Saturday, March 31, 2012

Digging Dandelions

The dandelions are coming up fast and furious in these early ddays of spring. One day nothing is there to suggest their imminent arrival. The next day the lawn is covered with small, yellow flowers. Lots of them! Everywhere!

I am sitting here at the kitchen counter watching my next door neighbor down on his hands and knees carefully trying to dig out each plant in turn and I am reminded that digging dandelions was one of my regular chores each spring. Whenever they appeared on our lawn I was sent forth with a plastic bucket, a garden trowel and an old kitchen knife with directions to dig them out and to make sure I got the entire root. At the time it seemed like a lot of hard work for my weekly allowance. A senseless act since dandelions are virtually impossible to eradicate. If you dig them, you must get the entire root or else they will quickly return; and you have to get them before the yellow flower turns into its familiar white seed-head which can happen while your head is turned. There is an old superstition - if you blow all of the seeds off the dandelion in one breath, your wish will be granted. Well, only if you wish for more dandelions in your yard tomorrow.

Back in the day dandelions were, for me, a source of lucre. In addition to earning my allowance digging then out of our yard, I also attempted to find a more commercial use for them. As a kid I picked them from the lawns surrounding our apartment in Cincinnati, gathered them into bouquets secured by a rubber band, and went door to door through the complex selling them for a nickel each. As I recall, my mom and my second grade teacher, who lived next door, were only too happy to purchase one. Other neighbors were not similarly impressed with my entrepreneurial spirit, frowning as I offered these lovely bouquets for sale. I even had a door or two slammed in my face. One man’s flower is still another man’s weed.

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