As I shot more macro photographs of dandelions and weeds in my front garden – including the picture you see here – I remembered a couple of stories about my interactions with dandelions.
As a kid, I used to stay with my beloved Grandma Betty in Massachusetts during the summer, in an effort to get safely away from my toxic homelife with my abusive parents. The summers were great, Grandma Betty and I did many things together during those respites from the craziness I dealt with back home.
Grandma Betty’s small house on Willowdean Avenue had a large front yard, and it was always kept clean and trimmed.
Except for the dandelions. She did not like dandelions in her yard. And dandelions with yellow heads were despised – even more so were dandelions with the white tendrils that flew away in a breeze and could land in other parts of the yard and grow in the new year.
“Charlie,” she would say to me – and mind you, she was one of the ONLY people that I allowed to call me “Charlie” – “Go outside and pull up all the dandelions from my yard.”
Okay. I can do this.
I went outside and yanked up every dandelion I saw.
She went outside to check my work.
“You’re not done. I still see dandelions in the yard.”
No. I picked them all. Plucked them out of the ground. I showed her some of the pluckings.
“You can’t just pluck them out. First of all, you missed those dandelions over by the side of the house,” she said, pointing toward dandelions that I hadn’t noticed before. And then she pointed at other dandelions that, for some reason, I missed in my earlier harvest.
“You have to pick up EVERY dandelion,” she said. “And you can’t just pull them out, you have to get the root or they’ll grow back again. You have to get the entire root.”
She then went into the garage and pulled out a small hand-held trowel. “You need to dig under the grass and get the entire root. Even if you leave a single sliver of root, it will grow back.”
Okay. I don’t want to disappoint my Grandma Betty. So for the rest of the afternoon, I dug out every root and pulled out every dandelion – root and all – like I was the guy replacing all the divots Donald Trump leaves in his golf swings.
So that’s how I learned to take care of the dandelion situation at Grandma Betty’s yard.
Now let’s fast forward to a couple of years ago. It’s date night, and we’re just coming home from a movie.
As I pull up to the driveway, she mentions that her lawn service hasn’t come by because of the recent rains, and that her front lawn now has dandelions in it.
I looked. Yep, there’s several dozen dandelions in the front lawn.
Okay. Time for me to do a solid.
The next day, I went to Home Depot and purchased a hand-held trowel. It’s time for me to get all the dandelions. It’s you and me, weeds, and “me” ain’t going anywhere.
I went over to her house, and we had lunch. “I’m going to go outside for a bit,” I said to her. “Just something I want to take care of.”
So for the next two or three hours, I sat on the ground, trowel in hand, digging out every single dandelion – roots and all – and I threw every extracted weed into a lawn refuse bag. This will surely get me Brownie points and “Good Guy” bonus marks, I’m going to take out all these dandelions like Bill Murray takes out gophers in Caddyshack.
The door opens. She comes outside and sees what I’ve accomplished. “Look,” I said to her, “look at all the dandelions I’ve pulled up for you.”
She laughed. “You silly man,” she smiled. “The lawn service will get rid of them when they mow. You don’t have to do that. Come inside and get cleaned up.”
But I – the weeds – in the bag – but I saw all the dandelions and I used the tool –
Oh well. At least if there’s anything, I earned points for being creative.
And even if I can take a picture today … it reminds me of some rather fun moments with dandelions.
Well, they were fun now … I’m not sure how much fun they were back then. 😀