This past weekend I was at my Dad’s house and while there I always try and do something for him. Age is creeping up and cleaning, gardening and just about anything physical is becoming difficult. It had rained all of Saturday so the ground was perfect for weeding on Sunday. I spent a good hour on my hands and knees in the garden pulling out young, tender dandelion greens. I’m not sure how many I had pulled when it occurred to me that I buy these very same greens at the Farmers Market for a healthy sum. I jumped up and charged toward the house bellowing from the back door, “Dad, do you use any pesticides?” I thought he hadn’t since my mother became ill in 2001 and just wanted to make sure that these weeds were in fact organic.
“No,” he said. “Why?”
“I’m going to eat them.” I said this with enthusiasm. I really was thrilled.
He looked at me with a scrunched face, “Do I have to eat them too?” He obviously found the thought repulsive.
My father still likes to eat white bread and on Sunday I left him in charge of getting the cold cuts for lunch. He bought liverwurst. I don’t eat red meat anymore, only like organic fruits and vegetables, am gluten free and yet lunch with my dad… it’s pickles and liverwurst. I don’t cause a fuss and leave my cancer prevention diet at the door. It is one meal with a man I adore and I do not think a liverwurst sandwich alone will kill me. Liverwurst is his favorite cold cut and he thinks I love it too. I have gluten free bread in his freezer and after toasting it I layer two slices of liverwurst on the bread and smile. There is a part of me that wants to scream, “I don’t eat this crap anymore. You don’t know what’s in it!” and then there is a part of me that knows how much he enjoys this lunch. I keep my opinions to myself and eat. He’s 90 and sooner rather than later moments like this will only be memories.
I assured him I would not make him eat his own weeds. He was relieved and after hearing how much I pay for them in the city, he tried to charge me for them. Of course, he was only joking. I washed them, packed them up and have been eating the dandelion greens all week. I love that I foraged for them myself and I admit there is a part of me that hopes these greens will cleanse my body of some of those nitrates!