Monday, November 4, 2013


     My mother took a botany class in college and became a self-styled naturalist. After we had all left home and started families of our own, she became a docent for the Snake Lake Nature Center. Mom enjoyed taking her grandchildren on walks around the lake, pointing out wildlife and teaching them the names of plants. She often quoted the old adage: leaves of three leave them be, to warn us away from poison ivy, and taught us how to identify deadly nightshade.

     One day as she was leading two of my nephews along a path through the wooded wetlands, she plucked a leaf from a plant, popped it in her mouth and began to chew. “Nettles,” she announced happily, “you can eat nettles.” Then her expression suddenly changed to one of growing alarm. “Wait…mah tong ith goin num!” Poor Mom, either she didn’t know or had forgotten that, while stinging nettles are edible, they must first be cooked or soaked in water in order to remove the plant chemical that makes them sting.

We miss our Mom.


  1. Oh my, poor Mom! I didn't know that about nettles. Isn't there something called Nettle soup?

  2. That's a darling story and I bet your nephews have loved retelling it on family occasions. It's great that she followed her interest in botany to teach others at the nature center. I'm sorry that she is no longer here. My own mother turned 89 the other day and is in a nursing home. My sisters sent me pictures of their birthday celebration with her and she was smiling while wearing the fancy Halloween mask I sent her along with a birthday card, the blue feathers it was trimmed in matching the blue blouse she wore that day.

    May I also thank you for your thoughtful comment you left for me (since I was not able to email you back). It meant a lot to me that you actually named your favorite posts. It made me want to write more that you would like! Thank you!