Let’s take a trip back. Close your eyes.

Wait. I don’t think I thought that part out. OK, keep your eyes open. That part’s kind of important when it comes to reading.

As a child, when the sky radiated a delicate azure and the subtle smells of fresh mulch and barbecue enfolded my senses, I would wander through the neighborhood smiling as the tender blades of grass tickled my bare feet.

I never made friends in the spring. They just appeared. One second I was drawing in the dirt with a stick, and the next second there was someone else. And off we would go with only a gentle breeze and the promise of adventure to urge us along.

We weren’t children. We were artists. We didn’t need paints or brushes, just an empty field with a lush bed of soft grass.

And we didn’t walk across empty fields. We ran.

We ran as if there was nothing else in the world but the ground, our feet and the air which was sure to lift us into the sky and cradle us in the clouds if only we could run fast enough.

Sticks were swords for slaying dragons disguised as trees. A puddle was an ocean ripe for an epic voyage. Hills were the cliffs of Everest to roll down.

And dandelions.

Dandelions were troop transports. A carefully aimed burst of breath would send paratroopers into the sky. Skillfully, they’d land in the forest beneath our feet. Their mission was classified, but we assumed they probably rode ants into battle against giant snakes that spat poison.

I can’t tell you how many times I absent-mindedly plucked a dandelion and sent a squad of troops flying. Hundreds, perhaps?

But this year the dandelions have returned. They want revenge.

I was a fool. They’ve been scouting me for years, and last year I ignored them. I even laughed as my daughter scooped them up and blew them into the wind like I once did.

Now they have an army.

The first attack was last week. I was backing out of the driveway and a hundred or so had seized my mailbox. Their blank soulless white heads shook in the wind beckoning, “Come at us, Bro.”

And I did. May God have mercy on me, I did. I sprayed them all with chemicals, every last one of them. I even sprayed the yellow ones.

In the morning the carnage was complete. The lifeless stalks, fallen in defiance, surrounded the front of my lawn. But there was no joy for me.

I can still see them at the park across the street. Thousands of them. They’re waiting. One mistake. That’s all they want. One little mistake…

— Steve Mullen [friday] editor | Dandelion Tamer

Digital Content Editor, Steve Mullen, can be reached at 765-454-8569, by email at steve.mullen@indianamediagroup.com or on Twitter @SRMullenKT.

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