The Bumbastories Semi-Annual May Magazine

Welcome to the merry month of May! Happy Spring! Yes, these are the happy months, the wake-up-and-be-happy months of spring, the time of growth, of blossoms, and new beginnings. Here in Los Angeles we are finally reconciling ourselves to the fact that spring is here, because we’re still kinda waiting for winter to arrive, and that’s to say it barely rained. So, I ask you, how can you have spring if you didn’t have winter yet? Huh? Nevertheless, time marches on whether we like it or not. …..And speaking of marches, why don’t you ever hear of someone calling their son or daughter March? How about February as a first name? It just doesn’t happen. With almost no exceptions (except for a woman I once went out with in Brooklyn whose name was October Moskowitz) the months we use for names, the ones we apparently like to hear – and it’s a girl thing – are….that’s right, the spring months: April, May and June. What lovely names they be! The three nymphs/graces spring come to mind. Ah, spring is in the air! (And don’t say, like Groucho Marx in Horsefeathers, “I wish you’d spring in the air and jump in the lake”)

May I say a few more words about the word may? May I begin with a personal association

May-I is the name of a card game, a ten-card rummy game played with two decks of cards. My parents used to play May-I all the time with their good friends Irwin and Eva. They were always in the kitchen playing that game. Often you’d hear someone say “May I?”, as you needed to say May I? in order to pick a card. That’s why they call the game May-I! I learned to play May-I too, just by osmosis. I was a teen-ager by that time, and sometimes I would fill in for a hand or two. So I guess I served some purpose after all during the teen years. For some reason they all just delighted in that May-I game. However, the card game, the real game, that we played in our house was cribbage – which my father had learned in the Navy. When it comes to card games, cribbage, in my humble opinion, is a peg or two above the others!

May I continue? May I? Because, if I recall correctly, “May I?” was a key phrase in the classic children’s game of “Red Light, Green Light”. I must confess that even as a kid I thought “Red Light Green Light” was a stupid game.

Now, the name May, a variation on Maria, is a very pretty one, and pops up like, well, May flowers wherever you look. There’s the great Mae West.images Hurray for Mae West, who said “Is that a pickle in yer pocket, or are yer glad ta see me?” And then there’s the writer and comedienne Elaine May, the psychologist Rollo May, and Cape May North Carolina. There’s May Britt, Mai Zetterling, Seven Days in May, and images-1Chuck Berry’s Maybelline. “Oh Maybelline, why can’t cha be true?” Not to mention, the may fly, mayhem, and the May Pole ceremonies (which I never understood, but mention just for good measure)

Then there’s the Pilgrims’ ship the Mayflower, Mayflower Day, and May 1, May Day, (Workers of the World Unite!). And then of course, there’s Willie Mays, the Say Hey Kid. And guess what? Willie Mays birhtday is in May. Happy Birthday, Willie! I think that’s number 85 or 86 for the Giant great.images

There’s the five pointed star, the Pentagon, images-2gimme five, 5 card stud, images-1the circle of fifths in music, the fifth in the bottle, and Five Corners in the Bronx. And don’t forget, that Cinqo de Mayo is the fifth day of the fifth month, so, while we’re at it, let’s raise a glass to Cinqo de Mayo. 

May, being the fifth month leads us to another discussion of the number five. I’ve already talked about the number five a number of times. See the Numbers Game Category. Five is the most interesting and intriguing of the numbers – at least to me. Its symmetry is the most subtle. It is the framework, the nuts and bolts, of the DNA molecule. The five underlies the Golden Proportion, our sense of beauty. We can’t helimages-1p but like five-fold symmetry. It’s in our genes.

So here’s to the number 5! Hopefully (we have all of our five fingers crossed here at Bumbastories) Marina Kanavaki will design us some new 5-based designs for the month of May.

Musical interlude: A song that uses the word five: Five Hundred Miles to be exact. Maybank and Bumba finished a fifth of it (well, we sure were finished after that fifth) to get through this sappy, but popular folk classic. Sing along if you must.

Hey it’s May! Gimme Five!images