Day 49, May 1, 2020
“Happy May Day”
May Day was a special day for the Eberly kids as we grew up on Fitzgerald Lane in Hanford, California. May Day was a special day because of my mom, Clara Eberly. When our granddaughter was born on April 25, 2019, Julie and I immediately noted how close her day of birth was to May Day. We noticed because like my mother, our granddaughter has the name Clara. Our granddaughter has the name Clara Eberly. Last year, for her first May Day, I wrote our little Clara Eberly a letter explaining why May Day was so important in our family.
“Dear Clara, one of Grandma Clara’s favorite days of the year was May 1st. She called it May Day. She would keep an eye on her flowerbeds and early in the morning on May 1st she would pick the brightest and most beautiful flowers and make them into bouquets. Then she would gather all five of us kids together and send us out. On May Day we would sneak up to a neighbor’s house with a bouquet of flowers, ring their doorbell, and then run and hide behind the nearest tree. When our neighbors would open their door, they would find the flowers and it always made them happy. Somehow, they knew it was the Eberly kids who delivered the flowers. Maybe we weren’t very good at hiding…or keeping quiet. Anyway, it was a day we all enjoyed, and my mom would want to hear all about it when we would come home from delivering the flowers.”
May Day became even more special for our family on my mom’s last May Day, May 1, 2012. Our long-time neighbor on Fitzgerald Lane in Hanford, California, Mrs. Senna, sent her caregiver to visit my mom on May 1, 2012. Mrs. Senna was not able to make the visit herself. We all understood. After all, Mrs. Senna was 110 years old by then. We understood why she could not make the visit herself. My sister Anne was with my mom that day. The caregiver told my sister Anne that Mrs. Senna wanted all of us Eberly children to know something. Mrs. Senna wanted us to know that she had a burlap bag in her garage. In that burlap bag she had saved all the flowers we had delivered for all those years on May Day. None of us could believe it. In that gunny sack in Mrs. Senna’s garage was every single bouquet of fresh flowers all of us Eberly kids ever delivered to her door on May Day? We moved to our house on Fitzgerald Lane in 1960. My mom didn’t move from that house until well after the year 2000. In the garage of a woman who was110 years old were all the flowers that showed up on her doorstep for some 50 years. Amazing. So yes, we hope May Day will be an important day for Clara Jean Eberly, now one year old. (Julie took the idea of a gunnysack and upgraded it…she sewed Clara Jean her own May Day bag. It is beautiful and will work perfectly as little Clara grows up and carries on Great Grandmother Clara’s tradition of delivering flowers on May Day)
Looking back on May Day I see a pattern among the people my mom would choose to have us deliver those May Day baskets. Mrs. Senna lived alone. Grandma Crass was widowed. Mrs. Hernandez had family nearby, but she lived all by herself. Another family on our street had lost a son in an accident. Those May Day baskets, filled with bright and beautiful flowers, were meant to let someone who was alone, or feeling the sadness of loss, someone who needed a ray of light in a time of darkness and a message of hope during a time of struggle, those May Day baskets were meant to bring joy. Stealing a glance from our hiding place behind a tree, waiting with great excitement as our neighbors would open their doors and find the surprise of a beautiful basket of flowers, and watching the look on the faces of our beloved neighbors, I would have to say, “Mission accomplished.” Those baskets brought joy.
Like so many good gifts, May Day is a gift that keeps giving. Today is May Day. Here in Rhode Island May Day is cold and rainy. The wind is howling. The sun refuses to shine. We have entered another month still cooped up and cut off. Interrupting these dismal thoughts was the ring of the doorbell. I roused myself from my grumpy mood and made it to the door. No one was there. Just a big basket of bright and beautiful flowers. Someone remembered May Day. SURPRISE!
Actually, it was a “virtual” May Day. Diana and Phil Clark remembered me talking about my mom and how much May Day meant to her. Remembering this was a special day for us they sent me and Julie a virtual May Day basket. They sent it by email. With the May Day basket of flowers was a kind note.
“Knowing that May Day has significance in your lives, we wanted to send a ‘virtual’ May basket your way. This celebration was a very special one in my childhood, and we often celebrated, especially in sharing with friends and with people who were isolated. Diana and Phil”
Sharing with friends and people who are isolated. Diana and Phil, that is exactly what a May Day Basket is all about. Do you know anyone right now who is feeling isolated? Maybe it’s you? I know we have felt the isolation during the Coronavirus Crisis. Maybe there is someone you know who might be experience that feeling of isolation. Is God is putting someone on your heart who could really use a May Day Basket. Anyway, I’m including the beautiful May Day Basket we received from Diana and Phil. I’m passing it on to you. If you think of someone who could benefit from some brightness in their day, go right ahead and send it to them.
With the May Day Basket I am including a verse to brighten your day as well.
“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say rejoice. Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)
With the love of Christ,