May Day

I wonder why “May Day” is used as a call for help? When I was a little girl (a long, long time ago, in another century), we would make little baskets out of strips of paper, fill them with flowers from our yard, and take them to a neighbor on May 1st. In England, they have a “May Day” associated bank holiday: the first Monday in May. They have little children, crowned with flowers, dance around poles (this seems a little kinky to me – maybe it’s what inspired J.Lo and Shakira’s Superbowl half-time performance), and crown a May Queen. I know this, because I watch lots of British Television. May Day does not seem to be a big thing in the United States. We’re more into Cinco de Mayo here in New Mexico; probably because Cinco de Mayo celebrations include lots of Tequila. Tequila is very popular in the United States right now and it’s not even Cinco de Mayo yet. I won’t elaborate on the cause, because I promised myself that this week I would avoid talk of the Covid-19 stay-at-home orders.

Back to flowers. Speaking of which, there are flowers in my back yard. I’m spending a lot of time in my back yard right now. Cinnamon, the cat, encourages me to go “out back” with her. We then play a rousing game of “Keep the Cat From Jumping the Fence.” It’s her favorite game. She lures me into a false sense of peace, by lying quietly at my feet, and when she senses my muscles relaxing, she makes a mad dash for her favorite escape route of the day. It’s great exercise for both of us.

Fall before last, I planted some Iris bulbs. It’s been about six weeks since they resurfaced this year. Each will get a solitary bloom that will last one or two days. It’s a big build-up to a very quick show (again, like J. Lo and Shakira’s Superbowl half-time performance). I think it’s worth it (the flower – not the Superbowl half-time show). They’re very pretty (the flowers – not the Superbowl half-time show). After the bloom fades, you are supposed to leave the withered bloom in place so that the plant can absorb nutrients and energy from the once brilliant bloom. This reminds me of my life in retirement. I’m no longer really contributing, but I’m kept around in case I have something useful to offer later. Thank you! I have planted a garden, so maybe I’ll have vegetables to share

I used that wonderful tool, the internet, to look up the origins of the distress call: May Day. I had been thinking that maybe, it had originated when a bunch of children got tangled up and tied to the May Pole on May Day, and subsequently would scream out “May Day, May Day, May Day” in their nightmares, but I was wrong. According to the all-knowing “Wikipedia” it originated 1921 when senior radio officer, Frederick Stanley Mockford was asked to come up with an easily understood distress word. He came up with “Mayday” based on the French m’aider, which loosely translates as “help me.” Well there you go, another mystery solved thanks to the internet and the copious amount of time I have on my hands as a result of the not-to-be named virus that shares its name with a popular Mexican beer, which will be consumed in mass quantities on Cinco-de-Mayo. Everything is connected.

2 thoughts on “May Day”

  1. Hey there, Jennie. Happy Cinco de Mayo! That’s a beautiful Iris. I am not familiar with it. What is it? I have a bunch of Nettle Iris. Just love it, but the bang doesn’t last very long. If I remember, I’ll send you a photo. They were in their prime time almost a week ago. I pointed them out to Dick and he actually gave me a “Wow!” Also, I have what I think are Siberian Irises. If I remember, I’ll send you another photo. They are pretty sweet. My thrill for yesterday was that I watched two Gambell Quail taking a big, long drink from one of my birdbaths! You and Cinnamon hang in there. XOXO Andrea ________________________________

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