There’s a “day” for everything, it seems, and a “month” too, when specific events or items are suggested for observance.
May is no exception, and it goes far beyond the poetic saying of “April showers bring May flowers.”
Notable holidays we celebrate this month include Cinco de Mayo on May 5; Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of the month; and Memorial Day on the last Monday. The entire month is dedicated, according to those who track such things, to Lupus Awareness, Older Americans, and Foster Care.
Not every observance is as noble as those, or other important ones that include “National Nurses Day” on May 6, “Police Officers Memorial Day” on May 15, and “Armed Forces Day” on May 18.
Today is, for example, “International Tuba Day” and “Lumpy Rug Day.” The list goes on. Check your favorite internet search engine for many more, like “Eat What You Want Day” on May 11, “National Chocolate Chip Day” on May 15, and “National Tap Dance Day” on May 25.
I might nominate the month of May to be celebrated as “National Reminiscence Month.” For those whose mothers have died, Mother’s Day is certainly a time for reflecting on that special lady in their lives. Perhaps the same can be said for those fortunate enough to still have Mom with us.
In addition, May is a month when most of us have a school graduation to remember — or maybe one to attend. Perhaps it’s the capstone of your high school years, or perhaps it’s from college, or even both. Sometimes, commencement ceremonies stretch into June. Regardless, when you add personal recollections by families of military veterans who are memorialized around the end of May, we have multiple individuals and events to remember this month.
May could also be observed as “Keep Your Eyes on the Skies” month, based on the severe storms that rake across our landscape each spring. National Severe Weather Awareness Week is routinely observed in March, and it is indeed wise to be prepared before the worst of the storms rumble through. However, May is the month when Americans typically see the largest number of tornadoes, followed by June.
Since 1950, Texas has witnessed the most tornadoes, averaging 125 a year. Oklahoma is next with 57, followed by Kansas and Florida with 55 each. Because Florida is a smaller state, it ranks first in the number of twisters per square mile.
Of course, tornadoes can — and have — formed during every month of the year. But if you’re playing the odds and want to live where the fewest average number of tornadoes are recorded in the continental U.S., check out New England and states generally west of the Rockies, with the exception of California. Plus, Alaska and Hawaii are statistically tornado-free.
The Brownwood area has already seen its share of violent storms this spring, and we’ve just now arrived in May. Having grown up in other states, I didn’t realize how faithfully Texans monitor local weather forecasts when major storms boil up each spring.
After graduating from high school, I stayed in Ballinger with the relatives of a friend’s family when I made my first visit to Howard Payne, and it was a turbulent Memorial Day weekend weather-wise. I saw a funnel cloud in my rearview mirror just west of Santa Anna.
I’ve been dutifully watching those forecasts ever since. In May, it’s a mandatory observance.
Gene Deason is editor emeritus of the Brownwood Bulletin. His column appears on Fridays. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.