Friday, May 1, 2009

Happy May Day

May Basket by Andrew Wythe

A tisket a tasket
A green and yellow basket
I wrote a letter to my mom
And on the way I dropped it.

Author and source beyond memory unknown.

I have gone from pandemics to Mayday Baskets in a blink. I warned everyone that Sidetracked Charley was going to be a bumpy ride. So hold on.

Yesterday I began to feel better and suddenly I had to strip the bed of all things and pop them into the wash. Hanging them out on my new clothes line I was reminded of my mother doing the same thing after one of us was sick. I told myself I might be doing too much to be just out of the sick bed or that modern research shows viruses live on surfaces for only six hours but I just felt compelled to open windows, and wash or at least air in the spring sun everything I had been in close contact with (including the dogs which were given a play day with the neighbors) over my illness.

As I went about my airing out chores my mind traipsed down memory lane from Mother doing the bed clothes to being shooed outdoors to sit on the stoop in the sun (the fresh air will do you good) to making and delivering Mayday baskets to the neighbors as a child. And that silly ditty I opened with. I can see myself skipping down the country lane on the morning of May the first pulling a wagon full of Maybaskets. Little brother in tow. Making him slip up to the porch with the spring offering.

I dimly remember other rhymes like "Ring around a rosy, pockets full of posy" which was a plague tune turned into a children's game. I can bracket my illnesses with nightmares before and nostalgia trips after.

Back in the modern world this morning and on my computer I Googled Mayday Baskets and found the tradition obviously still alive as there are multiple sites to go to with directions of how to make and the history. And the delightful painting above with I think is precious (another flu hangover no doubt). And a bit of plague history: the opening of windows and doors and airing out of linen was evidently the dividing line on survival rates. And the open air is why it is assumed the plague was less deadly in the open countryside.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jacqui,

    I enjoyed this post! I hope you're feeling much better these days. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog.

    Have a wonderful rest of the weekend...


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