Home > Family, Life or something like it > Picture of the Day 04.12.2012

Picture of the Day 04.12.2012

04/13/2012

04.13.2012 Picture of the Day

Seeing this brings back interesting (and fond) memories.

Next door to where I used to live when I was growing up was my Uncle Basilio. In the early spring, he used to let his yard grow wild (like this) and when the dandelions would come to flower (much like this), he used to spend one afternoon pulling all the dandelion leaves from those growing in the yard to make dandelion salad.

I remember one year when we were a bit older and Uncle Basilio was a little less mean (the man was evil and as pre-teens we used to torment the daylights out of him as he used to get even with us), he invited the lot of us in after he had plucked all the dandelion leaves. “Tradition,” as Uncle Basilio said to us, “is to remind us that even in a depression, we all survived.” He told us of what it was like to come to the states (he was a naturalized American citizen), to live through the depression, and the war. While he admitted to being 4-F (unable to serve for duty), he took great pride in working at a mill that used to supply for the war effort.

We had on that spring day, dandelion salad (heavy on the garlic and rosemary as this was made in an Italian household), polenta, cabbage soup (with some yam and potato) and bread pudding. Uncle Basilio told us that meat was usually for the weekend with the whole family over and that this was for during the week. He told us he did this around Easter every year since the end of the war.

He kept up this tradition until his death (to pancreatic cancer), when I was in high school.

I might not have picked up the tradition of eating dandelions (as a teenager, I found it to be extremely bitter, but given I’ve taken to Vegemite as an adult, I don’t think I’ll have much problem with it anymore), but whenever I see dandelions like this, I think back to Uncle Basilio, on his hands and knees in the backyard, picking the leaves off the weeds and putting them in a basket or bowl to bring into the house.

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