May 1, 2020by Reverend Dan on May 1, 2020
“The memory of the righteous is blessed.”
I can see it all so clearly . . .
That little seven-year old boy, with almost an entire year of school behind him. He could hardly sleep the night before because of what he had heard about the day that lay ahead of him. It was his first “May Day” celebration at school and all the older kids had been talking about it for weeks. No classes were going to be held at the elementary school that day; it was going to be a “play all day” extravaganza on the school grounds on the outskirts of Lively, Virginia, (pop. 54). (Lively’s claim to fame is George Washington’s mother and one delegate to the General Assembly was born there.)
In his wildest dreams he could not have imagined what he saw when the bus rolled around the corner of Route 3 and turned onto the school property. It was a pole –a pole as high as he had ever seen – and it was wrapped in strands of so many different colored ribbons it was like an entire 64-box of Crayola Crayons had melted together. He grabbed his copy of “Fun with Dick and Jane”; his bagged bologna and cheese sandwich with potato chips, checked his pocket for his nickel for milk and one for ice cream (Brown Mule bar, please); and his prized possession, his Rawlings baseball glove. (Miss Stephens said they could bring them that day because they were going to play ball.)
Instead of going to the classroom, everyone got off the bus and went straight to the auditorium for an assembly gathering: the Pledge of Allegiance, the singing of “My Country ‘tis of Thee”, a prayer (that’s right, prayer at school), and some remarks by Mr. Marks the principle. Then it was out to the massive playground where the May Pole was. The 4th graders, the oldest kids there (most of them were the ripe old age of 10 by that time), each took a strand of ribbon and suddenly music started. (The little boy was not sure where it came from, so he figured it must have been heaven.) The 4th graders all began to weave in and out of each other, the girls dancing, the boys sulking along saying, “I can’t believe I have to do this”. Pretty soon the entire pole was wrapped tight in a ribbon mosaic, the music stopped, all the teachers went “Aw” and all the kids applauded.
Then the bell inside the school rang and pandemonium broke out. Kids were running and screaming, and teachers were chasing their classes but that was futile because the older kids understood “divide and conquer”. The only ones who didn’t run were the really smart girls in their frilly dresses and a few of the boys who had brought books to read. Finally, some sort of chaotic control asserted itself, and that little boy spent the rest of the day playing all kinds of games. He even had lunch outside on the ground with his friends. The only real excitement the rest of the day was when some teacher saw smoke coming from the boy’s room and caught three or four of the 4th grade juvenile delinquents with cigarettes. They’re probably still serving time in detention for that one.
I’m not sure folks celebrate May Day anymore. I never see any poles wrapped in ribbon. But whether people celebrate it or not, I’ve got a memory that can’t be taken away. A memory of a simpler time in life, when Miss Stephens taught you the things you’d use for a lifetime; when Mom and Dad were there to explain right and wrong; when all it took to be happy was a baseball glove and a Brown Mule bar; and you were pretty sure that eating outside with your friends was the coolest thing you had ever experienced.
Thanks be to God for the blessing of memories. They are truly a gift.
“Father, Thank you not only for the experiences of life, but for the memory of those times. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.”