Happy May Day to one and all.
This is the first rainy day, in Falmouth, in a long time. The flowers on the Cape are soaking it up and blooming.
However, we at the Palmer House are not feeling the least bit overcast. This is an especially good day for us. It marks the nine year anniversary since I hung my first May basket on our fence in Eastport Maryland, then walked inside to prepare for the day. That was that day that I discovered that I had stage two breast cancer. I was told that I had a 60% chance of surviving the next five years.
After a period of disbelief, we set out to look the beast in the eye and beat it back. With the help of my wonderful devoted Bill, our daughters, and my very unselfish sister in addition to many fantastic friends, eleven months later I emerged with a 90% chance of survival. It took three surgeries, six months of chemo and six weeks of radiation. During that period Bill drove me to every appointment, therapy and treatment. He was there at the doctor’s offices taking notes and remembering what was said, when my mind was a blur. Our oldest daughter sent a big box of the cutest hats. Thinking about opening that box, still makes me smile. My sister and our other two daughters were in contact with each other and formed an agreement to coordinate their visits to Maryland. My sister is a teacher in Maine, so the school vacations dictated her visits. Our second daughter lived in England at the time but she flew home on several occasions. Our third daughter was living in San Diego and she also flew home to help out. She was with me when I had my last chemo treatment. The nurses gave me a mortarboard and played “Pomp and Circumstance”, then they took a photo of us for their bulletin board.
We had wonderful friends who would drop by with big bowls of home made custard and chicken soup. Eating became a problem and the soup and custard made eating easier. Some nights when Bill would come home, I would say, ” I am not interested in eating this evening, why don’t you just make something for yourself.” He would go into the kitchen and I would hear, click, click, chop, chop. Then he would call me onto our sunny little porch, where he would have set the little table with a pretty blue cloth and napkins and there would be the most delicious chopped salad that was nutritious and very easy to eat.
Another friend helped us to buy a scanner so that I could scan our slides onto the computer. One daughter asked me, “Doesn’t it make you sad to see all of those old photos.” I said, “No it makes me happy, because I am seeing you beautiful children smiling and enjoying happy times together.” That project took me back to many good memories and helped to take my mind off the fight at hand.
On May first of each year since that life changing day, I hang the basket and say, ” Thank you God.” No, a little rain isn’t going to wash away all of the joy that I feel today.
Pat O’Connell your humble innkeeper
May Day Baskets on Cape Cod – May Day baskets will be lining the streets of Falmouth, Cape Cod through May 8th.