JEFF ELL: Snow In May

“Snow in May-Poor man’s pay . . .”

That’s what an old farmer told me. But snow on Mother’s Day? Not sure what the old man would have said about that.

For the record, it snowed on Mother’s Day 1996.

If you remember that weather event, you know it wasn’t just one of those light dustings that makes the grass look like a powdered doughnut.

More than six inches of heavy wet snow fell overnight, so much snow that we had to have the church parking lot plowed out that morning.

What a mess.

When we got to church that morning all the snow was layered with the gravel and mud from the parking lot. It looked like someone had left dozens of giant Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls everywhere.

But the moms in our congregation were undaunted. By church time the sun had come out and our ladies got dropped off right at the front steps by their husbands and sons. They weren’t going to let a little snow ruin their day. We handed out flowers to all the moms and gave extra ones to especially honor the newest, the oldest, and the mostest mom.

See every mom knows that you have to put up with some messes before you get something worth celebrating.

The old farmer called late-season snow poor man’s pay. Actually, it should be called poor mans fertilizer. Late season snowfall is basically just free fertilizer for cash strapped farmers who can’t afford the man-made stuff. Ask a farmer who has had his oats crushed by a blanket of late-season snow and they will tell you about a bumper crop that came in that year. The science behind it is actually pretty sound. The snow puts into the soil some of the same things commercial fertilizers do; nitrogen and phosphate the necessary elements that make things grow.

Moms are like farmers.

They know that growing a bumper crop of kids involves all kinds of messy, smelling, and untimely things.

They look out the window before dawn and sigh when they see an empty space where their teenager’s car was supposed to be parked.

They’ve sat in the emergency room, principles office, and on the edge of the bed and listened to things they really didn’t want to hear.

Late season snow. Old man winters naughty last jab at mothers who know that beneath a layer of gravel, slush, or manure, there are some tender young shoots that are going to turn out just fine.

So to all you fathers, sons, and daughters here is what I want you to do today.

Don’t give the mom’s in your life any more fertilizer. You’ve already given her enough over the years.

Flowers will be just fine.

Jeff Ell

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