Sneaky Behavior on May Day

May Day Bouquets

So today is May Day, May 1, and I woke this morning to reflect on how quickly the calendar turns!

(posting a day early because of the date . .  . )

Perhaps it’s a bow to my historic reading, but when you say “May Day” to me, I think of rows of grim-faced Soviet generals and politicians lining up on top of a building overlooking Red Square in Moscow.

A scene from my childhood lived under the threat of all-out nuclear war, those men (I don’t recall any women) were watching workers march past, usually followed by enormous weapons.

I remember the first Friday of the month in Southern California when at 2 o’clock a siren would scream from the NIKE base on top of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Our teacher would close the venetian blinds and we scrambled under our desks curled into a ball with our hands protecting our necks. When the all clear sounded (or did it? Fuzzy history now), we’d be released, the blinds would go up and the teacher usually would read for the rest of the day.

It was part of our childhood, I rarely thought about it. Except now, on the very rare occasions when I hear that doo-wopping sound, I’m taken back to black and white horror films of death and destruction, fearsome worries and a child’s helplessness.

I felt the same way in 2010 when I visited the Terror House Museum in Budapest and saw photos on the wall. You can read about that misery here.

My father was a naval officer, like my husband. “Mayday” is a call of distress. I guess it was for me as a kid.

But May Day is fun for other people and I’ve decided to adopt a happier  tradition. Click to Tweet

The idea of a Maypole tantalizes me. Wouldn’t you love to grab hold of a ribbon streamer and weave your way in and around a maypole? May Day: Maypole Dancing on Village Green - geograph.org.uk - 1628839 Wikipedia describes the dance like this:

 Pairs of boys and girls (or men and women) stand alternately around the base of the pole, each holding the end of a ribbon. They weave in and around each other, boys going one way and girls going the other and the ribbons are woven together around the pole until the merry-makers meet at the base. . . .  Temporary Maypoles are usually erected on village greens and events are often supervised by local Morris dancing groups.

I’m charmed by the idea, sneaking past and under ribbons to weave a happy paen to spring! Maybe next year . . . May Day: Texas folklife festival flemish 2013 Perhaps you prefer Robert Herrick’s poem Corinna’s Gone A-Maying and it’s catchy lines:

Come, my Corinna, come; and comming, marke

How each field turns a street; each street a Parke
                     Made green, and trimm’d with trees: see how
                     Devotion gives each House a Bough,
                     Or Branch: Each Porch, each doore, ere this,
                     An Arke a Tabernacle is
Made up of white-thorn neatly enterwove;
As if here were those cooler shades of love.
                     Can such delights be in the street,
                     And open fields, and we not see’t?
                     Come, we’ll abroad; and let’s obay
                     The Proclamation made for May:
And sin no more, as we have done, by staying;
But my Corinna, come, let’s goe a Maying.

May Day in Hawai’i is also Lei Day and my children made leis in school of a variety of items, festooning themselves and coming home laden and happy.
May Day leis

For many people, May Day is a fun romp to welcome spring. A friend grew up making posy cones of construction paper, filling them with popcorn and placing a flower in the midst. She’d visit the homes of friends, set the posy on the steps, ring the doorbell and run away–a sneaky gift of fun.

I like that idea the best, so today, I bought a small basket of flowers, scribbled a “Happy May Day,” card and snuck it onto a friend’s doorstep.
I hope it will make her laugh and rejoice in spring.
What are you doing to celebrate May and spring coming? Click to Tweet

Leave a comment


  1. Lovely thoughts on the possibilities of May Day. As for me, I had the pleasure of going to my friend’s apartment complex and unloading my trunk full of plastic water bottles and cardboard into the recycling containers so I could go get her three bags of garbage, a lovely cat bed, and some clothes being returned that were not usable. Then I went back to the dumpster to unload the garbage. There was nothing at all sneaky about it although the dumpsters were a bit stinky! But I truly found pleasure in assisting my friend, unloading my recyclables and getting a third cat bed to use at the office. The cat bed was a nice surprise for me today. And I know Miss Bosley would love to have multicolored ribbons to twirl on a pole within her reach! That would be so much fun that we could make it a new May Day family tradition. 🙂

  2. Michelle Ule

     /  May 1, 2014

    LOL! That Bosley would scramble any ribbon, right? 🙂

  3. JVoss

     /  May 1, 2014

    I know who! BTW I was a recipient of a bouquet one year from the sweet little girl who lived next door. Nice tradition!

    • Michelle Ule

       /  May 2, 2014

      LOL! How did you find out? And how fun to participate in May day with a little girl.


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