What Do May Flowers Bring?
The old rhyme about spring—April showers bring May flowers—was most likely intended to buoy the soggy human sprits of those last muddy weeks of winter, especially in places like Otsego County, where there have historically been only two seasons: winter and Fourth of July.
Now it seems that Otsego County may be more representative of the school-kid joke that followed up on the rhyme—April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?”
While the fast-approaching Memorial Day weekend is officially the “unofficial start of summer,” in Otsego County it is certainly when the first wave of pilgrims splashes onto our roads and throughout our towns and villages. The early ones come back to worship their summer retreats and are soon followed by the hundreds of thousands who worship the multitude of blessings the county offers.
Some of these blessings can be found in other places, but very few have such riches all in one place. There is, of course, the altar of baseball to which they flock, from its world-renowned Cooperstown shrine to the expansive ball parks in Hartwick and Oneonta that draw tens of thousands of aspiring young players. They come to the hallowed halls of the county’s wide-ranging array of museums, art galleries, opera and performing arts centers, and to the scattered golf courses and tennis courts, public lakes and parks, restaurants and pubs, and to the abundant availability of shopping, shopping, and more shopping. And as a heavenly backdrop, the unfettered and perhaps unmatched natural beauty of Otsego County and its carefully protected environment is a revelation to every pilgrim.
These pilgrims are welcomed here. They bring offerings. We looked up some things we did not specifically know about our Otsego pilgrims. In 2021, the year in which tourist spending in Otsego County slipped the bonds of the pandemic by surpassing the level of spending in 2019, our Otsego County pilgrims laid out just under $222 million directly to anyone or any place that charges for this brand of worship. On top of that, their spending led to close to $99 million in wages to local workers employed by those places, along with $13 million in state taxes and nearly $15 million in local taxes. So they come, they go, and they leave about $350 million behind. Do we love them? Maybe not entirely, but surely we should appreciate them.
So hold on to your hats—the beginning is near! Be patient, be kind and be thankful that so many do so much for our little slice of heaven on earth.