By any other name


William Shakespeare once wrote, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Yours Truly has just written, “A dandelion by any other name is still a dandelion.” What do these two statements have in common, you may ask?

The answer to that question has just destroyed a cherished childhood memory of mine from that old familiar street not so far away called Flamingo. And it was The Wife who smashed it to bits.

A rose is a rose even if you call it by a different name, but it seems this Shakespearean fact doesn’t apply to dandelions. A dandelion called by a different name is simply a weed with a yellow flower on top. Somehow this factoid has been completely missed by Yours Truly for the last 60 years.

It recently came to light on an early morning golf cart ride with The Wife to our sleepy zombie-filled downtown. On our route we passed a yard completely covered with those little yellow flowers. Recent rain had them springing up everywhere like the weeds they are. My casual comment, “Those yellow flowers cover that entire yard” was met with an equally casual comment by The Wife.

“Those aren’t flowers. They’re dandelions. And they are weeds.” Hearing this ridiculous statement had me laughing and running off the road.

Living in the South all of my life, there’re a few things I’m certain of: The Varsity is the best place for a chili cheese hot dog and onion rings, the Braves and Falcons can be in the playoffs every year, the Fabulous Fox is indeed fabulous, and dandelions are white balls of poof the size of a golf ball that spring up just about everywhere. Children delight in blowing those seed poof balls and watching as they’re carried off by the wind. I’ve been one of them. All that changed during that infamous golf cart ride last weekend.

After regaining control of the golf cart, I realized The Wife was serious about her ridiculous claim. She actually believed that a yellow flower could somehow magically turn into a white poof ball dandelion. I took into account that she isn’t a native Georgian and she’s only been down here for the last 22 years. How could she possible be educated on all the nuances of living in Georgia?

A week doesn’t go by during the summer that I don’t surprise her by bring inside a new insect for her and our two granddaughters to look at. After all, the wonders of Mother Nature are indeed boundless, but a yellow flower somehow turning into a white poof ball dandelion from my childhood? Don’t think so.

For the rest of the morning we enjoyed walking through the many shops of our small town while dodging all of the zombies. Yes, that show is again filming and our town is ground zero for zombie, walkers, and stalkers.

We finally made it out to Twin Lakes and began feeding the many ducks. Still, even the sight of nine little ducklings cheeping and waddling past us couldn’t erase worry from my mind. Just how do I tell The Wife she is so incredibly wrong about yellow flowers turning into dandelions?

I decided to consider what Shakespeare’s Falstaff proclaimed, “Discretion is the better part of valor.” So I didn’t say anything … until.

With our day almost done, we rode our golf cart down the pathway back to our house. We both were looking forward to our date with an adult beverage and relaxing in our now finished backyard oasis.

That is, until we passed the yard filled with those yellow flowers. The wife started to giggle, “Still don’t believe those yellow flowers are dandelions?”

“Lived in the South all my life. I know what dandelions are. Those aren’t them.”

Once home, I went to our swing built for two. The Wife went to the house and then came out with two adult beverages. She also brought something else – proof. Sitting down she showed me a time-lapse video: “Life of a Dandelion.”

Sure enough, it starts out as a weed, then transforms into a yellow flower that eventually dies, turning into – you guessed it – a white ball of fluff.

But for this Georgia Boy, a dandelion by any other name is still a dandelion.

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001. To read more of Rick’s stories, visit his blog:]