Friday, May 1, 2015

May Basket, Again

If one is unable to come up with new material, the least he can do is search the past for something meritorious.  I liked this enough to publish it once before, so here it is again.  Enjoy!

Children, chances are that were I to say "May basket" you would have no clue.  Here you go, then.  It was in the deep, dark recesses of time past, in that time before there were smart phones, that time before television.  Yes, my dears, there was such a time, and I was eyewitness to that age.  What did one do with himself?  Heavens to Murgatroyd, life must have been a drag.

So you might think.  But that was not the case at all.  Children living in a neighborhood, and that could encompass an area of several square blocks, would gather together and play.  Play?  Yes, play. They would organize themselves, themselves, I tell you, into teams and get up a game of softball. They would play hide-and-go-seek, Red Rover, kick-the-can, or, oh, there were so many games to play!  Quieter activities might include marbles or jacks, hopscotch, I Spy, but now you once again have no clue.

Then on a mid-Spring day we would celebrate May Day.  While the adolescent children might focus on dressing in spring finery and twirling round a Maypole, the younger set would engage in innocent and artistic activities such as the preparation of May baskets.

First, one gets his, or her, crayons, paper, and mucilage.  Nevermind, school paste will do.  After one has made the basket, she, or he, gathers some nice fresh, green grass with which to line the basket.
Then the flowers are gathered.  First of May.  Perhaps a jonquil, if there is one in our own yard-- never steal garden flowers from a neighbor.  Otherwise, some nice, bright dandelions.  A few violets. See them there, springing up in the grass?  Perhaps some blossoms from the crabapple tree.  Arrange these pretties in the basket.  Now you are ready.

Right after supper and just before dark, twilight, I think it is called, we select in our minds the recipient of the basket.  We slip across the street, up the sidewalk and go to the front door of the house.  We hang the basket carefully on the doorknob, or if that is not possible, we set it carefully on the porch in front of the door.  Then, and this is key, then we KNOCK loudly and RUN off the porch and hide behind the hedge where we can watch, but not be seen.

The perplexed householder will look around, look down, espy the basket, and a beautiful smile will brighten his or her visage!  Or so we hope.

A successful and happy May Day!

Kids, on the next page there are pictorial directions for building a May Basket!

1. On a sheet of paper lay out a basket.

2.  Cut and fold.  Decorate.  Be imaginative; your basket can be much prettier than mine.  Crayons, pens, or even paint!

3.  Assemble basket.  Tabs may be fastened with paste or staples.

4.  Collect grass and flowers; arrange.  TA! DA!

Happy May Day to you and your friend who receives the basket!


Vee said...

This was one of the great traditions of our childhood. It's too bad it is no longer done.

I've often wondered about the history of giving May baskets and how it happened to be a big deal in Colorado, but, at the same time, unheard of by people in Indiana. I remember after we moved there that our neighbors were amused when our little sister delivered her May baskets.

Try as I would, our children refused to do May baskets because none of their friends did them.

Lin said...

Oh, I remember May baskets! I also remember making a crown of flowers from clover flowers. Oh, where has the creativity of bored kids gone?

(We sometimes just rang the bell and hid....without the baskets. I think we called it "Ring and Run" or "Ding-dong Ditch." I guess we were hooligans, eh?)

vanilla said...

Vee, Google it!

Lin, I can picture you as a hooligan. Not.

Secondary Roads said...

That happened here this morning.

vanilla said...

Chuck, though a little surprised I am elated to learn that the tradition lives on!