May has always been one of my favorite months. When I was a child, I loved it because May started with my birthday celebration and ended with the last day of school. (I know some children actually liked going to school, but I was never one of them. I can still remember the pure joy of walking home on that last day of the school year, knowing that I had almost three months of glorious freedom before I had to go back.) These days, I don’t greet my birthdays with quite the same enthusiasm and it’s been decades since I graduated from school, but I still think May has an awful lot going for it.
In May, it’s usually warm enough to enjoy being outside, even if I sometimes need a sweater or light jacket. It’s when I plant the flowers that brighten my yard, and almost always the month when my azalea bushes bloom. I love eating dinner outside, either at a restaurant or on our own patio, because this time of year the insect population hasn’t yet exploded and it’s possible to enjoy a good meal with out fending off hungry flies or blood-thirsty mosquitoes. (And if you’re ever making the argument that even Mother Nature makes the occasional mistake, just bring up mosquitoes.)
Early May also brings Mother’s Day gatherings and, for racing fans, the Kentucky Derby, which I traditionally celebrate with a small party and home-made mint juleps. I didn’t really intend to start an annual Derby party tradition when I threw the first one all those years ago for some church friends, but the following year the church secretary called and wanted to know the start time of this year’s Derby party so she could include it in the church newsletter. And let’s face it, once an event is in the church newsletter, it’s going to happen, so you may as well just go along with it.
This year May was a little different, since I was on my beloved Sanibel Island for both my birthday and the Kentucky Derby, spending a quiet week with family. But it was still a very good month. My granddaughter turned one, and few things are better than celebrating your very first granddaughter’s very first birthday. I was also able to host a small backyard family gathering in honor of my sister-in-law’s recent marriage, and to attend a barbeque with good friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen since the pandemic started. One way or another, this year’s May brought many happy moments, which were all the sweeter because last year’s was basically a washout.
But now May is drawing to a close, and that means one thing and one thing only: Summer has arrived. Yes, I know that the calendar says Summer doesn’t arrive until late June, and that those who live in the southern hemisphere are actually approaching Winter. But I firmly believe that when Memorial Day ends, Summer begins. And I’m ready for it: bring on the picnics, the open swimming pools, the temperatures that allow me to go barefoot outdoors, the long days and short nights. Bring it all! All of it, that is, except for the mosquitoes. Those nasty little things can stay far, far away…..