The coming round of the 1st of May brings a list of anniversaries.
As a young boy of six or seven (c. 1968), it wasn’t uncommon in my small rural town for May Day cards/baskets to be given. By either gender to either gender. I cannot remember the details, but for some reason I got upset with my neighbour and classmate Craig on that day. Whether it was because I gave him a basket and he didn’t give me one, I don’t recall, but it made me angry enough to swear at him. He didn’t like that and promptly put me to the ground and made me submit and take it back. He let me up, and I swore at him again and began running. He ran after me, caught me, and repeated the process. After letting me up, I swore at him a third time and ran away. Only to be caught again and thrown to the ground and made to submit and take it back.
Thirty-One years ago (1983) I took Tammy up to Hendricks Park in Eugene. We parked the car, admired the rhododendrons in full bloom, and then I presented a May Day basket to her. Yes, she accepted it, and No, I didn’t swear at her! This May Day basket had monster cookies, two bottles of sparkling apple cider, a chocolate bar or two, and….hidden under the monster cookies a small box with an engagement ring. Tammy ooohed and aaahed over the basket, and I had to nudge her to look around the basket. She found the ring, and that day, we publicly announced our intention to marry later that year (having proposed to her 3 months earlier after only dating a month).
On that same day, we also celebrated a new birth. Nine months before we were married. That morning, during the worship services with our University Street Christian Church family, our friend Dick baptized us into Christ. Both of us in the baptistry together. Paul, writing to some early followers of Jesus says that ‘if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things have passed away and the new has come.’ We were immersed into the water, brought back up, and as Paul also writes to followers of Jesus in the capital of the Roman empire, since we “have been buried with Him through baptism into death, and just as Christ was raised from the dead, we too have been raised to walk in a new life.’
One more anniversary to recount. Today is two years since the death of Tam’s dad, Marvin. He passed away 10 days after my mother’s unexpected death. We spent a number of days with him in hospice during the month of April as the number of his days on this earth dwindled. These were good days of stories and remembering and grace and truth. We were not with him at the last; having spent the weekend travelling from Oregon to Minnesota for my mum’s funeral we then made our return trip to Oregon and then to England, arriving back in the UK on 1 May. Marvin flew away to meet God as we were over the Atlantic. It’s a sad but not unhappy memory, those days.
The header of this blog features Tam’s dad’s military memorabilia, including his army identity photo and dogtags, a tribute to him and to his daughter whom I love deeply and without reservation.
Happy May Day friends. Don’t swear at someone if they don’t give you a May Day basket like you had hoped or expected. Especially not three times; it will not end well. Enjoy the longer days which we are experiencing, and the green and newness of life. Know that the Author of life wants to give life, and give it abundantly. And Tammy, know that I love you and treasure you and always have a treat in the basket for you.