May Day redux

There were a couple of things I neglected to mention on May 1.

First, I didn't mention a couple of other identities the day has. There was a bit of doggerel in Another Almanac of Words at Play (entry for 1 May, of course) alleged to be an English folk saying:

Hurray, hurray! the first of May!

Hedgerow tupping begins today!

Or to put it another way, as Vardibidian noted, it's "the beginning of the Outdoor Sex season."

It's also, as various people have noted, Loyalty Day in the US. I was going to say more about this (including noting that the holiday was started in the '30s and passed into US law in 1958, so this isn't a recent development), but Vardibidian has a very nice discussion comparing Loyalty Day speeches by Clinton and GWB, so I'll just be lazy and point y'all to that.

The other thing I neglected to mention was a Beltane memory. I'm not entirely sure it was Beltane, actually, but it seems plausible that it was, so I'll say it was. [Added a couple of years later: others have confirmed that it was indeed Beltane 1992.] It was 1992, a little under a year since I'd moved back to California after college and Clarion West, and my longtime friend Sarah had recently introduced me to her college friend Kristen, whom I liked an awful lot. Well, okay, I'll be honest: whom I had a big crush on.

But Kristen was moving away soon—I think she was preparing to move to Boston, but she could've been preparing for any of half a dozen other long travels. Alaska or Central America, maybe? I'm not sure.

Kristen let Sarah and me know that she and a few friends were going to build a fire and spend the night on the beach, and asked if we wanted to come along. We were interested in going to the beach, but not in spending all night there. Sarah didn't drive in those days, and I didn't have a car; I was commuting by bus to Apple, where I was doing contract QA work on A/UX ("Apple's best-kept secret"; their first version of UNIX, which was pretty much a flop). K said we could borrow her car to come home that night, and she would get a ride home with someone else in the morning. I was a little surprised by the offer, as she and I didn't know each other all that well yet, but eventually Sarah and I accepted.

K brought some wooden shipping pallets along to burn. I carried one down to the beach with K's friend Charles, who I'd only recently met; I said I'd be fine walking backwards while carrying one end of it, that most of my experience carrying things had involved walking backwards, and he guessed (correctly), "Theatre tech, huh?" I haven't seen Charles in years; he had a couple of rough years in there (and the last time I spent much time with him was during Ananda's La Tierra roleplaying campaign), but I think last time I saw him he'd just gotten married.

[Added in 2017: I'm sorry to say that Charles died in 2010.]

Anyway. Beltane on the beach. K was there, and I think her friend Becky (whom I haven't seen in a very long time) and Becky's then-sweetie. And Charles, and Sarah, and me. And we burned the pallets, and sat on the beach, and talked, and laughed.

And at some point I found myself down by the water's edge, standing fairly near K, while the others sat by the fire behind us. And I, awkward and uncertain, told her that I was going to be sad to see her go, that I felt like I hadn't really gotten enough of a chance to get to know her. And she told me something like, "Don't worry, I don't let go of quality people." Comforting; I hadn't really been sure that she liked me 'til then.

Late that night, perhaps around 2 a.m., Sarah and I got in K's car and had a long harrowing drive over the coastal range and then down past Foothills Park along the incredibly twisty narrow road, with no streetlights. The adrenaline kept me awake.

Kristen goes by the name Kam now. She moved away for a while, and then back for a while, and then to Oregon, and then back again, and now she's living in Santa Cruz part-time. But the connection's remained, over years and miles. We don't have an Anniversary per se; but because of that night on the beach, Beltane makes me think of her. I'm very happy to still have her in my life.

6 Responses to “May Day redux”

  1. Mary Anne

    You are just unfailingly cute, aren’t you? 🙂

    Give Kam a smooch from me…

  2. Mel Melcer

    So sweet… May 4 is when my hubby and I first kissed… Oh, I’m getting all romantic! It’s your fault!


  3. Melissa Binde

    Thanks for sharing. Very sweet story. :).

  4. Will Quale

    That’s beautiful. Thanks 🙂 (I’d often wondered who Kam was and when you met, when she comes up in your journal or SWAPAe, but never gotten around to asking.)

    I have a great many fondnesses for the Maytide, as many friendship related as morris-.

  5. Nao

    That *is* beautiful. (I know, I’m just saying “me, too”, but what else can I say?)

    May Day is just about my favorite holiday, and has been since my childhood (long before I ever heard of morris dancing).

    My mother and I used to make paper baskets, get up early on May Day, fill them with flowers we’d picked, and then hang the baskets on friends’ doorknobs. Anonymously, of course. In high school, I used to tape them to my friends’ lockers. Much fun.

    Add in morris dancing and the arrival of spring (though here in NC it’s more like the arrival of summer. Ugh.) and the holiday’s even better. Though dancing at dawn unfortunately precluded the May baskets (before our local Morris team fell apart, anyway).

  6. Cj

    Ok. That clears things up a bit. And I must admit, my brain is a bit swiss-cheesy. Holes! Holes! Holes in brain! If I am very careful sometimes I can creep around the holes and look down without falling in, but usually it is better if I leave certain memories alone.


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