Over the weekend, I went to my mother’s house to make sure the grill was ready for our Mother’s Day BBQ. It hadn’t been used since last Father’s Day, so we went there with fingers crossed.
Upon walking into the yard, lo and behold, there were dandelions everywhere. Naturally, since the publication of my book, The Dandelion’s Tale, the sight of these yellow-topped weeds have been cause for celebration. The two pictured above sprouted up at the base of the last tree in the yard. I started to think of the things that happened around that tree when I was growing up. When my cat, Priscilla was a kitten, she somehow climbed up the tree and got stuck on a branch, meowing her head off. My heart lodged in my throat when she decided to take flight, somehow landing on her feet, unharmed.
People sitting under that tree have been pooped on by birds and had things dropped on them by squirrels. I even buried a few hamsters there. I’ve sat under the shade of that tree for countless family parties and outdoor dinners. I played with my Star Wars figures, pretending the foliage around the tree was a foreign planet.
There are tales to tell right where those dandelion’s are growing. I wonder if they can tap into those memories that have become one with the earth.
Here in New York, we’ve been socked with a few snowstorms and frigid temperatures that have driven people deep into their homes, close to warm radiators and electric blankets.
Sometimes, I feel like I’m the only one who truly loves the snow and cold. How much do I love snow? This is what I think it should look like outside my door from December through March :
Which brings me to the single greatest thing my family and I have ever done. A few winters back, New York was unseasonably warm with nary a trace of white powder. So what did my snow-crazy family do? We drove to Maine, where the white stuff was stacked 10 feet high everywhere we looked.
Before we headed north, we looked into outdoor winter activities we could all enjoy doing. We’re not skiers, so that was out. Riding around in snowmobiles would be fun, but the kids were a little young at the time. And then we found it, the single coolest thing we could do in the snow – dog sledding! I mean, how many people do you know have actually ridden on a dog sled? We couldn’t pass it up.
It was a warm 8 degrees as we made the 1 hour drive to mountains of New Hampshire to meet our dogs. Once we were in the sleds with layers of blankets over us, we totally forgot about the cold. The dogs pulled us up and down and over hills for the next hour. We all hoped it would never end.
My daughter even got to try her hand at guiding the sled.
Sitting by my window now, seeing the snow covered landscape, feeling the frost on the windowpane, I can hear the barking and yipping of a team of dogs, anxious to hit the snow. I think it’s time to head north again.
I was lucky enough to grow up during the birth of the Christmas cartoons and specials that have since defined the holidays. I remember checking the TV Guide each week to make sure my sister and I wouldn’t miss Charlie Brown’s Christmas or The Year Without A Santa Clause or Frosty the Snowman.
Back in the 70’s, we didn’t have DVD players or video tape, so you had one and only one chance to catch your favorite Christmas cartoon, and that’s what made them all the more precious and special. Rankin & Bass were the pied pipers of the holidays, and we followed them wherever they went.
Did you know that Mr. Magoo’s rendition of A Christmas Carol was actually the first holiday cartoon? Without our nearsighted Ebenezer, we may never have gotten to watch Rudolph or Heat Miser or known what a ‘Charlie Brown Christmas tree’ really means. I’m a parent now with teens, and Mr. Magoo’s version of the Charles Dickens fable is still my favorite.
So, for all you kids (from 1 to 92) who may not have your own copy of Mr. Magoo’s A Christmas Carol, I’ve linked to this very special Christmas movie. Wishing you and yours the happiest and healthiest holiday!
It finally feels like spring in New York today. Seems like we’ve been trapped in little winter forever. Today was the first day in months that I didn’t have to drag myself out of bed. It’s amazing what a little sun and warmth can do – even for a guy who loves the winter. Snow and cold can be fun, but after a while, a change of scenery is mandatory.
Spring also means that I’m one year away from seeing the publication of my first picture book, The Dandelion’s Tale, through Random House. I know it’ll fly by, but the wait is killing me! Until then, I figured I’d share a nice pic of some dandelions. They may be weeds to some, but they’re gold to me.