May Day

As a child I remember walking in circles with my classmates, weaving streamers around a May Pole in P.E. to celebrate the arrival of May Day. We also made paper baskets out of construction paper and filled them with flowers made of tissue paper and sprayed with perfume. Delivering a May Basket was the only time it was OK to ring a doorbell and run away. I'm a little short on flowers today though. My daffodils have bloomed and since faded away. Now the red tulips are blooming. This picture was taken a week ago, not on May Day Proper. They are still going strong though to provide a pop of welcomed color in the spots where I planted them, several falls ago, around the perimeter of the house.

May 1, 2011 was A Good Day that started with a hot breakfast of a fried egg over easy on toast (burned of course) and two tantalizing slices of just right bacon. Then to church, Sunday school and home again for a lunch of egg salad made from the last of the hard boiled and dyed Easter eggs. Shortly after lunch my husband and oldest son, T.J.B., left for practice before a 3:00 String Project concert where my son was playing violin for the second year. A.T.B. finished his homework before heading out the door himself to play at a neighbor's house.

My May Day Facebook status update read, "Janean Baird thinks the aroma of baking brownies is divine and can soothe even the most melancholy of May Day moods – namely mine." It was in the quiet of the house that I mixed and baked the brownies I'd signed up to take for concert refreshments. Since I was home alone it meant I got to lick the bowl all by myself. Mmmmmmm. Then the aroma of baking brownies drifted to me a few rooms away. It lingered too, even after I took the pan of baked brownies out of the oven. I should have baked them earlier in the day though. They didn't have a lot of time to cool before I had to cut 'em into twelve servings, put 'em on a paper plate, call A.T.B. home and hit the road for the concert. We arrived in the nick of time. A.T.B. eyed the refreshments on the way in and declared they were, "The Best Yet". The concert was impressive as always. Afterwards the food was equally amazing actually tasting as good as it looked.

May Day here began with sunshine and ended with rain. The changing weather went along with my melancholy mood. Underneath the activities of the day was the knowledge that this was the day Grandma T died. It's been five years now. At the time we all remarked how fitting it was for her to go on May Day. She was a lover of flowers and birds and being outdoors with her hands in the earth. That's what she was doing when her wedding ring of 50 years (at the time) slipped off her finger never to be seen again. A few days later, as we stood graveside to bid her adieu, my brother remarked how nice it was to have iris from her garden there with us. Then he added, "The fact that they are in buckets makes it even better". It's true. Gave us something to smile at after the prayers were said and songs were sung. She would have loved the flurry of the family gathering and meal that followed as well.

As I type this I'm sitting at my dining room table in my favorite writing spot. The sky is brightening and the sun is beginning to glow in the eastern sky at my left. A new day is dawning. Sitting behind my laptop is the sewing machine she gave me when I was in high school. I'd borrowed hers and she was ready to get it back and that was her solution. She told me to pick out a good one, that was made to last, with features I could grow into. I've had it over 20 years and it's still humming right along. Most of the fancy stitches I've never used but they are there if I decide I want to try them. Maybe. Someday. I think of her whenever I sew but especially when I rip out stitches. Most of the sewing we did together was for my 4-H projects. She was more of a stickler than any judge I ever met. She had high standards for all of us. "Do your best" applied to All Things.

In a few weeks time my iris will bloom. They are from My Grandmother's Garden. I live farther north than she did so I have to wait longer than she did for Spring Blooms. My Grandpa T dug them, my father transported them in buckets and helped me plant them. We bought our house in December. The following May when a row of iris bloomed along the side of the garage they failed to impress me. They were white. White?! Who plants white iris when they come in such a vivid Rainbow of Colors. Iris come in more colors and color combinations than anyone can imagine. (In case you were wondering, I have colored lights on the Christmas tree too. Not the more refined, elegant and understated white ones that twinkle and glow behind clear bulbs.) I'm All About Color.

May Day has come and gone. Memories of my Grandma T linger. Always. Words like "ornery" and "trousers" and "settee" always make me think of her. Not usually used in the same sentence of course. She never said, "Get your ornery self and your muddy trousers off my settee!" At least not that I can remember… She would have loved seeing T.J.B. on stage playing his violin even if she napped through the other songs like I nearly did. She'd be charmed by my youngest son's impish grin under his freckled nose and be proud of his strong math skills even if his picky eatin' drove her to distraction. I miss her. Even though I know she's still with me in my Memories, Lessons Taught, Gifts Given and my Heart. Best of all, her flowers are still blooming. Soon the colorful blooms of her iris will greet me, followed by the daylilies she loved even more. There's Joy in those blooms. Each and every one. Thank you, Grandma. For Everything.

© 2011 Janean Baird, Turquoise Tangles


2 thoughts on “May Day

  1. Janet Riehl writes:Janean,There are so many thoughts, feelings, and memories to respond to in the lovely piece of writing. I think I could write a term paper on it! Love the turquoise tangled meanderings through your life, family, and children now. Melded with the season. Melded with mother's death. Melded with what you recall, but many what she gave you that helps you in your own life today. Bringing us back to you, right now, as wife, mother, artist, writer…and maker of Burned Toast. Which Mother would never have approved of, naturally.Love, Aunt Janet

  2. Aunt Janet, Thank you for sharing your overlapping memories and Aunt's Eye View. You're right in that she wouldn't have tolerated Sub Par Performance from any appliance. I replaced a Perfectly Good Toaster with a new one because I was lured by the Bells & Whistles. It was the Siren Call of the Bagel Setting that beckoned me. With just the push of a button it toasts only the inside of the bagel, not the crusty side too. Amazingly, my oldest son switched back to Bagels for Breakfast this week and the toaster is behaving beautifully. Golden Color Every Time. It was getting tired of burned toast too. And and may have the beginning of another blog post… Love, Janean

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