Last weekend, I went to Fort Worth for a 50th anniversary party for Steve and Jean Shoemaker. Their kids (Kaylyn, Karen and Kevin) had decided that their mom and dad deserved the full treatment for the big day, and I, along with Sean, Terri and Ken, were fortunate enough to be included.
We had great times visiting, eating at The Reata restaurant, stopping by the Stockyards, and just getting away for a few days. It's amazing how beneficial a short vacation can be.
We had gone up Friday evening, and by the time we got to the other side of Brownwood, the sun had already set. However, we returned during daylight hours on Sunday and got to take a look at the countryside around Dublin and Granbury.
On Sunday afternoon, there were cars pulling off the road everywhere so they could unload the kids into small patches of bluebonnets and wildflowers to take photos. Mind you, these weren't fields of flowers, just small patches, some only 30 or 40 feet across.
After we had dodged a dozen or so people who hadn't bothered to get fully off the road, I was tempted to roll down my window and shout, "Come down to Mason County! We have a LOT more flowers and a LOT more room for you to spread out."
Though it probably surprises most of the people that know me, I resisted the temptation to do a "shout out" about Mason's flowers and continued on my journey home. But, the temptation was great.
We have had a constant stream of traffic in and out of our office of folks picking up Spring Guides so that they can wander the wildflower lanes. This is one year that, no matter what route is chose, the journey will be well worth the time. I'm hearing especially great things about the James River route this year; but, all of them have their own unique charm and beauty, and everyone is enjoying the abundance of color and scent across the hillsides.
It would probably be a good time to remind locals that many of the folks stopping to take pictures, like those up around Dublin, don't always follow strict rules of the road. They don't always get their car far enough off the road. They don't always look when swinging open their doors. They don't always look both ways when crossing the road. All good reasons to make the assumption that they don't know you are there and to slow down when you see the cars pulling over.
But, for the folks out looking at flowers, I would also issue a few reminders in addition to those concerning traffic. Be aware that there ARE snakes and ants out and about. Make sure that the spot you're dropping your children isn't on top of a fire ant mound or over a snake den. Also, though the bluebonnets just across the fence are gorgeous, remember that they are also on private property. The landowner doesn't care if you're only going to be there a moment, you and the 45 other folks who have crawled through the fence have now provided a great spot for his calves to get out in the road, and he's not going to be amused.
So, Steve and Jean, since I know you'll be reading this sometime on Friday or Saturday, consider this an invitation. To kick off your fiftieth year of marriage, hop in the car and head down to Mason County. Bring Karen and Kaylee along, make sure you have your camera all charged up and the camera card empty, and you make the drive down to enjoy the beauty around here. The invitation to your anniversary party said "No Gifts, Please," but this is too great a present not to share, and it will definitely be something I know you'll treasure.
It’s all just my opinion.