Family History: Pulling Dandelions

Yesterday, my dad took me to the airport. It also happened to be his birthday. I asked him, as we were driving there, what he used to do as a kid on his birthday. The conversation was basically this:

Dad: Well, my parents never did anything extravagant on our birthdays like your mom does for you all. My birthday was special though because Jeff and I had to pick dandelions everyday and weigh them in. We weighed them in on the “dreaded scale in the garage.”

Me: Dad, you’re lying. I don’t believe you.

Dad (not even cracking a smile, and really pouring out the details now): No, I’m not joking. We would weigh them in, and then half of that number was the weight of food we were allowed to have. I mean, you remember how big our yard was. There were a lot of dandelions to pick. And my dad said he’d never buy weed killer as long as he had sons.

Me: That’s ridiculous. I know you’re making this up.

Dad: No, no, no! I promise this happened. So, on our birthdays, it would be great because the ratio was 1 to 1. Not 2 to 1. And Jeff’s birthday is in April too, so twice in April we’d get to have the 1 to 1 weight ratio of dandelions to food.

Me: (Thinking…I feel like this is kind of like child abuse…) Wow, that was kind of tough/weird/bizarre. But what about school? How could you pick all those dandelions when you had school every day?

Dad: We still had to get the quota for the day, there were no exceptions. And you know you can eat dandelions right? They make a pretty good salad.

Me: Like their stems?

Dad: No, their leaves. You have to get a bunch of them but they’re pretty good for you.

Me: Hmmm…..

So, today I got on my Uncle Jeff’s Facebook page and messaged him.

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 9.23.22 PM

They all had such compelling comments and went right along with the story, that I had no reason NOT to believe them. When I talked to my Dad tonight, I told him how Jeff and Tim backed up his story and that I was sorry for not believing him entirely yesterday. Then my dad lost it… lots of laughter. It was ALL a lie! I guess they occasionally did have to pull the dandelions but there was no “dreaded scale in the garage” and definitely no ratio thing going on! Those tricksters! They are all so sarcastic and have the driest humor. It’s the true nature of a Swainhart, I guess!

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 9.26.41 PMCan you even eat them, Dad? Or am I going to go try and make a dandelion salad and poison myself?!

Here are my grandparents that I believed made their children pick hundreds of pounds of dandelions so they could eat food (hahaha… it’s so ridiculous now that I think about it!):

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And here’s my Dad with his older brother Tim-I guess Tim was too old in the story for the dandelion picking chore 😉 :



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