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Day 388: Another May Day

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

This morning I woke up about ten minutes before the alarm went off. I had a good feeling that I'd stolen a march on the day.

"Steal a march on" - To get ahead of, especially by quiet enterprise.

Much preferred to another definition, i.e., "to obtain an advantage over, especially by a secret or underhand measure." Bologna, sez me. I suppose there may be occasions when it's taking an unfair advantage, but in this particular case, the only one who could be considered at a disadvantage is myself, if we think in terms of the loss of ten minutes' sleep.

I briefly considered dozing another few minutes, but what percentage is there in that? An all-too-brief uneasy rest and the inevitable clanging of the alarm.* Nah. Carpe diem. I stole a march on it.

*Old-fashioned big-bell wind-up. You will wake up, especially if it's out of reach and you have to get up to turn it off. Or throw it.

* * *

"Oh! that we two were Maying
Down the stream of the soft spring breeze;
Like children with violets playing,
In the shade of the whispering trees."
-- Charles Kingsley

The first of May is May Day. Forget the former Eastern Bloc parades and the International Workers associations and all that. Think in terms of nosegays and posies and little baskets.

Wikipedia says "May Day was celebrated by some early European settlers of the American continent. In some parts of the United States, May Baskets are made. These are small baskets usually filled with flowers or treats and left at someone's doorstep. The giver rings the bell and runs away. The person receiving the basket tries to catch the fleeing giver. If they catch the person, a kiss is exchanged."

When I was a kid there was still a lingering tradition of giving May baskets, although I don't remember anything about kissing. I'm sure we'd have considered that mushy nonsense.

We'd put some fresh-picked flowers - at that time of year, usually an early tulip or two, perhaps a shy violet, or sometimes a few sprigs of lilies-of-the-valley - in a tiny handled basket that could be hung on a doorknob.

We might or might not ring the bell, but we'd try not to be found out. The idea of surprises and secret admirers and unexpected gifts was ever appealing - and still is, to my mind. We're never too old for the fun stuff.

So craft a May basket, put a few flowers (real or not, makes no never mind) in it, and brighten someone's day. There are plenty of people who have May Day memories of their own.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I love reading your blogs. I always feel happy afterwards. Thanks!
    3226 days ago
  • no profile photo CD11085628
    Happy May Day to you!
    I remember weaving small baskets from strips of paper and picking dandelions to put in them - surprises for mom and grandma!
    Thank you for bringing those memories back to me today.
    3231 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6484093
    Ah, what sweet memories this brings back! We too, would make our little paper baskets and put wrapped candy in them. Then try ever so sneakily to leave them on the doors of our friends. What fun. What innoncence. And I agree with you, Kasey -- there was NEVER any kissing going on.

    Over the years, the tradition seems to have faded. Often May 1st is referred to as "Law Day." What's up with that?! As for me, May 1st will always be May Day -- with all the pleasant memories it brings.

    3231 days ago
  • JUNEBUG4967
    Happy May Day to you too! Am I giving away my age saying I remember doing May baskets? We had a lot of violets that grew near the creek under the trees that made nice fill for the May baskets we had made in school. Usually, I just did mine for Mom or Grandma.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    Enjoy the posies even tho there's no basket!
    3231 days ago
    3231 days ago
    Happy May Day and keep on a Marching!
    3231 days ago
    Happy May-ing, Kasey!
    3231 days ago
    I wish we still did the simple things---and dancing around the May pole is pastel dresses with beautiful ribbons---sad to lose the nice things----and I always think of the song in Camelot about the Lusty month of May---LOL
    3231 days ago
    Happy May Day....woohoo
    3231 days ago
  • POPSY190
    This brought back memories. May Day here is the beginning of winter. Odd!
    3231 days ago
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