May Day, A Red Schwinn, and A Damn Kick Stand!
I can’t believe tomorrow is the first of May already. My son will be going to stay with his Dad all summer once school gets out on the 17th, and I will have the visitation as opposed to his Dad. This is going to be sort of a trial run, to see how things go. No decisions have been made yet, regarding where he will live and go to school next year. I am glad that time hasn’t come yet. My son, unlike me, seems to have made up his mind. Why is it so easy for him to go?
If you’re my age, you might remember May Day being kind of a big thing. I grew up in a tiny town in Kansas and only had about 12 kids in my class. About half of the kids lived in town, the other half lived outside of town; most on farms. Every May Day, I would make May baskets and deliver them to the kids in town, and at school we would make a Maypole around the tether ball pole, usually with strips of fabric cut out of colorful old sheets.
One year I remember making May baskets with my mother out of some old wallpaper we had around. We fashioned the wallpaper into cones, and made handles for them. We stuffed them with an assortment of Brach’s Pick-A-Mix wrapped candies, and lilacs from the big bush near our driveway. I put all the May baskets in my bike basket and set off on my deliveries. When I delivered the May baskets I would set them on the porch, ring the bell and run like crazy back to my bike, hoping to get out of sight before the receiver came to the door. I wasn’t so worried about delivering to the girls, it was the stops at the boys’ houses that I worried about, because you had to worry about the kisses. Yes, you had to run like hell after ringing that doorbell at a boy’s house, because they would try to catch you and kiss you!
One boy in our class would lie in waiting every May Day just to try and tackle a girl delivering a May basket. He was a particularly short and stumpy boy, who didn’t run very fast, so I thought I still had a pretty good chance of getting away because I outran him in PE every day. I parked my Red Schwinn, complete with bell, on the sidewalk. . . .I walked stealthily towards the door, trying to tread lightly across the boards of the porch lest they squeak and give me away. . . I checked to see if the curtain swayed. . . .I laid the May basket with it’s fragrant lavender and white lilacs every so gently near the door. . . .I stood up to knock or push the bell. . . .the door opened. . . .oh shit!!!. . . .I made a mad dash towards my parked bike. . . .how was I going to get on it and get purchase on the pedals in time to get away from him. . . . .I knew what was coming and didn’t want to face it. . . .just a couple more steps. . .grab the bike. . . .hop on. . . .damn kick stand. . . .CAUGHT!!. . . .a big smooch on the cheek from the boy who hit a line drive into the side of my head in third grade!! What a nightmare!! How was I going to show my face in school the next day?? Of course I did, and lived through all the ribbing, and in another year or so I moved from that town when my parents got divorced.
You know I saw that guy at a Wendy’s a few months ago, in the town I currently live in. I didn’t say anything to him, and he didn’t recognize me. Seeing him made me wonder if he remembers that particular first day of May, when he was able to grab a May Day smooch.