Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Golden Crown

With fingers sticky with sap, we felt like princesses. We grew up with few toys. We grew up with imagination and appreciation for things around us. We grew up wearing dandelion crowns.

This morning I eliminated dandelions from my sister's yard. Their fuzzy heads were ready to spread seed, and I was determined to stop them. I stood holding a stem and memory danced across my mind. Dandelion crowns. Brenda and I would gather the biggest stemmed dandelions we could find then set to the task of crown making. We tossed aside many of the sunny, yellow heads inserting each stem into one that was larger making the circle of the crown, then we twisted golden flowers around the halo. I'm sure we had sticky heads, and, from my point of view, a nice floral scent would have been better instead of the bitter smell of the weed. Farm girls playing with dandelions the same as their grandmothers many times over.

The hollyhocks were out behind the corn crib. So was the outhouse. I remember Dad pinching off the flowers and the buds. With the help of a straight pin, the flower became the skirt and the bud became the head of beautiful, floral dolls. Imagination and delight combined with what we had around us, and we were entertained. To this day, I cannot look at a hollyhock without wishing I had a straight pin.

The bales of hay and straw were our forts. The Lavy boys and I made tunnels and barricades. We played for hours in the barn standing on the bounty collected from the field. The barn became a place of delight for all ages over the years swinging on the rope from end to end landing on those bales; creating our own playground.

Seems Brenda and I also knew how to get into trouble. Popping the buds on the lilies was fun until either Margaret or Mom yelled at us. I enjoyed peeling bark off of Granddad's white birch until he yelled at me. Pop Johnson had a huge weeping willow. My cousin Lee and I would make whips out of young branches. And again, another grandpa yelled at me. I could have used a some positive input praising the ingenuity of their young granddaughter.

We Neff Road kids had fun back then. We didn't have much, but we had each other and a world of intrigue around us. Best of all, I got to wear a golden crown.

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