The faint sound of my neighbor's lawn mower buzzed bringing with it the scent of freshly mowed grass drifted through the open window. I stretched my arm under the silky cool of my pillow arching my back into the new day and smiled. Sun streamed through the wooden slats of my window blinds. A gentle breeze stirred the pages of the book tossed casually on the bed stand. I sat up energized.
It's Saturday, May Day and Derby Day rolled into one. A vernal trifecta!
Hurry into my jeans and a long sleeve white tee. Race through my morning toilette. Brush my hair quickly. Grab a cardigan and twirl a lime green pashmina around my neck just in case the chill hadn't quite worn off. Open the front door to this glorious day. Pop the house key in my pocket. And head joyfully down the granite steps, water bottle and Bailey in hand.
This morning in my lovely Maine village near the sea is lemon-sweet perfection. A hint of warmth in the dewy air. Filtered sun streaks the newly green lawns in my neighborhood. The skies cloudless. Robin's egg blue. True spring weather. Real spring. The springs of my Kentucky. My childhood.
Wow. It hits me. Today is stunning. One of those gorgeous mornings you can bottle. Sell on eBay in January. My next door neighbor is pruning back her rose bushes reattaching the vines to the trellis. Ah, roses. Today is Derby Day! Three year old thoroughbreds racing for a blanket of roses. And the first jewel in the triple crown.
Back to reality. My stroll with Bailey. Sidewalks are busy. Alive with families pushing strollers. Toddlers in tow. Winter weary hibernators peeking out for a bit of verdance and warmth. Heading into town.
Wooden poles ten feet high appeared overnight on the grassy lawn of the park nearby. Four of them. Each festooned with long satin pastel ribbons. A bouquet of colorful freshly picked blooms crowning each. Young girls in ballet shoes, white tights and flowing dresses gracefully weave the strands to the strains of Celtic music from a nearby boom box. Braided homages to nature. Wind. Waves. Earth. Fire.
This is what I love. Spring rituals. At Kentucky Home. My childhood school in the rolling bluegrass we celebrated May Day every year. You remember. Where Chesney and Edwina and Laurie and Jane and I joined our classmates in smocked pastel dresses, white anklets and Capezio mary janes fastened with buttons. Fresh cut flower ... tulips, rosebuds, daisies, iris, lilacs ... garlands circling our heads. Our long curls flying as we wove intricate patterns with the satin ribbons. Ritual dancing by each class from kindergarten all the way to the eleventh grades honoring our elected May Queen and her court of attendants in long white gowns with pale blue sashes.
The girls of May, the seniors, waiting not so patiently for the festivities to end so they could quickly change into Lilly sundresses and Pappagallo flats and scurry out to Churchill Downs for an afternoon of horse racing. Long legged fillies to the track. A cherished tradition coveted as we rose through the ranks from Lower to Upper School.
Back at home I scurry around doing odd chores until the NBC telecast of Derby festivities from Churchill Downs. Winsome. Nostalgic. The 136th Run for the Roses. The phone rings. My darling friend from Louisville is bringing a bit of bluegrass and mint into my living room. I relax into our conversation. A knock at my door. A dozen long stem red roses amid eucalyptus and baby's breath. My very own winner's blanket!
Cheers to my old Kentucky home far away!