May Day Baskets, does anyone remember those? According to Wikipedia; “May day is an ancient northern hemisphere spring festival. Dancing, singing and cake are usually part of the celebrations.” (After a long dissertation on the origins I finally found what I was looking for.) “May baskets, were small baskets of sweets or flowers, usually left anonymously on neighbors doorsteps.” Now we are getting somewhere!
Yes, as a child in small town MidAmerican, May baskets were a very real thing. a lovely thing to give or to receive. Not because they were grandiose or expensive but because they were a sign of friendship and caring. My mother taught us early on to make and give these little bundles of happiness.
You did not go to the florist or super store to put in your order for delivery. No this was usually made up of scrapes or material, bits of lace or ribbon that mom had so carefully saved. You started with any little container mom had around; maybe a small cottage cheese container or something like that. Next came the gluing and wrapping with crepe paper. Who remembers that stuff? This was all done with childlike anticipation!
Next came the popping of corn, that mom made with just the right hint of butter and salt. While she worked in the kitchen and stuffed the boxes we would scurry around the yard looking for delicate little flowers to finish off our creations. On occasion there was a bit of candy to tuck in as well.
Finally they were ready for delivery! The trick was to sneak unnoticed to a friend’s house; ring the doorbell or knock very hard and then run as hard as you could to a place of hiding. The ultimate high was to not be caught but to be able to hear the happy voices of discovery.
I loved May day and all the fun that it brought. We as children were entertained for hours with our plans and preparations. But most importantly as I look back I see what we learned from the experience. To give of yourself with no promised return is very satisfying. To bring a smile to a friend’s face is priceless. A gift from the heart is the best gift of all and the sweet little surprises of life are precious indeed!
By now I am sure that you are wondering why I have chose to write about this little snippet from my childhood? As May day came again this year with all of its memories, I thought how it is a shame that this tradition has been lost. After further review, I decided that this tradition is not lost in our church. It has just changed in looks.
Doors are knocked on! Hot meals are delivered every week by caring friends! Knots are prayerfully tied! Love notes are written and hugs are given. Housing is shared to those less fortunate! Little ones are encouraged and revered! Older folks are treasured and respected! Coffee and treats are served with a smile! The list is endless and I rejoiced that May day is alive and well not just one day a year but each and every day here at St. Andrew.
Let us never forget to keep delivering those little baskets of Jesus’ love everywhere God sends us!
~ Bonnie Wagner