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Wednesday, August 15, 2007


This time of year, you might see milkweed pods -- those little, white, wispy things that float by in the summertime.

When we were kids, we called them "wishes." Catch one, and you can make a wish. It didn't matter whether or not the wish ever came true. When you're a little kid, the very act of wishing is an end unto itself.

Later in life, I heard someone call them "money-stealers." If you let one touch you, your piggy bank or your wallet might get a little lighter.

That's quite a difference in definitions. If you're in the "wish" camp, you run after these things. If you're in the "money-stealer" camp, you run FROM them.

Today, I was nearby to a woman I know and her little angel of a granddaughter, who is just under 3 but is very articulate for her age. A milkweed pod was floating by. I heard the little girl say, "What's that?" Nana didn't see the milkweed pod, so I thought I would step in and answer. I had a split-second debate: "Do I say 'wish' or 'money-stealer'?"

(As I've shared before, we Irish are superstitious. My answer could be the chaos theory in action. My gentle influence could decide whether this little girl will consider milkweed pods to be friends or foes for the rest of her life! It's a responsibility not to be taken lightly.)

"That's a wish," I said.

The little angel smiled. I think she "got" it right away. I made the right choice. Those things don't steal your money. They grant wishes.


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