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The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Remembering May 1 as 'May Day'

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  • When I was younger, my late parents would tell me about the traditional observances they celebrated in their youth. May 1 was known as "May Day." Various European cultures celebrate it in various ways and its origins date back to antiquity. In North America, and specifically in Kansas: my parents when they were kids spoke about "dancing around the maypole" as a "Dance into May, or Springtime". My late mother and her twin-sister would help prepare May baskets filled with food or treats, which were left at peoples' front door's porch steps. They would knock at the door and run away and flee. It was meant to be anonymous kindness. If the 'givers' were caught by the recipient: a kiss was exchanged. I am not certain if my mom or my aunt were "caugh"' by anyone. But, they had a good time bestowing good deeds which in today's language would be called "Acts of random kindness".
    "May Day" was also originally an informal workers' holiday — similar to Labor Day, but not quite. It was a date to cherish hard work and the fruits of one's labor. Gradually, it evolved into May 1 being also known as "Law Day." This is a day to appreciate our judicial system from our Constitution to our Judges to the policemen and sheriffs on patrol who protect our public-safety and serve faithfully to enforce our Rule of Law.
    On May 1, 1977, my dear grandmother Dora (White) Marples died at St. Francis Hospital in Wichita — the same hospital where I was born at. It was then (and still remains) the saddest day of my life. I was only 13, but I remember the grief well. Her father George White was a dedicated Thirty-third Degree Scottish Rite Mason and also a Knight Templar York Rite Mason. My grandma lived to see me join the boys' group, the Order of DeMolay for Boys; but she didn't live to see me join the full-fledged adult Masonic Fraternity itself. However, on May 1, 1982 {five years after her death, to the day}, at age 18 I became a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason in "The 3-day Law Enforcement Appreciation Class." It is hard to believe that I have been a 32nd degree Mason for some 32 years.
    — James A. Marples, Esbon.

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