Ruth Graham was well-known as a prankster. Family, guests, and friends alike were all potential targets of her humor.
When Ruth and Billy were dating, Billy told his mother, Morrow Graham, that one reason he really liked Ruth is because she reminded him of her. Morrow was intrigued to know what sort of woman had attracted her son’s attention, and she asked Billy to get a picture from Ruth. Rather than giving Billy a current photo of herself, Ruth gave Billy a photo of herself at 12 years-old when she was beginning her awkward, frumpy stage. Morrow was rather stunned when Billy presented the photograph of the lady who held his affection. Later, when Ruth met Billy’s mother for the first time, Morrow was relieved to note the photo looked nothing like the radiant, beautiful woman who entered the room.
Grady Wilson, a close friend and Crusade team member, who was also known for his sense of humor, was a favorite target of Ruth’s. Ruth sometimes sprayed disappearing ink on his new suits or placed pieces of rubber Swiss cheese in his sandwiches. On one occasion, when the team was flying to Japan, Grady had asked his doctor for a prescription for sleeping pills so he could get some rest on the plane. Not one to miss an opportunity, Ruth switched out the sleeping pills for empty capsules she had gotten at a pharmacy and filled with mustard powder. Grady endured terrible heartburn all night and couldn’t understand why the pills weren’t working.
On another occasion, Ruth put a dead black snake in a paper bag and put it on a friend’s porch. She hid behind a tree so she could watch what happened when her friend discovered it.
At a lunch at her home one day, Ruth made a beef bouillon soup with tiny meatballs. She filled the bowl she placed before Lee Fisher, an associate with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, with tinted water and tadpoles. Lee was surprised when he dipped his spoon into his bowl and the “meatball” swam away.
Ruth’s humor even extended to the inscription on her tombstone. After seeing a road sign while driving one day, she decided to include it’s verbiage on her final resting place: “End of construction – Thank you for your patience.”