Believe me, I’m as sick and tired of showing you pictures of my back yard as you are seeing them but, since you’ve followed our sad saga thus far I figured you should see the final (at least I hope it’s the final) insult. Sometime during the night I was awakened by the familiar ticking sound of ice pellets hitting the roof followed by a a crunching crash out back.
Just when you thought the old maple tree had been stripped of all her vulnerable branches by the last storm, another large one couldn’t stand the strain and lost its grip in the darkness narrowly missing the same powerline that got snapped two weeks ago. It will now, I suppose, end up in a humiliating mountain of mulch rather than fulfilling its noble calling of providing oxygen for the atmosphere, a roost for robins and sparrows and squirrels, beautifying the neighborhood and rendering a bit of shade from the hot summer sun for the old couple who dwell below.
It’s May Day. In my youth, I remember giving and receiving little packages of goodies delivered to and by special friends. It was my first experience with the power of passion..especially if the Anundson or Eggebratten girls came to our door with a tray of May baskets.
I don’t think they do May baskets much anymore do they?
A lot of other images come to mind when pondering past May firsts; the aroma of freshly turned dirt for the garden; the sight of tulips reaching up from their subterranean slumber and riding into the blue sky aboard a single green stem; the sound of lawn mowers roaring to life and the curses of men whose machines refused to respond to dozens of tiring tugs on the starter rope.
I also have vivid memories of watching the annual May Day show of Russian military might on TV. Miles of missiles and synchronized Soviet soldiers passing in review before stern-faced old fat guys in medal-laden uniforms. I always figured it was only a matter of time before one of those ICBM’s would be launched..intentionally or accidentally..at us and that would be that.
Before Hell decided to freeze over, Linda and I along with our friends Denny and Joan, took advantage of our faux spring a few days ago to have a picnic in the park. Our park of choice is the Perry Nature Area just east of Sioux Falls. In fact, the area used to “be” the community of East Sioux Falls. It’s a lovely spot where families who worked the Sioux Quartzite quarries in the early 20th century used to live. The only remnants of their existence, though, are a few cement foundations and flowers; all varieties of flowers, planted in backyard gardens by women in bonnets nearly a century ago that still pop up every spring. The poor trees that give Perry Nature Area it’s charm also took a beating from the ice storm but the mighty Bur Oak, believed to be the oldest in South Dakota, still stands straight and tall; too tough to be intimidated by a little ice. The four of us were all smiles as we sat at our usual table under the park shelter; commenting on what a joy it was to finally have seemingly awakened from our long winter nightmare. We offered up toast after toast with our glasses full of wine. We don’t bring cold chicken and potato salad to these picnics; it’s wine and cheese and warm biscuits and butter. It was while opening our second bottle of Pinot Noir that we began to wonder if Perry Nature Area was among the parks to ban booze. The thought was a bit unnerving but not enough to pack up and leave. I had a plan in mind if the park manager would have pulled up in his pick-up to give us a talking to. “We’re having a church service,” I’d say. “You’ve come just in time for communion and a prayer of thanksgiving for this beautiful day.” He’d retreat in shame, of course. “Ha, ha ha..we sure fooled him,” I’d say while popping the cork on the last Merlot. “I sure hope God has a sense of humor,” Joanie said while looking up at the blue sky and sunshine.
“Of course He does,” I replied, “What do you think He’d do..make it snow in May?”