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APRIL 15, 2011 12:07AM

Thoughts of life and death on a spring morning

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  Art by Jymi Cliche.

  Part 1

  Today in my yard I saw the first
  violets of spring. As a sometime
  gardener and a lackadaisical
  weeder, I know full well that  violets, though pretty in April, take up valuable lawn space and leave room for weeds to take over later in the summer. Doesn't matter. I still love my violets.

I remember as a child when the violets bloomed my mother and I would head out early in the morning to pick bouquets. We'd cut through our neighbor's backyard--now sadly blocked by newer neighbors' fences--across the baseball field, and into the woods. The hidden patch of tiny purple flowers by the woods' edge always sparked my imagination. I was sure they were conjured up by fairies. Back at home we'd carefully wrap the violets in cones of  aluminum foil packed with a wet paper towel to keep them fresh, then I'd present the bouquet to my teacher.

When fifth grade hit I got shy; my teacher was male and it's possible I had a crush on him. Maybe not, but either way I was embarrassed to bring him those violets. Don't only women and girls like flowers?

What my mom told me: Maybe since he's a man, no one else brings him flowers, so it was even more important to give him the violets. And so I did.

Part 2

Recently I was reading a mystery  by Aaron Elkins. about a forensic bone scientist.  Just a professor, the main character somewhat unbelievably --but always entertainingly--encounters corpses on a regular basis. Well, not exactly corpses, but the partial skeletal remains of them. In one book he investigated the charred remains of an arson victim. Perhaps too graphically he pointed out that a burnt corpse smells disturbingly like a steak barbecue but looks ghastly, confusing the senses and making one gag.

Which reminds me of the day, when I was very young, that I asked my father why we didn't eat people meat. I mean if somebody died, and was still fresh, why didn't humans eat it? Not that I wanted to. It was more of a philosophical question.

What my dad told me: "We don't eat human flesh because what would happen if we found out we liked it?" Good point.

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Uh..good answer? Charred flesh does NOT smell like steak. Take my word on it. The gag part is true. ☺
@Satori. Oh goodness, I don't really know why you know this.
Nothing sinister. I gave anesthesia in an operating room for 30 years. With the advent of the "bovie" instead of the scalpel..so that one can cut and cauterize at the same time--the smell fills the OR. Not pleasant. Not steak.
Interesting post, amazing what we think of as children....