Dandelions and Dad’s Birthday

Dandelions on Jackson Courthouse lawn 04-15-2014Everybody talks about the pretty fall colors, but I like coming back to the Midwest to see things returning to life in the spring. Nothing says spring like bright green clover and balls of yellow dandelions.

These dandelions on the Jackson Courthouse lawn were flashing yellow caution lights warning us not to get too comfortable even though the mercury was creeping into the upper 70s. Winter, apparently wasn’t done with us yet, because those warm temps were replaced by freeze warnings.

Near Pleasant Hill Presbyterian Church

Dandelions near Pleasant Hill Presbyterian Chuch 04-15-2014Reader and railroad buff Keith Robinson tipped me off that one of Louis Houck’s railroad depots was still standing in Fruitland, so Mother and I headed up there to check it out. You’ll get to see it after I’ve done a bit more research.

Knowing Mother’s desire to find a road she’s never been on before, I turned onto 541 off of Hwy 61. Before long, we were at a well-preserved Pleasant Hill Presbyterian Church and cemetery. That, too, will be a future post.

Beyond it, we passed a whole field of dandelions flashing caution signs at us. I know some folks call them weeds, but I think they’re pretty.

Dad would be 97 today

LV Steinhoff in 1959 Buick LaSabre station wagon 1961L.V. Steinhoff was born April 17, 1917. He would be 97 today had he not died in 1977. This picture of Dad behind the wheel of our 1959 Buick LaSabre station wagon, ever-present cigarette in hand, had to have been taken about 1961, because he gave up smoking about two years later. I spent many a mile looking at this profile and I’d love to see it again. This post will tell you a little about who he was.

Because he and his two brothers were dead by 60, I never thought I’d make it past that birthday.

I guess it’s a healthy sign that I just mentioned two future stories. When I was 59, I was much more cautious about making plans for tomorrows. I told Curator Jessica on one of our road trips last year that I was taking out five-year options now. When I hit 67, I figured I’d make it to 72; when I get there, I’ll see if I can renew the lease.

9 Replies to “Dandelions and Dad’s Birthday”

  1. Beautiful picture of your dad. It seems this year that dandelions have taken over Cape Girardeau. Keep up the good writing Ken.

  2. Oh, I was just saying yesterday how much I love dandelions! The highway right-of-way in front of the Dexter Wal-mart is solid yellow with the humble little weed! I remarked to my BFF that if the dandelion didn’t go to seed like it does, it would be the perfect spring flower!
    We’re also having good luck with a basket of electric yellow pansies that we bought at the Mennonite nursery in Aquilla a couple of weeks ago. They’re hanging in JD’s back yard from the branch of his friendly little willow tree, just below the robin’s nest. No matter how cold this Missouri spring gets, little pansy faces smile back at us, as we look out the dining room window.
    How sweet that dandelions remind you of your dad! My dad was born on the 4th of July, so my sister and I remember him on that day every year. He would be 103, if he were still living.
    This was a very pleasant blog to wake up to this morning, Ken. When I’m gone, I hope that a flower reminds my children of me. I recently made a trip to Memphis to help my daughter plant flowers for her little front porch, so there’s a good chance that she’ll remember me in the springtime…

  3. I’ve noticed that the dandelions in my neighborhood are much larger than normal this year. Many blooms are silver-dollar-size. I wonder if this is a some type of sign – like the wooly worms?

    PS to Ken: I have a suggestion for a blog topic, as part of your ‘old buildings’ series: Cheney Hall on the SEMO campus would make a great study, and would likely evoke some great memories for those readers who called that place ‘home’ during their college years.

  4. Thanks Ken for posting the little flowers that are no match for a certain 92 year-old woman and her riding mower. As soon as their yellow heads appear, she fires up the mower to show them who controls the grass.

    And thanks for the birthday post too…

    “It’s so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.”
    ― John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent

  5. You know that you can eat dandelion greens, right? And that they sell for a pretty penny down here in South Florida in the produce section? (We don’t have dandelions like you do…they must prefer cold winters, like the bulbs…or must be especially enticing to nematodes.)
    Please shoot photos of bulbs blooming: daffodils, irises, hyacinths, tulips – all those things we can’t have down here!

  6. I’ve noticed the dandelions this year, too. Very prolific. If you want a slightly different perspective drive by 2007 Yorktown Dr. Purple deadnettle and henbit show off a purple lawn interlaced with yellow dandelions. Its starting to fade a little now.

  7. Like your father Ken, mine died young, two months before his 54th birthday, back in May of 1975. My clearest memory of him was the sound of his opening his Zippo lighter to fire up another unfiltered Camel cigarette, the brand he had smoked since he was about 12 or 13 until the day he died. My brother Jim and I didn’t think we’d live past my dad’s 53 years. Well, we’ve made it so far (64 and 66). By the way, if dandelions were hard to raise, everyone would want a yard full of them. That was a great picture of those of those dandelion blossoms. They are colorful and hearty.

  8. Looks like a perfect year for Dandelion Wine. My first sip of alcohol was some my roommate’s father made. It was a tasty treat and a beautiful color. I’ve not encountered it since. They lived in East Alton.

  9. Hey Steph this is george davis who worked with your dad Virgil. I wondered if you were still in Cape. You evidently don’t have a land line and I cannot give you my email address here but I am in the phone as G. E. Davis if you should want to contact me about anything related to Borden.

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