Merry month of May

May 01, 2008 by barbara

barbara writes

UPDATE: In the spin-til-you-puke department, John McCain said today that the now-famous May Day "Mission Accomplished" banner is not George W. Bush's fault. I just wanted to clarify that for you. It's what we do here at CLB. See end of this post for late-breaking updates.

The Court of Love / author unknown / 1561

And furth goth all the Court, both most and lest,
To feche the floures fressh, and braunche and blome;
And namly, hawthorn brought both page and grome.
With fressh garlandes, partie blewe and whyte,
And thaim rejoysen in their greet delyt.

May Day. Paean to spring, borrowing from medieval pagans. Boy howdy, does this day ever bring me waaaay back. Simpler times for sure. Grade school. South Minneapolis. Anyone remember May poles? Multiple streamers affixed to the top of a vertical pole. Students took turns grabbing the free end of the streamers. Then with some direction from the teachers, we made up our own dance, weaving in and out out and under and over each other. It was inevitable that some hyper kiddo would get carried away and before long, detached streamers were lying on the playground. We’d be laughing like crazy and a wacked-out teacher would yell, “Children . . . children . . . be nice. Settle down! Stop it! I mean it.” More on May Day.

May Day. May baskets. Little construction-paper cornucopias with handles pasted on to enable hanging them on door-knobs. Filled – well, okay, not exactly filled – with little unwrapped candies. Life Savers, mostly. I’d hang my little “basket” at home, ring the bell and run to hide, watching for Mother to come to the door, feigning delight at the cheesy little treasure and saying things like, “I wonder where this came from!”

May Day. Read somewhere that the international distress phrase came into use in 1948. A bastardization of the French “m’aidez,” meaning “help me.”

May Day. Labor Day in many countries, harkening back to a May 1, 1886 national union strike, followed on May 4 by the Haymarket Square riots in Chicago. Pope Pius XII named May 1 the feast day of St. Joseph the Worker. Dwight Eisenhower designated May 1 as Law Day and Loyalty Day.

May Day. General Mills introduces Cheerios (1941). Mr. Potato Head is introduced (1952). Mickey Mantle hit his first home run (1951). Harper Lee wins the Pulitzer Prize for “To Kill a Mockingbird” (1961). Six pages of May 1 events.

May Day. George W. Bush announces “Mission Accomplished.” It is just another in a long string of lies to the world. No biggie.

May Day. barbara posts on Clotheslineblog for the first time.

Happy May Day.

Late Breaking Updates:

Steve Young (whose tongue and cheek spend a lot of time together) at Smirking Chimp claims that the White House is launching a contest among survivors of Americans killed or maimed in Iraq to bring more clarity to "Mission Accomplished." Some of the alleged submissions:

  • "Huge Defense Contracts and Profits For Halliburton, Blackwater, other friends of Bush/Cheney Built On The Graves of Innocents Accomplished"
  • "Protection of Osama Bin Laden by Diverting Resources from Finding Him and Those Who Were Actually Behind 9-11 Accomplished"
  • "Going to War With The President You Have, Not The President You'd Like Accomplished"
Posted in


Poet (not verified) | May 8, 2008 - 8:08pm

Oh how well I remember May Day. At our elementary school it was a sign of heirarchial arrival. The 6th grade girls danced around the Maypole, the 6th grade boys used to do tumbling routines and make a pyramid as high as we on the bottom could hold up those on the top (then the whole thing would collapse on cue at the end of the routine) and the lower grades would do other folk dances and stuff.

It was held outside on the school's front lawn which was surrounded by trees under which proud moms and other guests sat to watch us kids perform. At the end of the performance we all went inside school for punch and cookies and an informal open house. best of all, we missed half a days school and got to go home early.


susan | May 8, 2008 - 11:00pm

Very pagan! They'd never let you get away with that now. But we did it too, May queens and all.