by Noreen Doll.
May Day will soon be here. Time for another May Day basket caper!
When I was a kid, I lived in a small town which still had many charming customs. One of these customs was the making and delivering of May baskets.
What we did was to create a small basket with a handle for hanging. It could be made out of paper or cardboard and colored or decorated in however fancy a way we could dream up.
Then we would pick wild flowers (or pick them from Mom’s garden) and fill the basket with them.
We would take the basket to someone’s home, hang it on the door knob, and knock or ring the door bell. Then we would run and hide where we could see what happened.
It was always such fun to see the recipient’s surprise!
A couple of years ago I had a friend whose family was greatly in need of some fun, so I decided to revive the custom.
I had recently told my friend about the tradition when she was trying to think of some fun ideas to do with her kids.
I thought how much fun it would be for her kids to find a basket of small simple gifts and treats.
I made little matchbook notebooks for each of the kids with their name on the cover, and wrapped a few small candy bars for each, also with their names on them.
I shredded a bit of colored paper to put in the bottom of the basket, and then filled it with treats.
I decided to deliver the basket after dark for the kids to find first thing in the morning, and enlisted an accomplice to help me. My accomplice offered to drive the get-away car.
As we were about to go out the door, my accomplice said to me, “It’s obvious you never went TP-ing when you were in high school. You should NEVER wear light colored clothes so you can be easily seen!” So I raced off to change out of my light pink jeans into something dark.
(TP-ing is a practice among teenagers that involves unrolling toilet paper and wrapping and draping it over shrubbery, trees and porch railings of a friend’s house – in the dead of night, of course!)
As we neared my friend’s house, we turned off the headlights and crept just past it so the car could not be seen from the front door.
I got out of the car very quietly and tiptoed up to the porch. Just as I put my foot on the first step, an inside light suddenly came on – where it had been dark before. I turned and ran back to the car!
So we drove away laughing, and then shortly came back to try again. The TV was on in the living room, so I tried to be very quiet when I went up on the porch.
I gently eased open the screen door, only to find there was no doorknob to hang the basket on! So I carefully pulled the basket handle over the inside horizontal handle on the screen door and gently eased it shut.
When the door was almost closed, the basket slipped off and fell with a noise to the threshold! I cravenly turned and ran (laughing hard!) to the car. As my accomplice drove away from the scene, she wanted to know what happened and I could hardly tell her I was laughing so hard.
She said, “After all that work you can’t just leave the basket like that! We need to go back so you can turn it right side up and put all the stuff back in.”
So we drove around the block and checked, and apparently the sound had not been heard. So I crept up to the door AGAIN and gently opened the screen door, turned the basket upright and refilled it, and left it sitting on the threshold between the 2 doors.
Then I ran back to the car and we left in a hurry! As we drove away we both agreed how much fun the adventure had been… and more so because of the effort that was required to leave the basket unnoticed.
Obviously, I will never make a successful burglar!