Now things will really start rolling.

We may feel as if we are stuck in an endless, rainy April, but once that sun comes out, it’s all downhill to summer.

The daffodils and crocuses are sprouting. Robins are perching on fences. Lawns are greening, and we’re raking up a storm.

It may be cliche, but April showers do bring May flowers. In short order, we’ll be preparing the vegetable gardens for planting.

Since our house faces north, it took forever for the snow to melt on the front lawn, where piles of dirty snow from all the times I raked the roof lay until last week.

Spring storms left several inches of snow on the roof, and, fearing its collapse, I roof-raked until my fingers froze and shoulders sagged.

It may be raining now, but take heart: May is just a breath away.

We’ll be seeing tulips pop and May flowers burst. Morning sun will bring us cheer.

It is also May basket time.

When we were kids, May 1 was a much anticipated date. We hiked to the candy store and bought as many lollipops, mint juleps, squirrel nuts, hot balls and root beer barrels as we could with the pennies we pooled.

We decorated a shoe box with colored crepe paper, filled it with candy and, at dusk, marched to the neighbor’s house.

Creeping up the driveway, we claimed our hiding places, lay the basket on the front step, rapped on the door and yelled, with all our collective might, “May Basket!”

Our friends, barefoot and in pajamas, would open the door, charge out of the house and begin the chase. We scrambled to hide behind trees and cars; we crouched down and tried not to breathe.

We all knew the protocol when it came to May baskets — they had to catch us before we could partake of the loot.

There was a lot of running, screeching, tripping and tumbling in the dark before they managed to subdue us, and then we all collapsed on the lawn and dived into the basket, consuming candy until we were comatose.

Not much sleep was had on a May basket night from all the activity and sugar consumption, but it made for great stories on the school bus the next day.

As we got older, we continued to hang May baskets, albeit with fewer sugary treats and more adult fare such as flowers, bread, cheese, wine and chocolate, of course.

As May begins to wind down to June, there will be graduations and parties and celebrations to look forward to, and then Memorial Day.

With the holiday, we’ll pick lilacs and head to the greenhouse to buy geraniums to place on family graves.

The holiday also promises a swim in the lake, or a boat ride. My father’s annual warning to us when we were young still rings in my head: stay away from the water until the end of May.

Shortly, school will be out for the summer, promising endless days of freedom, fresh air and fun.

April can be daunting, yes, but May brings the promise of sun and a new season of hope.

Kind of like a blank canvas, waiting for a splash of color.

It’s all ours, to indulge and embrace.


Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 31 years. Her columns appear here Mondays. She may be reached at [email protected]. For previous Reporting Aside columns, go to

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