May 1, 2009

May Celebrations: Part 1



     Some month-long May celebrations lean toward the romantic. During Date Your Mate Month plan one date to renew your wedding vows, as it is also National Recommitment Month. If you are a heart patient, like I am, be reminded how important your health is by taking note of National Blood Pressure Month. Being a decrepit old lady, as I describe myself to my granddaughter, I can celebrate Older Americans Month with the best persons in our population, performing the best exercise—it’s National Bike Month (click on     to read an excerpt from Sal Martin’s book, Mustang Sally’s Guide to World Bicycling Touring, click on TURKISH TOILETS IN A DARJEELING (India) TRAIN STATION   or visit and scroll down the WR/BW MUSTANG folder). And during May, being National Photograph Month, you might celebrate by clicking on the following links to view some of my photographs, each illustrating a post (a few are contributed items, however): &  &

     May 1 has some interesting celebrations and events associated with it. Of course, it’s May Day (“Lei Day” in Hawaii), celebrated globally with many spring flowers, honors spring and the coming summer. By this date, in Southwestern Pennsylvania, the trillium, daffodils and tulips have almost all given way to coming lilacs and Mountain Laurel. My lilacs, brought back from Lamoine, Maine, are still too small to produce flowers. Were these lilacs originally brought to the United States in 1790s, when the French settlers arrived with Madame Rosalie de la Val and Jean Jacques de la Roche?

     President George W. Bush issued a presidential proclamation on April 30, 2003, which created and defined Loyalty Day as an annual event, providing an opportunity to express the citizen’s loyalty to the United States by reaffirming our allegiance to our nation and resolving to uphold the vision of our forefathers.

     Numerous special events occurred on May 1. In 1945, the Batman comic book debuted. Politically, in 1945, Paul Josef Goebbels, Nazi minister of propaganda, killed his family and commit suicide (click on THE HOLOCAUST STORY OF A TEENAGE VICTIM (Part 1) (of six parts).

     It was also a day for baseball fans. In 1991 on this day, Nolan Ryan, whose name inspired the name of my son, Nolan, pitched his seventh career no-hitter in a game against Toronto. In 1920, the longest baseball game, by innings, occurred between the Brooklyn Robins and the Boston Braves. It included twenty-six innings, and lasted three hours, fifty minutes. (to read a baseball story, click on: PINCH HITTING  )

     Parents celebrate Baby Day on May 2, a time to reflect on the miracle of birth and life in all forms. For me, it reminds me to look forward to May 17, when our officially adopted daughter Sandy, was born, and May 23, when my unofficially adopted daughter, Kathleen, was born.

     This day will be busy for me, since it is also Brothers and Sisters Day. And I am among the many broken families, from past and present, which have tentacles in all directions. My parents, divorced when I was four, had two children, my older sister and myself, who shared childhood experiences. When I was eleven, my mother began a second family with my stepfather—who brought four of his children into the picture, although they never lived with us. Together, five more siblings—three girls, two boys—were added to the family, and suddenly, I had ten siblings. Meanwhile, my father remarried, and added four boys and one girl to the picture, and the count increased to fifteen. I met four of them when I was in my early thirties. Two of the fifteen are no longer with us, one stepbrother having died in Viet Nam, and a paternal half-brother who perished in an automobile accident. Fifteen minus two is thirteen, which will make this day a busy one for me. My husband’s family is more traditional—while I am third oldest in my sibling clan, he is the youngest of ten children all born in the same family unit. However, only three are living, so his day will be much easier than mine. And, oh, I forgot to mention that several persons throughout the years have adopted me as a sister. What I need to do is divide my siblings in half, and celebrate half of them on May 18m Visit Your Relatives Day.

     Do you have a good rug? Ours have always been good, even if some of them are oval-braided cabin-style, used rugs. What we do not have is lumps under them, unless the “rugrats” are visiting, and enjoying a game of hide-and-seek. Under the rug is a good hiding place until someone steps on the lump. Ouch! So celebrate Lumpy Rug Day on May 3.

     One of my semi-professional careers is as a photo-journalist, so I appreciate World Press Freedom Day, created and sponsored by the United Nations in 1993. It celebrates the freedom of the press and freedom of expression in the United States and globally, freedoms not available in many countries. An annual prize, the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, is awarded by UNESCO to someone who has made a major contribution towards journalistic freedom. This day recognizes the value of freedom of expression, and the sacrifices made by many journalists to attain this freedom. However, I would like to see more credit given to freelancers, who sit on the bottom rung of the newspaper ladder and often get no respect.

     May 4, Bird Day, is still too early to put summer bird feeders out, since the bears are still destroying them. (BEAR CONFRONTATIONS: SAFETY PRECAUTIONS  & BEAR STORIES ACROSS THE NATION &

BEAR CARNIVAL IN CONNELLSVILLE, PA.) However, summer doesn’t deter squirrel threats to bird feeders (Battling squirrels at bird feeders I: to fight or join them , Battling squirrels at bird feeders II: to fight or join them , & Battling Squirrels at Bird Feeders III: Types of bird feeders). Bird Day is the oldest of the bird recognition days, first observed on May 4, 1894. A Southwestern Pennsylvanian, Charles Almanzo Babcock, of Oil City, started it. This and Arbor Day events focus upon conservation training and awareness.

    Every morning, when we awaken, we are in a state of renewal, a day of new beginnings. I’m reminded of the Girl Scout song, Make New Friends, Keep the Old, One is Silver and the Other is Gold. Invigorating the old, being open to the new. This could happen in marriages, families, all walks of life. Renewal Day, May 4, provides us with an opportunity to revitalize many aspects of our lives.

     Ever since my husband went to Mexico, he’s been enthusiastic about Cinco de Mayo Day, celebrating a Mexican battle. May 5 is also Oyster Day, a day to celebrate the shellfish that is the source of the pearl, a surprise given by some shellfish. Even though I am a New Englander, where oysters proliferate, Seattle, Washington is recognized as the “Oyster Capital of the World.” Perhaps, if you eat enough oysters, you will find a pearl to present to your favorite teacher on this day, which is also National Teachers Day.

     I attempt to keep some of the original soda pop, Moxie, so that my houseguests unfamiliar with it can sample a sip. (MOXIE: LOVE IT or HATE IT). Moxie is something people either love or hate. I must remember to have a sampling party on May 6, Beverage Day. Since most persons are not in an area where Moxie is accessible,  they should pour a beverage of their favorite beverage, and sit back in a comfortable chair with a good book, and enjoy a respite time.

     Tourism is a big industry, and the Laurel Highlands area in Southwestern Pennsylvania is encouraging persons to visit the area’s marvelous sites—Fort Ligonier, the Compass Inn, the Frank Lloyd Wright houses (Falling Water and Kentuck Knob), the Flight 93 Memorial Site, Flight 93 Memorial Chapel, the Quecreek Mine site—and the many state parks—among them. So if you are planning a vacation, this area is a rich place to visit, or make the plans for your visit on National Tourist Appreciation Day, May 6.

      Many persons, like myself, have needed the services of the medical profession—in offices and in hospitals. I’ve had seven hospital stays, and the nurses have been great each time. Only once did I run into gorilla nurse. So on National Nurses Day, which is also School Nurses Day, remember those nurses who have made your life easier.

     Are you envious of the thin bodies models and some persons have but frustrated with dieting? Then International No Diet Day, May 6, is for you. It’s a day when you are encouraged to appreciate the body you do have, with all its curves and quirks. This day might be considered a backlash against being lemmings that chase society’s goal of the “perfect body,” a perfection which, on this day and all days, should include the uniqueness that is you. However, do not abandon a diet meant for your particular medical needs, even though you would love to eat that jelly doughnut or that huge steak. Your body is your temple, and you must take care of it. A proper diet, combined with exercise, is the best way to do this. This day was created in 1992 by Mary Evans Young, director of the British group, Diet Breakers. A former anorexic, she wanted people to appreciate themselves as they are.

     On May 8, give your love an iris instead of a rose. It’s Iris Day. For me, I am reminded of my niece’s daughter, who, although not born on this day, is named Iris. She was born 7/7/07. The iris blooms are spiritually important in Japan, where it is claimed they ward off evil spirits and prevent illness. On May 6, the Japanese add iris leaves in their bath, and they drink juice from the iris plant in their Sake to ensure longevity.

     In 1997, Lockheed Martin Corporation created Space Day, meant to motivate American students in the study math and science. John Glenn, former astronaut and Senator, expanded Space Day to International Space Day in 2001. In 2009 it will be celebrated May 7, and will focus on creating an interest in all aspects of space.

     The military organization is a necessary evil in our society. Each Friday before Mother’s Day is set aside as Military Spouses Day. Honor these women (or men) in your social circle this day, which falls on May 3 this year.

       Summer is coming. Feet are tethered only to sandals and flip flops. Your feet are freed from the confines of boots, shoes and socks. On May 8, you can celebrate No Socks Day. Enjoy! Enjoy it more by reading SOCKATORY and  THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING SOCKS

      On May 2, 1945, the German Army ceased fighting. Its formal surrender occurred on May 7, and all German forces surrendered on May 8. To celebrate the end of World War II, the Allied countries planned a celebration on May 9, but changed Victory in Europe Day to May 8 after journalists discovered the plans. May 8 is also World Red Cross/World Red Crescent Day, founded on the birthday of Henry Dunant, founder of the Red Cross in 1922. It honors the “Worldwide efforts to advocate for the relief of human suffering, whether from disease, famine, disaster, or war. On May 8, the American Red Cross puts special focus on our programs that keep children healthy and safe around the globe,” according to the Red Cross website. Global weather and war tragedies have kept the Red Cross mighty busy this year, so honor them with volunteerism and/or financial support. The first Red Crescent day occurred in 1922, when the Czechoslovakia Red Cross National Society proclaimed a three-day truce at Easter to promote peace.

      On Easter I photographed an adoption reunion. In the past, my husband and I have fostered four unwed mothers who gave up their child for adoption. I have two daughters, one officially adopted and one unofficially adopted. I also have a nephew who was adopted. So my heart is involved on Birth Mother’s Day, May 9 this year, but always the day before Mother’s Day. This day, created by bio-moms in Seattle, Washington in 1990, recognizes the bio-mom in the adoption triad, and was established by birth mothers who want to educate, remember and cope. The day is controversial, since some bio-moms prefer to be remembered on Mother’s Day. 

      May 9 also honors the missing socks. On Lost Sock Memorial Day you can feel justified in memorializing those lost socks. What can you do with the remaining socks? Read SOCKATORY to find out. Otherwise, pair them off and wear mismatched socks. Whatever you do, do not throw them away. Make sock puppets. Cut the tops off, sew them together, stuff them and make worms. Stuff the tops, sew together, and make a quilt. Use them for cleaning rags. Immediately, the missing sock will appear, to become a lonely sock needing the same treatment as the socks that remain after its mate is lost. And read or reread SOCKATORY.

     Clean up your room! It’s May 10, Clean Up Your Room Day. I once entered a messiest room contest and was disappointed that I didn’t win! The prize was rich, and with it I could ask the cleanaholics if  THEY had ever won that much with their clean house!

To read Part 2 of May Celebrations click on May celebrations: Part II .


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