Spring brings back memories of childhood, many of them cloudy now, but beautiful — like beach glass. One in particular returns this time of year: May Day, or as I think of it, Aunt Mae Day.
Under giant Midwest trees, I can still visualize a white house, low to the ground, with a wraparound porch and an aluminum glider. I recall the paint was pealing a bit and curtains on the window were almost always drawn. I don’t think I ever knew much about the small, white-haired woman who lived there, but I recall wire-framed glasses and a crisp, cotton house dress. I also feel certain there was a ready smile.
She wasn’t my real aunt, and I don’t know why my mother called her that — or why she wanted me to take her flowers each May 1. But for years I would cut up construction paper and fold it into a small basket with a tiny grosgrain ribbon for a handle. Then I’d fill this with forsythia or crocuses or violets from my mother’s early garden. Once it was complete, I’d skip around the corner to Aunt Mae’s house, sneak onto the porch, hang the basket on the doorknob, ring the bell and run.
It was silly, but it was sweet. It made my mother smile, and I’m guessing Aunt Mae did the same. A random act of kindness.
As we celebrate the rituals of spring, let’s not overlook our neighbors who could use a little kindness: Take the new puppy or the kids by for a short visit, offer to make a trip to the grocery or pharmacy, drop off a box of chocolates — or a tiny basket filled with flowers.
It’s been a long time since I made a basket for May Day, but spring is about new beginnings and kindness never goes out of style.
Mary Kate Leming, Editor