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And May Day Flowers Bring...

"You made my day!" said the woman at the doctor's office, grinning. I'd brought Monroe with me, carrying a little jar of simple flowers from my garden, tied with twine. I needed a tetanus shot and it was May Day and I was overcome on April 30 with a sudden urge to Do It.

We started with the next-door neighbor and we went bonkers; several neighbors on our block, including a few we've never met. The receptionists at the doctor's office. Truman's teacher. A friend. Drunk on our gratuitous gifting, my two younger boys ran away from two of the houses in full giggle and victory. "This is the best May Day EVER!" said Monroe (and the only one we've ever celebrated, making it a low bar).

It was such a joy to me, even more than the recipients of our random secret gifting. It was so easy; picking a few of the volunteer flowers and tulips from our yard, fill in with mint and herbs, put in old canning jars, tie with kitchen twine and a little May Day greeting, deliver as quietly as possible. To see the faces light up -- not just of the recipients, but my boys in victory after our "missions" -- was a thrill. So much fun, in fact, that I might do it again before next May 1.

Have you celebrated May Day the old-fashioned way? If you haven't, have you found unexpected joy in some simple and secret act of small generosity? Any other ideas? I need another mission.


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I did a few times as a kid and have thought about doing it many times since then. It was so stealthy and do-goody and fun. :-) Mostly our family does a Beltane ritual now involving a Maypole dance, singing, etc. It would be fun to have a May Day feast involving some foraged spring foods: nettles, chickweed, morels, etc.

I did this when I was little. We made little paper baskets and hung them on the door knobs. I seem to recall sometimes doing it not on May 1st, too, probably in the same way that my kids play at Easter or Christmas for months.

As an adult, I've done it twice--both times for elderly neighbors. Lately, I plan to do it and then the first of May sneaks up on me and I'm busy and . . .

Love your photos. Next year I'm in!

Not a May Day celebration but every now a then when I would drive through the bay bridge in San Francisco Bay Area I didn't have to pay the toll because the driver in front of me paid for two cars. Such a small gesture by a stranger but it really made me feel great. I paid for a car behind me a couple of times too.

My Grandma recently told how a neighbor recalled getting flowers from my aunts when they were little girls 50 years ago. Sweet to think this kind gesture could be remembered in 50 years. Guess I should get my boys in on it next year.

Ditto! My husbands and my first kiss was on May Day. (I let him catch me).
I always thought May Day would be a huge tradition in my home, like it was when we were kids - but I too, have had some other thing I must do that day. Next year I promise to call in sick!

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