May 1, 196x, Iowa. I was a young girl, less than ten years old. After school I found a small parcel hanging on our front door knob with my name on it. Inside a folded-paper basket was some popcorn, a few pieces of penny candy, and a hand-picked violet. My mother explained the concept of May Day to me and asked me if I knew who left it. I had no idea.
Good thing. She explained that if I had seen the person, I would be expected to run after him and kiss him. Yuk! I’m sure I wondered for days who could have left that May basket for me. Now, I’m sure it was probably my own mother.
When Em and Kay were small, they received their own May baskets. Frequently, we would arrive home from work and the babysitter’s to find small baskets made from paper cups and stuffed with popcorn and candy. Of course we never knew who left them; the act had been done hours before. We would drop my work bag and their back packs on the dining room table and get busy arranging our own May baskets and making clandestine deliveries.
April 30, 1998, Utah. I mentioned to someone that I needed to go buy some paper cups and candy so I could make May Day baskets. “What’s May Day?” I was incredulous that someone did not know about the holiday and was certain that his lack of knowledge was based on poor upbringing. I went to the store, expecting to see a section devoted to scores of different bulk Brach’s candy—the stuff of which all good May Day baskets were filled. Just like in Iowa.
Nope. “Do you have May Day candy?” I asked the clerk.
[It was an eerie repeat of six weeks before when I had gone to three different local florists inquiring about their green carnations for St. Patrick’s Day. “You need WHAT?” they all said. Yeah, no one in Utah celebrated the wearing of the green either. Apparently Utahns were all Scandinavian and English. So yeah, no Irish stuff.]
May 1, 2013, Utah. I long ago learned that “if it’s to be, it’s up to me.” I haven’t really ever stopped making May baskets, or having hope that I would find something on my door. Today, it’s Weston and Computer Geek who are my accomplices. I’ll leave the recipients unnamed, in case they read this blog and are forewarned for next year.
Spiffy spring-themed cup. Check.
Caramel popcorn. Check.
Tootsie Roll Midgets. Oh yeah!
Cinnamon Bears. Naturally.
And something I never had as a child--flavored straws!
All the baskets ready for take-off.
Weston in stealth mode.
Retreat! Someone's on the porch!
Later today, there was a knock at our door!
The May Fairy left us warm pumpkin bread. It was divine.
Happy May Day to you and may it signal the end of snow!
(I won't hold my breath.)