Oldest, 7. Youngest two, 4.
I was repairing a storm door on our deck when my youngest daughter stepped into the doorway, holding a big, plastic bowl from the cupboard.
“Can we make Flower Salad?” she wondered.
“Yeah, can we make flower salad?” her brother wondered, too.
The summer before, they had fun making “salad” out of dandelions, grass, and whatever else their little fingers could clutch out of the yard. Frankly, I was pleased that they wanted to play outside instead of watching another round of TV.
“Sounds good to me,” I said.
They ran off and I returned to the broken door. I heard them laughing in the side yard. They passed by me, through the doorway, into the kitchen.
“Need salad spoons.” They ran back out.
I heard them laughing in the side yard. My son passed by me, through the doorway, into the kitchen.
“Need napkins.” He ran back out.
I heard them laughing in the side yard. It was a warm, early spring day and it was nice to hear them having so much fun. They called up to me from the yard.
“Can we put mulch in the bowl?”
“Yeah, can we put mulch in the bowl?”
“Sounds like croutons to me,” I said.
I finished the door a short time later and walked over to where they were mixing it all up. I came down the steps, rubbing my stomach.
“I’m ready for some salad,” I said.
My daughter was busy, stirring her ingredients. “Tonight we’re having special flower salad.”
“Yeah, special flower salad,” said her echo. “Want some?” he asked.
She presented the bowl. Their salad was filled with grass and bits of mulch – and some cherry tomato’s that I didn’t see them take from the kitchen. Mostly, though, it was overflowing with beautiful red and pink flower petals. I got an uneasy feeling. We hadn’t planted any flowers yet that spring.
“Where did you get red and pink flowers?”
They charged across the lawn to our neighbors yard. I followed them to the far side of our neighbor’s house and we stopped at the edge of a large garden bed. Dozens and dozens of de-flowered stems stood tall in the garden, all of them head-less.
As I hurried them back to our yard, our neighbors came home, pulling into their driveway. They waved. I returned a quick, nonchalant wave – careful not to make eye contact. I’ll admit it; I’m a coward. I gathered the two chefs quickly and said, “Hey guys, let’s take your salad inside and watch TV.”
About a month later, I bumped into our neighbor at one of the big-box stores. He told me that his wife was driving him crazy, constantly peering out the window to catch those #$^&^# flower-eating rabbits.
“Yeah, they’ve been in our yard, too,” I said.
Sorry, gotta go – more later.