Happy May Day

Today is May 1, which means it is May Day. I’m sure the significance of that does not escape you. Frankly, it does escape me. I’ve never really understood May Day. Once, in elementary school, we made a Maypole and did that whole twisty/turny thing with the long streamers, and ended up nearly choking our teacher to death. This was not entirely our fault. Any idiot can tell you that giving a child, any child, a long skinny piece of cloth to wind around something is asking for disaster. Please. Have you never removed a string from a young finger about ready to just POP OFF from the lack of circulation? This is an irresistible lure to young children. It’s like handing them a BEAN and telling them NOT to put it up their nose. “DO NOT put that bean up your nose. DO NOT DO IT. It will not fit. No, indeed it will NEVER GO IN THERE. Don’t do it. You can never get that BEAN in your nose.”

Like the bean, the cloth around the finger calls to them at night. “Come over to the dark side, and wind that string around your finger. Look! Look how red the finger gets. Now blue. Look at the colors. Keep going, don’t go back.” Add to that equation, a young, skinny woman holding a broomstick with the other end of the fabric attached to it, at the top. And, say, make that 29 pieces of fabric, all attached to the pole, held by the young, nervous teacher. Even worse, when said woman encourages them to “dance around the Maypole,” well what the hell did she think was going to happen? She didn’t think that one through very well.

It would have been kind of cool had we just tied her up. Think of the anarchy! No naptime! Juice and cookies for the month, devoured in one setting. But noooo, Ms. Newton’s long skinny neck kind of got in the way. Ms. Newton was one of those people who should have been featured on the KIDSDONOTTRYTHISATHOME.com Web site. I pray she went into the convent somewhere, even though she was Mormon. If not, children everywhere are still in danger.

After that, May Day celebrations were outlawed at our school and I hear Ms. Newton went into another line of work. She was a nervous woman, anyway. She always believed we were out to get her. There’s nothing quite as threatening as 29 six-year-olds celebrating a pagan holiday. Of course, back then, we didn’t know what pagan was. We were good Mormon kids who waited all year long for Halloween, yet another pagan holiday that somehow turned into harmless fun. (Please, don’t tell the fundies.)

Here in Utah May Day usually brings spring, warmer weather, and a rash of Mormon dignitaries being caught with their pants down (literally) where the hookers hang out. This year, however, we are in the last stages of a drought. I say last stages because we have had so much moisture this year that gnats and mosquitos from all over the world are flying in to breed. They are making reservations.

I would say the drought is officially over. We haven’t seen the sun much. We HAVE seen a lot of rain, and quite a bit of flooding (already) and some posturing from our local “meteorologists” about what we can can expect.

Having worked for the Salt Lake Tribune in the 1980s, complete with big hair (me, not the Trib), I can assure you that these “meteorologists” got their information from the same source I did–the National Weather Service. I even sat in a meeting with them. I heard them ask stupid questions. I asked my own stupid question: just WHAT degree is required of a “meteorologist?” Answer: none. Back then, I helped to revamp the paper’s weather reporting system. With nary a fancy title such as meteorologist.

Interestingly enough, in 1983, we had a year similar to this year. Despite what meteorologists might say, no one really knew it was coming until it hit us. Suddenly, we had a river running down State Street, an entire town disappeared under the onslaught of mud and water, and our governor said, “This is a hell of a way to run a desert.”

We are back in that same position. And, a note to all of you people who built houses in the same area where we were flooded back in 1983: I sure as hell hope you have flood insurance.

Happy May Day!!


About Natalie R. Collins

Natalie has more than 30 years writing, editing, proofreading and design experience. She has written 20 books (and counting), has worked for the Sundance Film Festival, and as an investigative journalist, editor, and proofreader. She embraces her gypsy-heart and is following her new free-thinking journey through life. Follow her as she starts over and learns a bunch of life's lessons--some the hard way.
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