Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Baskets For My Friends

When I was a wee one, I was surrounded by single, educated, older women. Dr. Kibbe and Dr. Jones were professors at Carthage College. Dorothy and Virginia were both grads of Carthage College and lived next door, which has always been one of my greatest blessings. I couldn't begin to tell you all they things those two taught me; all the wonderful times we had together. They were my great good friends regardless of our 50 year age difference.

One thing that we did in my neighborhood was celebrate May Day. We'd made baskets out of woven paper, paper doilies, bits of yarn and what not. Usually we'd make them a day or two early. Then on the morning of May 1st, we'd fill the little baskets with violets, crab apple blossoms, dandelions - what ever was blooming. If the basket was going to an especially good friend, we might include a piece of gum or candy in it.

The next part required great skill. I'd sneak up to a friend's door, put the basket on the ground, ring the door bell and run. Ideally I could hide behind a nearby tree and sneak a peak at the joy the basket brought to the recipient.

When I was very young, it didn't occur to me that the recipients of my best baskets were the very people who helped me make them. Dorothy and Pud (our name for Virginia) would always looked delighted and surprised to find my little baskets and they would look around and wonder who might have left them.

My college roommate moved to Northern Iowa several years ago and was very annoyed on her May Day there. She kept answering the doorbell only to find no one there. She had several baskets on the doorstep before she looked down.

I wish I would have thought to do this earlier. I think next year I'll make May baskets and deliver them to my neighbors. What they heck, they already think I'm nuts. Of course, all my neighbors have pretty much the same flowers blooming that I have. And I doubt that anyone would be delighted with a piece of gum. But it's such a sweet tradition.

And when I make my baskets, I'll talk with Dorothy and Pud, and I'm sure they'll be delighted.


  1. I think Dorothy and Pud would be even more delighted if you made a basket for each of them.

    Thank you, Fay, for your posts.

  2. Mom and I were just talking about May baskets yesterday and wondering why no one does that anymore. Another wonderful tradition that is a happy memory. Maybe next year I'll make a basket and surprise MOM. nan

  3. Hi Fay,

    I never heard of May basket. It sounds wonderful. I argee with Charlie, you should make a basket for Dorothy and Pud. You don't have to be Christian to believe in an afterlife. My best friend from high school told me, when my Uncle died last summer, matter is neither created nor destroyed, but changes into another form. So Dorothy and Pud are still out there and will see your May basket! Just an idea.


  4. Amanda,
    Thanks. Believe me, Dorothy and Pud are with me often - especially lately when I spend every free minute in my gardens.