“TRA LA, IT’S MAY, IT’S MAY ….”

Tra la, it’s May, the lusty Month of May
That lovely month when everyone goes blissfully astray
Tra la, it’s here, that shocking time of year
When tons of wicked little thoughts merrily appear
It’s May, It’s May, that gorgeous holiday
When every maiden prays that her lad will be a cad
It’s mad, it’s gay, alive, a lust display
Those dreary vows that everyone takes, everyone breaks
Everyone makes divine mistakes
The Lusty Month of May
Whence this fragrance wafting through the air?
What sweet feelings does it’s scent transmute?
Whence this perfume floating everywhere?
Don’t you know, it’s that dear forbidden fruit
It’s May, the lusty month of May
That darling month when everyone throws self-control away
It’s time to do a wretched thing or two
And try to make each precious day one you’ll always rue
It’s May, it’s May, the month of “Yes, you may”
The time for every frivolous whim, proper or im-
It’s wild, it’s gay, depraved in every way
The birds and bees with all of their vast amorous past
Gaze at the human race aghast
The Lusty Month of May
Tra la, it’s May, the lusty Month of May
That lovely month when everyone goes blissfully astray
Tra la, it’s here, that shocking time of year
When tons of wicked little thoughts merrily appear
It’s May, it’s may, the month of great dismay
when all the world is brimming with fun, wholesome or un-
It’s mad, it’s gay, alive a lust display
Those dreary vows that everyone takes, everyone breaks
Everyone makes divine mistakes
The Lusty Month of May
          – Songwriters: Alan Jay Lerner / Frederick Loewe
I love May!!  It is a fun month. Tra la.  Here, “May Day” is France’s Labor Day – La Fête du Travail.   It is a public holiday to campaign for and celebrate workers rights. It is also an occasion to present lily-of-the-valley (Muguet) and/or dog rose flowers to loved ones – La Fête du Muguet.  I got one from my French teacher at my lesson on Monday.  Isn’t it pretty?

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This is a ‘dog rose flower”.  I am not sure that I am familiar with dog rose flowers.  This photograph looks like rose “dogwood” to me. Maybe that is what it is.  Except the bouquets I saw just looked like small roses. 

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This custom is particularly common in the area around Paris known as Île-de-France. So I am told, families with children in country areas get up early in the morning and go into the woods to pick the flowers.  Individuals, grocery stores, florists, flower markets, labor organizations – all sell bouquets of lily of the valley (muguet) on the street.  Apparently, there are special regulations that allow people and some organizations to sell these flowers on May 1 without paying tax or complying with retail regulations.  

IMG_2723IMG_2724Trade unions and other organizations organise parades and demonstrations to campaign for workers rights. People may also use these events to campaign for human rights in general, to demonstrate against racism or highlight current social issues.  Any of this sound familiar?  “France on extra high alert for May Day as protesters march against Le Pen”.  And, where was Le Pen?  “Le Pen used Nice — a French Riviera hub that boasts a diverse population — to forward her anti-immigration stance, saying it has ‘suffered from very strong pressure from migration that has partly changed the face’ of the city.”  Yep, home is the safest place for me to be on May Day 2018. I have courage and a sense of adventure, but that is not it.

unnamed-1My friend Kate, a woman of adventure and courage, told me that she had a lovely time at Rauba-Capeu on Tuesday.  When I asked her what that was, she explained that she attended a celebration for May Day made by the people of Nice on Rauba-Capeu where each person brings a fish for the pot, wears a homemade hat, and puts a wish under the skirt of Santa Cappellina, an effigy they put in the Sea.  Santa Cappellina (I think) is/was a saint in a virtual chapel that is a unit for families and youth where one enters to light a candle and to know the devotions and prayers of the day.  When I looked up “Rauba-Capeu”, I discovered that it is the name of the area where I walk in the mornings.  Who knew?  Apparently, a lot of people. Haha. I discovered that I walk at the foot of the Castle Hill, where the Promenade des Anglais becomes Quai des États-Unis along the old town, then Rauba-Capeu, which offers one of the finest vistas on the Mediterranean Sea and the beautiful blue and ochre nuances along Promenade des Anglais.  Witness my photos that I had taken that morning, during my walk. 

IMG_2679IMG_2678IMG_2683IMG_2701IMG_2689IMG_2704IMG-2687IMG-2703I like the idea of Santa Cappellina and going into a virtual chapel to light a candle and find out the devotions of the day.  My niece, Deb Prince Kroll posted something I and re-posting here because I like it.  “Imagine you walked onto a large open field at night when there was no moon. Standing there silently in the darkness were hundreds of people, each holding an unlit candle. Only you were carrying a candle that was burning, a single light alone. How quickly would the field be glowing once you used your candle to light others, and they used their candles to do the same, and all the people began sharing their light with those around them? How quickly? You may never know exactly, but you do know over time what the outcome will be: a field aglow in the darkness where people can see one another clearly. Your life matters. What you have started will carry on. You are a source of light. You help others in ways that will continue. You are a single candle, but you are stronger than the darkness.”  — Steven Charleston

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As always, the Marche des Fleurs took my breath away.  I bought a red geranium for my patio. Slowly but surely, I am decorating my outside room with color, bringing home a plant most days I walk. The plants are fresh, healthy, and affordable.  That works!

unnamedIMG_2735IMG_2722 Between you and me, life is Nice is interesting, even on the bad days.  Do I miss home in Los Angeles? Yes.  Do I miss my family and seeing my grandchildren grow up? Yes.  Do I miss theatre and restaurants and Mexican food and my friends, and ……  YES.  The answer is yes.  Many days, I have to pinch myself to remember that Steve is gone and I am in Nice, France.  I would love a good taco about now, with salsa and chips.  Hey, it’s Cinco de Maya!! And, I am in Nice, France!!  I am practicing law!!  My clients are U.S. expats in Nice or people, living in the U.S.  Whenever I need help, I associate an attorney in whatever state necessary to work with me.  As an active member of the California Bar, I am continuing to do what I love.  As my new best friend, Nietzsche, said, “All things are subject to interpretation. Whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.”  ― Friedrich Nietzsche.  A demain……

Best, Jay

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Published by jjaywmac

Jay W. MacIntosh (born Janet Tallulah Jewell) is a retired attorney, actress, and writer from the United States, living in Paris, France. She is a member of the California Bar and selected to the 2018, 2019, 2020 Southern California Super Lawyers list. She holds a Master’s Degree in Drama from the University of Georgia and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and Zodiac Scholastic Society. As an actress, she is a member of The Actors Studio, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS), SAG-AFTRA, and ASCAP, performing in film and television in the United States and France. Her published works include Journal of Janet Tallulah, Volume 1, Journal of Janet Tallulah, Volume 2, The Origins of George Bernard Shaw’s Life Force Philosophy, Moments in Time, Capturing Beauty, JAYSPEAK on the Côte d’Azur, and Janet Tallulah.

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