Dandelions for Patti

Dandelions for Patti

Patti loves eating dandelions, and will often catch the attention of one of the caregivers as they walk past, and point to a patch of them growing next to an outdoor enclosure just out of her reach. Today she got my attention with a few well-chosen raspberry sounds, and pointed to the hill behind the front enclosure. This hill is usually full of the yellow flowers she loves to snack on but today it was mostly covered in the white, puffy balls dandelion flowers turn into after they bloom. I turned to Patti apologetically (“Sorry, Pats, no flowers today…”) but she continued to motion towards the dandelions, vigorously shaking her hand at them and grunting emphatically as my hands got close. “You want these?” I asked her as I picked a few and skeptically offered them to her. I expected her to respond with a frustrated grunt at my mistake but was surprised as she eagerly grabbed them from me and pulled them through the mesh, stuffing the ends into her mouth and severing the stem right before it met the head, so the white puffy ball of seeds fluttered slowly to the ground. Then she shook her hand at me for more. “Seriously?” I asked her in surprise. “You want the stems?” I grabbed another handful of dandelions and passed them to her, and she happily munched them down immediately. I have been picking dandelions for Patti for the past three years, but always pulled the flower off of the stem before handing it to her. It never occurred to me that she would enjoy the entire plant. I immediately began gathering all of the dandelions in sight, passing Patti giant bunches every few minutes, and reveling in the ecstatic food grunts she rewarded me with as she happily gobbled down an entire hill of dandelion stems. When I finally took my leave, she was still stuffing dandelions into her mouth, fistful after fistful, her body now covered in the white seeds, and her happy grunts trailing after me as I walked away. I can’t tell you how rewarding and heartwarming it was to make Patti’s day with something as simple as dandelion stems. What a perfect way to end the week.

Rachel