Saturday, May 03, 2008
Pennies for Dandelions
I have always said: if there is such a thing as reincarnation, I want to come back as a dandelion. They are pretty; cheerful; bright; charming in their ability to change into delightful forms; there is no getting rid of them and..., children love them! Children would play with me.
If a bunny comes along and eats me - C’est la vie - and so are the cycles of life. I have seen bunnies methodically pick the blooms and starting with the cut end of the stem, it slowly disappeared into the bunny’s wiggly mouth until an instant when there was nothing but the yellow button flower covering its mouth and nose, then it disappears. Immediately on to the next one go the hungry hares.
The British have English Daisies in their lawns; I wonder if they suffer the same objections and prejudices as our dandelions.
I fought the tough, tenacious things for years, but they have won. I remember seeing in an old “Horticulture” magazine a photograph of Christopher Lloyd sitting in his garden, and right there beside his right foot was a bright and shining little dandelion. I remember thinking: I’m not the only one, then. Even the rich and famous and accomplished gardener has them.
When our grandchildren were little and still thought a penny was a lot of money, I let them pick the dandelions for one cent each. I gave them a box of small zip lock plastic bags. I said to them, “Now, you know how to count to a hundred, don’t you?” Oh, yes, they were proud of their new knowledge and ability in counting… all the way to a hundred! “OK, then each time you pick a flower, put it into a bag and say, ‘one’, ‘two’, etc. all the way until you have put one hundred into the bag. Then zip it up and give it to me.” I explained to them that one hundred flowers meant one hundred pennies, and one hundred pennies was a whole dollar. Their eyes grew large.
“You and your parents are going on vacation this summer, aren’t you? (Heads nodded.) I thought you would like some spending money of your own for the trip and this is an easy way to earn some.” They were so cute with their little fingers and hands all yellow with pollen stacking up bags of wilted green stems and yellow flowers.
“Bobbie, do you want us to pick these, too?” (Holding up a stem with unopened bud attached.) “Yes, those count, too.”
“Bobbie, Bobbie, what if it has two on it like this one. Do I count it one or two?” “Count it as two.” Excitement increases. Little wheels are beginning to turn in mercenary young minds.
Depending on the age and the attention span, I paid out anywhere from $2.00 to $40.00 at a time per child over the years. They may not remember doing that, but Bobbie has pictures in her mind of five little children picking the dandelions. The money was not important. The mental pictures – are priceless.