Valentineís Day may be the single busiest day for florists, but the week of Motherís Day is the busiest week, and May is the busiest month, according to a florist Web site. One may think, given the importance of flowers as gifts for mom, that the celebration originated with florists. Not true. The early observances of the national holiday created by the bill President Woodrow Wilson signed into law involved going to church and writing letters to mothers. The observance evolved into sending greeting cards and flowers.
Today flowers for mom are huge. In many churches this morning there will be flowers or plants awarded to the oldest mother and the youngest, the mother with the most children and the one with the youngest child. I remember as a youth on Motherís Day in church the children from Sunday school classes would bring a plant out into the congregation to give to their mothers. The second Sunday in May was generally still too early to set out plants in Michigan. The rule of thumb to be safe was donít plant before Memorial Day. However, every year my mother would replant her Motherís Day plant in the flower box on the porch. I suspect there were many nights she had to go out and cover it up.
In Texas that is not the case. Flowers in May are everywhere, particularly this year. The wildflowers have been more prominent along the countryside and roadways than they have been for several years. The shades of blue fields from Bluebonnets in most areas around Brown County have given way to the brilliant red and yellow colors of the Mexican Hats and Black-eyed Susans. Not as famous flowers in the state perhaps, as the Bluebonnets, but they are none-the-less breathtaking in many areas. Close on their heels is the appearance of the pink Primroses. When they appear I am always reminded of the song from the 50s ó Primrose Lane ó and canít resist singing, ďLife is a holiday on Primrose Lane.Ē
We marveled at the color show we experienced on one particular drive that we took last week. We drove south through Richland Springs to San Saba and then took Highway 16 to Cherokee where we turned west on 501 toward Pontotoc. The road leads to Highway 71 where we turned right to Fredonia and then picked up 1851 and followed it through Katemcy over to 377 and then followed it north through Brady to Brownwood. The mixture of colors and textures could not have been more spectacular if they had been skillfully arranged, but then I guess they really were.
Another ride, somewhat longer and deeper into the hill country is the Willow City Loop. The north entrance is off of Highway 16 south of Llano and loops around to nearly Fredericksburg. The ride is mostly through private property, one goes over many cattle guards and open range with cattle on the road, which adds to the character and contrast of the experience. As if one needed more than the color show the wildflowers provide.
Fresh cut flowers used to be a constant fixture in our home. The last stop on Fridays when I headed home for the weekend was at the florist where I picked up some flowers. The ritual was particularly meaningful the four years we lived in Minnesota. The florists would double wrap the flowers with paper and completely cover them so that they would make the trip to the car and home alive. The short days and long winters seemed a little brighter with fresh flowers on the table. The flowers have been missing in the house for the last nine years. Blame goes to one of our indoor cats, McMillan, who cannot seem to be taught to leave them alone. The effect they offer seems to be lost if the flowers have to be kept in the refrigerator or locked in a bathroom.
If you did not happen to get your mother or your childrenís mother some flowers this morning, perhaps you can do as I did and take her on a drive to view the wildflower arrangements along the countryside that have been put there for us all to enjoy.
Robert Brincefield is publisher of the Brownwood Bulletin. His column appears on Sunday. He may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.