My post last week apparently started a dandelion obsession. Not to mention how yellow the yard is since we’ve had all this rain. The dandelions are tall enough that the kids have been picking long-stemmed dandelion bouquets. Now, long-stem dandelion bouquets are quite special and deserve the fine, tall vase treatment. Yes, sir!
As I started thinking about dandelions, this odd, pervasive weed of the north, I was surprised how many memories I have surrounding dandelions. In addition to the dandelion picking for wine making, one of my earliest memories is of dandelions. My brother and I were playing in the back yard while my mom did yardwork or hung the laundry (with the underwear discreetly hidden on the inner rows of the clothes line). My brother must have been around a year old, which meant I was the quite-capable mother/sister of 4 1/2 years old. I saved my baby brother from certain death as he was just about to eat a handful of dandelions he picked for a treat. I snatched them from his chubby little hand (and he was a chubby baby!) and informed him that dandelions are for cows, and that he was not, last time I checked, despite his baby chub, a cow. I then smartly informed my mother of my good deed, expecting my due praise. And yes, I now have a 5-year-old version of myself living under my roof.
I remember being embarassed of our yard growing up because while the neighbors treated their lawns with chemicals to make them thick and green, our yard always remained a quite organically spotted yellow. I asked my Dad why we didn’t treat our yard too so that the dandelions wouldn’t pepper our yard making us look like red-necks (in my mind). He informed me that 1. with the open lot across the street that was filled with dandelions, weed treatment would be almost pointless and 2. that my great-grandfather needed the dandelions for his dandelion wine. And then he sent me with a bucket into the yard to de-dandelion the yard. Why pay for lawn service when you have kids to pick the weeds out for you? I stopped bringing the subject up. And now that they have no kids at home, they have a very green, organically treated yard.
I graduated with 25 classmates from a small Christian school. We always felt like a weed amongst flowers, I guess. I think this feeling was mostly perpetuated by our lack of athleticism. Athletics brings money. It doesn’t matter how big or small your school is. Athletes get the attention for the school. Our class wasn’t overly athletic. A few of us played volleyball, a few played basketball, and we had one cheerleader. We were sandwiched between two very athletic classes. We, however, tended to be more artsy. When it came time for the school musicals, 99% of my class was involved in some form. We had the highest rate of participation every year. And some of my classmates could sing, oh could they sing! I hope they still sing, even if it’s only in the shower. I envied their voices. Oh, and we were really good at talking. Teachers used to make seating charts for us, right up until we graduated. The charts, carefully planned to separate friends to decrease talking in class, never worked. It didn’t matter who we were sitting next to, we ALL talked. Naturally, a number of us participated in (and won) numerous speech competitions throughout the years. From musical instruments, singing, drawing, painting, speaking…we were an incredibly talented group of young people. But we still felt like weeds for some reason. So when it came time to vote on a class flower, we nearly unanimously voted on the dandelion. We were dandelions in fields of flowers. The school balked. We said it was our class, and we voted dandelion. They insisted it could not be our flower, because the class flower gets pinned on our graduation gowns, and the dandelion is not a flower. We still didn’t see the problem. They did, however, and provided us with little daisies instead.
Last week, while the yard was fresh with yellow, Nana sent the kids out to pick some for dinner. She washed the blooms, made a simple batter out of bisquick and water, dipped the blooms in the batter and fried them. And we ate them for dinner. The kids loooooved them. They tasted like fried pancakes with a hint of….fresh yellow.
And to think, I deprived my little brother of such a delicacy!