Sunday, May 2, 2010
Wonder of wonders...it did not rain once throughout Dolly's visit. We watched Calvin Borel win his third Kentucky Derby, followed by NASCAR, and we talked and talked. I asked her if she had done anything special as a kid in Pennsylvania for May Day, the first of May. Giving it some thought, she said, "Yes, we had a May pole at school." I did too, here in California. It is a long-gone tradition, I fear, but it was fun and really beautiful. A tall pole was erected with many long, multicolored ribbons attached at the top. Children would form a ring away from the base, each holding a ribbon, and the girls would skip one way, the boys the other, and the ribbons would braid all the way down the pole as the circle of children got smaller and smaller. I'm sure there was some song, too, but I've forgotten that part. My mother had another May Day tradition. She and I would make tiny baskets with handles from construction paper and that white library paste that every kid at that time tasted at least once. These baskets were filled with little flowers from the garden, and I would take them to the neighbors' houses, hang the May basket on the front door handle, ring the bell and run away. These were probably some pagan rituals from the dim past, but they were lovely ways to welcome spring.