We can’t talk about the Strawberry Festival without at least a mention of rain, since one seems to go hand in hand with the other.

Those of us involved with running the softball tournament this weekend share the same weather concerns as all the folks at Lane Place. Everyone remembers the Sunday rainout last year, and everyone has their fingers crossed that we won’t see a repeat of that.

But it is mid-June, and the chances of rain always exist, much like the end of May with that race they run over in Indy.

So we plan for the best, and the worst, and hope things fall somewhere in the middle.

The forecasts have been all over the board as we sit a day or two from the start of this year’s Festival.

But, unlike the iffy aspects of the weather, all plans are in place, people are arranged, the grounds are prepared and all the behind the scenes work is done. The weather can do what it wants – the Strawberry Festival moves forward.

That is what should make us all so proud of what goes on to make this big event happen in this small town.

Weather rains out a whole day, but it doesn’t dampen spirits or moods. I heard of one group who had their entire Sunday inventory of  food that was going to go to waste, but a local restaurant bought the entire inventory and served it for the next couple days. Making some good out of a bad situation.

And that group, along with all the many groups that raise money for one community project or need, are back again this year, ready to serve and fight the raindrops if necessary.

Those of us down at Elston will be watching the skies, same as folks downtown. We have plans for a dry day or weekend (get hoses out and put some water down) or a wet day or weekend (get the rollers and sawdust out  to take water away). People behind the scenes are making plans and getting ready.

So thanks in advance for the so many people who have put in the 51 weeks of planning and prepping for the three days of this weekend. Your work is noticed and appreciated, even if there are not enough thank-you’s passed around. I know you do all this for the greater good much more than any personal gains.

On another note, I got an email late last week with my first eight weeks of NFL assignments! They arrived a month earlier than any other year.

I’m going to be east of the Mississippi for seven of those first eight weeks, it looks like right now. We start in Philly, then it’s DC, Detroit and Atlanta. Houston is as far west as I go the first half of the season.

Right now, there is not a trip to London, but in June of last year, there wasn’t a trip to London either. These are always probable stops, and there isn’t a lock on anything. 

We finish with a Happy Father’s Day wish to all the dads out there.

This is my first with my dad gone, but as everyone who has gone though this knows, he will be in my thoughts (even if I’m slogging water off a ball field). I hope everyone will have time to either reach out to your Dad, or like me, say a prayer for him.

Safe travels.

Jeff Nelson works in national television. His column appears each Thursday in the Journal Review.

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