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Chuck Hinman. IJMA No. 174: May Basket Tradition

It's Just Me Again No. 174: May Basket Tradition For past Chuck Hinman columns, thumb back through Sundays with CM, reading as a Daily Newspaper.
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by Chuck Hinman

It's May 1, 2009 and let me tell you where my memory train carried me today.

Since making my home at Tallgrass Estates in 2002, I notice I do certain things repetitively. For example, when I am "up and at 'em" for the day, I open my apartment door as an announcement to the world that Chuck Hinman is open for business.

Imagine my surprise when opening my door this morning to find that someone had hung a May Basket on my door knob. What a delightful way to greet the new day for this "octogeranium" (old flower)!

I didn't immediately make the connection. I took the basket off the door knob and sat down in my computer chair to analyze what some mysterious admirer had left me.

It was a large paper cup to which had been attached suede-like flower blossoms and butterflies. A small bouquet of artificial flowers was inserted and the basket was hung on the door-knob with a green pipe-cleaner. It was beautiful and it touched my heart.

As I nestled it close to my chest pondering who had given it to me, it dawned on me that as a Nebraska farm boy in the depression days of the early 1930's we had a May basket tradition in which we crafted a May basket out of wallpaper scraps. Lilacs were in bloom so a sprig of sweet-smelling lilac was included. Then we stealthily hung it on the door of someone we had a crush on. We then knocked and hoped the girl would catch us and plant a "smacker" on us we couldn't forget!

One time, I left my May basket on Dottie Dillow's door, knocked and ran. Dottie's mother, Allie, answered the door and caught me as I got upended by an unseen clothes line. She kissed me as I giggled hysterically on the ground under the clothes line.

Later in the day, I heard that Cathy, our activities director, had had the Tallgrass Estates women residents making these May baskets for the past several days in their arts and crafts class.

I found Cathy and told her my May basket experience with my girl friend's mother. I then planted a great-grandfatherly hug on Cathy to complete this ancient but delightful tradition!

Aren't memories wonderful, and you can't beat the price.
Chuck Hinman's columns regularly appear in Sunday with CM. To read them, use the Reading as a Daily Newspaper feature entering Sunday dates. The next previous Chuck Hinman column is at IJMA No. 374-S: The Birds and the Bees

This story was posted on 2011-05-08 04:41:22
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