A rose or weed of another name

It was while watching my son mow the lawn that I realized that dandelions are a flower that keeps on giving, and very much like life in a way.

In the spring, dandelions are the first source of food available to birds, bees and other creatures of Mother Nature.

The solitary dandelion is edible, which also makes it a food source for humans. Its leaves can be used in salads and the buds can be beaten, fried and eaten. They can be used to make jelly and jam, tea and of course wine.

They also pop their yellow heads just in time to be bouquets on Mother’s Day.

As I watched my son shear newly sprouted dandelions and mature white dandelions, I realized that dandelions also represented the cycle of life.

We, like the dandelion, start young and tender, then mature to become strong, but then we start to grow old.

The bright yellow flower of the dandelion turns white, fragile, before drying up and flying away. Just as our hair turns gray and we become brittle as we age.

I know that sounds overly dramatic and poetic, but I was raised on a farm. As such, I pay attention to the display of Mother Nature around me.

In addition, my father’s life mission was to walk the banks of the ditches to destroy certain weeds which were the bane of his existence.

Dad tolerated the dandelions, I think, because Mom cooked them with bacon grease as a warm salad. She also beat and fried the yellow flower buds to eat them. As for my father, he saw them as an opportunity to make wine.

It was the only weed I ever saw him try to kill. My dad would put on his special weed hunting hat for the outdoors, pull on a pair of black knee-high boots, and use his trusty space shovel to spend hours hunting wild mustard and wild carrots. He called them evil weeds because they kept coming back, choking out crops, and were prolific.

I never knew which he hated more: wild mustard or wild carrot. Either way, he chased them away with a vengeance.

I was surprised later to learn that a weed was considered a thing of beauty.

Because mom has always grown a big flower garden, the first time I set foot in a flower shop was when I was getting married to choose how I wanted my bouquet designed for my wedding.

It was a tough decision, but I finally settled on a bouquet of yellow roses mixed with what the florist called “Baby’s Breath.” To me, Baby’s Breath looked suspiciously like a wild carrot.

Anyway, I thought the Queen Ann lace flower was a nice delicate touch with the roses. After placing this order, I forgot about my bouquet until the big day.

My dad didn’t see the bouquet until he walked me down the aisle.

I’m sure as we walked through church, I could feel Dad looking at my bouquet with disdain.

I guess it boils down to one man’s flower being another man’s weed.

Mary Drier is a freelance journalist and columnist for the Huron Daily Tribune. She can be reached by emailing [email protected]

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