Friday, February 6, 2009
In the spring of my sixth year, my first grade class began spending recess learning to do the "May Pole Dance". A beautiful ritual of Spring that involves skipping with brightly colored ribbons streaming from the top of a flower crowned pole. Weaving in and out with carefree precision to create a festive braid around the pole.
The dance was to be performed on a stage for our families to see. The girls would wear beautiful flouncie yellow dresses and flowers in their hair. I didn't have a yellow dress, because red haired girls could not wear yellow or any color which would "clash" with their "Titian" locks. So my Mother borrowed one from my cousin so I could have the right ensemble for the festivities.
We practiced the dance at school every day for weeks, until everything was just perfect, and we could make the braid around the pole without a single imperfection. But as seemed to frequently happen in the Minnesota springs with the drastic changes in temperature, I became ill. I managed to come down with bronchitis and/or pneumonia every year from the time I was three, until I was in my twenties. On May first I was very ill, running a high fever, and too sick to go to school. Could anything be worse? I begged to go "Just until after the dance... please!" But my Mother assured me that it would be foolish to take such a chance, both with my health and the health of my classmates. I cried myself back to sleep.
Later, when I woke again, fuzzy minded from fever, I saw something on my bedside table. A small basket woven out of beautiful paper. In it were a few flowers tied with ribbon and some small wrapped candies. As I stared at it wondering where it had come from, my Mother came up the staircase. She kneeled by my bed and felt my forehead and handed me a glass of water. I pointed at the pretty basket and asked what it was. She said "I don't know, where did it come from?" I said I didn't know, so she picked it up and drew a tiny note from the basket. "It says, sorry you missed the dance, and it is signed - The May Faerie" said Momma.
The next few years were followed by more missed may pole dances due to illness, and more missed chances to wear those fluffy yellow dresses. In fact, I cannot remember if I ever did get to wind those colored ribbons around the celebrated pole. What I do remember, and always will, is the gift my Mother gave me that glorious May Day... the belief that faeries do exist.
Posted by Gypsy Trading Company at 8:39 AM