May Days

May Day was on a Saturday this year.

The weekend sort of started on Thursday, with a special practice of Wild Blue Morris. We’d been meeting Wednesdays but a couple of members had Wednesday conflicts, so to accommodate them and to file a few more rough edges off our new dance, “Haste to the Wedding”, we had a Thursday practice this week at the Thornden Park amphitheatre.

Friday night was the May Eve potluck and Maypole cutting at our house. Back in the old days the Thornden women, most of them anyway, used to sleep over at Kate’s house, for certain values of “sleep”. These days they all go home by 9 pm to turn in early. Ah, age.

Up at 4 am on Saturday. Heather too; she’d missed the last few May Days in favor of working, but this year she came along on the tour and even joined in a couple of mass dances. Kenny was with us too of course. When I first checked the thermometer that morning it was 62F, so no worries about being too cold — especially since it wasn’t as windy on the top of the hill as it often is. Rain was in the forecast but not until later, and in fact it held off until after we were done dancing for the day.

This year I had an additional mission up on the hill. I’ve been participating in May Day nearly every year since 1987 but never noticed (or at least didn’t remember) the USCGS bench mark in the center of the grass circle at the top of the hill. Having lately gotten into the inexplicable pastime of seeking out bench marks, I’d learned of this one’s existence and was ready to collect it. It’s easy to miss, being flush with the ground and surrounded by grass — although Kenny found it without knowing about it in advance. I’d actually set eyes on it the day before but on May Day I had a camera along and took a picture.


I also looked for the associated reference marks but one seemed gone without a trace and the other gone with a hole in the concrete left behind.

Besides Thornden and Wild Blue Morris, there were the Bassett Street Hounds, Ribbonsteel Rapper, Heartwood Morris, Snowbelt Morris, and a few members of Mosh Pit Morris who were in kit but didn’t perform. Wild Blue did two dances on the hill, the “Evesham” stick dance and our new “Haste to the Wedding”, and I think they both went very well.


Fred played the latter on his new concertina, and I do mean new: it’d just been built by the Button Box and had arrived at his door the day before.

I also played for Thornden for the first time in a while, Maria having talked me into backing her up on Ducklington “Jockey”.


Afterward Fred and I chatted with a woman who expressed interest in doing morris. So we exchanged names and contact info, and then she mentioned she was a school teacher whose contract was up this year. The New School has a teacher position opening up, so I told her I’d pass her info on to Tamara. Who knows, maybe we’ll get a new dancer and a new New School teacher.

Nice breakfast afterward at Nancy’s — I made Bananas Escuela again. (I’d been trying to figure out how to handle tracking my food intake over the weekend’s two pot lucks and three restaurant meals, and finally decided simply to not do so. Now I’m up a couple of pounds, but that’s okay.) Then we went and danced at Onondaga Lake Park and the Baldwinsville Library. I got into Griffin’s Corners kit at the latter and did “Black Joke” with Maria playing. Lately GCM seems to be doing one dance a year, on May Day, if even that. It’s fun to cut loose with a big, vertical, energetic style, though. Lunch was at the Edgewater Grill.

Then it was home to nap.

Dinner was takeout from Erawan at Maria’s house, and we got out instruments and played and sang until suddenly the sky opened up. Mark, ex street musician, just went on playing his guitar and singing while the rest of us scrambled to get instruments and food and selves under cover. It was time to put Kenny to bed anyway, so we went home then.

Sunday I drove to Cortland, stopping at 10:58 am in Tully to get a few 11:00 am photos for the Moment In Time project. I knew of these dilapidated farm buildings and thought they’d make a nice subject; I picked one and took three or four shots of it. Then I took one of the building across the road, as well as a couple more of a third building and a utility pole. Later when I looked at the photos I decided the across the road building picture was the best, and I submitted that.


I also made a diversion in Cortland to nab another bench mark.

Wild Blue and Heartwood started dancing a little after noon at the Unitarian Church. We did two dances there and then started processing to Courthouse Park — and on the way I went off the edge of the sidewalk and twisted an ankle rather badly. So I was out of commission for the rest of the dancing. Fortunately we still had enough dancers to perform. And I was not too injured to hobble off to the other end of the park and log a geocache there.

We had Tex-Mex lunch at Garcia’s, which was okay (though I’ve had better), and then went on home. I spent the rest of the day with laptop, ice packs, and Ibuprofin. It was a good weekend aside from the ankle thing.


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