M-M-M Good            

May is here, and most people feel relieved that the gusts of March and the floods of April are in the rearview mirror. When I was a child, May meant that at last Mom would let me go barefoot. Mother, like most moms of that day, definitely attributed colds, sore throats, etc., to getting chilled. The “no oysters rule” in months without the letter “r”  in their name were definitely the months when we could go barefoot: May, June, July, and August. There are no state rules against going barefoot, but some mamas and some stores have their own rules. Mama’s rules usually trumped most other rules.                                 

May is the month of “M” holidays: May Day (largely not celebrated today in our society), Mother’s Day, and Memorial Day. May is much more than that. It is baseball, that date circled on the calendar when school ends; and field trips and field days are center stage after the dreaded tests are done. May is the month for teachers to complete paperwork and students to begin to wonder what those final grades will be. Graduation and a new life loom large in the eyes of some. It is the fulfillment of those flowers promised by April showers. May is dreaming of summer and vacations and freedom.                                       

Do you remember May Day when you were in elementary school? The first day of May was May Day. May 1 was the day associated with the first day of the  spring season.  May 1 is half-way between March 20 and June 21st the longest day of the year. Flowers, and crepe paper sales went up. Teachers and mothers picked beautiful pastel colors and little girls wore costumes of pink, yellow, light green, and light blue crepe paper (very temporary costumes).   Mothers were grateful if there was a creative room mother who basically made the costumes.  Boys usually wore white or pastel shirts and sometimes the dreaded short pants. There was a maypole with long streamers of colored cloth or crepe paper and students danced around the maypole weaving the streamers as they moved. Crepe paper stretches beautifully, but it tears pretty easily in the scenario I have described. Crepe paper fades when wet, so crying children and crepe paper spell double disaster. Sometimes a May Queen and King were selected.                                                                                   

Very soon in my elementary school experience teachers came up with easier ways to welcome spring on May Day. At Main Avenue School in the fourth grade, we had a spring festival. Each grade celebrated a different country with the song and dance of that country. Ireland was our country, and so Mrs. Doss’s class learned the Irish Jig.  We practiced so long and so hard that I can still do it (some ** years later) while singing loudly “Pop Goes the Weasel.” Not a pretty sight now, it was probably not then either since all of the girls in our class were a foot taller than the boys.  The lunchroom was in the basement at the time, and our classroom was right above it. It was the meeting place for system personnel, and I well remember Mr. Reuben Porch sending someone upstairs to politely request that we practice another time (after the meeting that they were attempting to have) .                                                              

Mother’s Day is a day of celebration of the woman who gave us life (your Dad was directly connected to that also).”It Takes Two to Tango” the old song says, but it cannot be just any two. It must be a male and a female to create those wonderful little ones who grow up to be mothers and daddies.  Mothers cause us all to reflect many times in our lives, “My mother used to say……….” Michele Slung’s book Momilies  will always be a favorite of mine, and I just have to quote from it and look at the wonderful mother pictures that remind me of my own Mom. “You can’t swim for an hour after eating” and “White is not a winter color!” were apparently passed to my Mom from my grandmother.  “Stop patting yourself on the back or you’ll break your arm,” may have come from her observations of her girls.  My Mother was hard-working and unselfish, and the best cook and most gracious hostess in the entire Riggins/George  family. (I may be partial). Mother learned from the best, my Grandmother Alice Riggins. She warned us to spend more time and effort preparing tasty food and a little less on the centerpiece and the place setting. Just made me want to have a pretty table and good food (that may have been the psychology behind her teaching).                                                      

Memorial Day is a federal holiday to remember all the members of the armed services in America who lost their lives fighting for our country. Unlike Veterans Day, Memorial Days honors the dead who sacrificed their lives for freedom. We owe them a great debt of gratitude for the freedoms we enjoy.  At our house we always honored them on that holiday, but it was not until I went to Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier  that I was so overwhelmed with the magnitude of their sacrifices. Memorial Day is celebrated today on the last Monday in May, but for many years, it was celebrated May 30.                       

Many are the reasons to enjoy the m-m-m – month of May. Hope I have reminded you of your own experiences on May Day, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and the end of school and summer vacation. Don’t forget to remember these wonderful days and your own experiences.  It was not so long ago at that.