the dead rose bush in the backyard.

The last thing I wanted to do was spend any money. I felt all we could afford for supper was moldy bread and lukewarm water.

Three of the calls were about meetings. Tight-lipped and as grim-faced as John Wayne fighting his way through a passel of desperadoes, I took down the information without committing myself.

Once when the phone rang, by the time I unplugged the iron (as long as my day was ruined anyway, I figured I might as well do the year’s ironing) and answered, the caller had hung up.

“Good,” I said grumpily to the dead line.

My husband called to see if I’d like for him to bring me some lunch.

“No,” I said pitifully. “I’ll just have four crackers and the part of the apple that isn’t rotten.”

A big boy rang the doorbell to see if I needed the lawn mowed.

“No,” I told him sternly. “We may have to eat those dandelions later.”

A little boy rang the doorbell. He was selling chocolate bars for the school at $1 each.

“I can’t afford any candy today,” I told him grimly. “I sent all my dollars to the government.”

The doorbell rang once more but the deliveryman left a package and ran before I could deliver my message of gloom and doom to him.

All that running back and forth to the phone and front door got rid of the little black cloud, though. It couldn’t keep up.

I was feeling so much better by suppertime that I splurged for a fresh loaf of bread and put ice cubes in the water.

This was the story of one April 15th many years ago. It’s been the same story every April 15 ever since.

Mary McClure lives in Lawton.

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