FLATTMANN FILES “Quality Is No Accident”
MAYPOLES, MAYFLIES, AND THE MAYFLOWER Celebrating May’s Impact on the English Language
FROM THE DESK OF Grady Flattmann
For production purposes, I typically write these articles a month before this newsletter hits your mailbox. We are now in late March and coping with the coronavirus, trying desperately to “flatten the curve.” Everyone has been affected, and it seems that life as we knew it is on hold. Ben Franklin is credited with saying, “Out of adversity comes opportunity.” As with any tragedy, many of us will understandably struggle to find that opportunity. But we must keep moving forward. Don’t stop! The opportunity is there to renew our appreciation for things we took for granted just a few weeks ago. The ease of going to the grocery store for milk, eggs, bread, or even toilet paper! Going out for lunch at our favorite local restaurant. Shaking hands at church. For me personally, the most immediate opportunity I have is extra time to spend with family, catch up with friends over the phone, and take in nature. For my law firm, we have the opportunity to reflect upon our practices and procedures, and we are exploring new ways to double down on the experience we provide to our clients.
There are many reasons to celebrate in May. Among thanking Mom, honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country, and embarking on postgraduation adventures, there’s no shortage of importance when it comes to May. And the English language makes this pretty clear. Check out these unique facts about English words or phrases that use the word “may.” AVOIDING MAYDAY ON MAY DAY About 100 years ago, the English and French faced quite a dilemma. As aircraft paths were more frequently crossing the English Channel, the countries needed to develop a distress signal that could be easily distinguished over the radio. While SOS was commonly used by armies across the globe as a sign of mayhem, “S” sounds were hard to hear over the radio. The French reverted to using m’aidez, which means “help me.” Soon, the English added their own spin, deciphering the phrase as “mayday.”The
new phrase went global thanks to bulletins posted in popular publications, and today, it’s known as a worldwide distress signal. Not to be confused with the international phrase for help, May Day is a cultural celebration dating back millennia. For some cultures, May Day, traditionally held on May 1, is an important day signifying the halfway point of the year. Other cultures celebrate and honor fertility on May Day with maypoles that represent male fertility and wreaths and ribbons that depict female fertility. Today, May Day celebrations continue in their traditional format, while some people celebrate the holiday by simply doing kind deeds for their neighbors. Thankfully, there’s little cause for mayday on May Day. MAY’S MOST FAMOUS SHIP The Mayflower, named after the English word for the small, white hawthorn flower, served
We appreciate each and every one of you. You and yours remain in our thoughts and prayers.
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