The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Maydays In The John Hayes Hollow

By George C. Parker © 1988

Issue: May, 1988

I remember the last part of the long winter in the John Hayes Hollow; when Mama would help us survive until spring.

She would say, "I know it's cold and it's hard to get going, but May will soon be here." How we looked forward to March. The March winds would offer a lot of fun flying our home made kites and on towards the last of the month the warm wind would melt the last of the winter snow and dry up the mud. Then the first flowers of spring would start popping through (Daffodils). We called them butter cups or March Flowers.

April always started off with a few laughs on April Fool's Day. We enjoyed playing tricks on Mama. Mama enjoyed playing April Fool tricks on us. We always started our spring plowing and planting in April.

May was a very special month; the very first day of May offered such excitement it is hard to describe. May 1st was the day you could get up early in the morning, (had to be the first one up), tell no one of your intent, walk to the nearest rye field, wash your face in the dew from the rye and your freckles would all come off! May 1st was the day when you could steal a piece of fat back from the cupboard, rub it on all your warts, take it to the barnyard and bury it under a nice flat rock (tell no one) and never look back and all your warts would come off! The first of May was special because it was Mama and Daddy's birthday. We sometimes surprised them with big birthday dinners inviting family and friends who brought in enough food until Daddy would have to build a table out in the yard. We would eat and visit and play and eat and talk and have fun all day long. May 1st was also the day we planted watermelon and peanuts, two of our favorite edibles.

May the first was special for one more reason that was high above all the others that I have mentioned; winter was over. The ground was warm and the grass was green and we knew that unless it was raining, this was the day that would end the blisters on our feet from wearing worn–out socks. This was the day we could get rid of the torture of tacks coming up through the heel of our shoes eating into our flesh, because this was the day we could pull off our shoes and socks and hit the dirt running barefooted. Man it was a good feeling to run around the yard and through the grass on bare feet and that's the way it was growing up in the John Hayes Hollow.