A retro post from April 21, 2012.
We can’t force language to mean what we want. There is a social aspect of words and meaning that is undeniable and inflexible in the day to day parlance of natives. While over time, meanings change, and old words gain new meanings, when we talk about our salad days, it has a certain meaning here in Big Grove.
Shakespeare said it in 1606 in “Anthony and Cleopatra,” “My salad days, / When I was green in judgment, cold in blood…” The idiom came to mean a period of youthful inexperience or indiscretion. Around our house, it means the lettuce planted in early March is mature and over the next six weeks, we will have a lot of days of eating salad, our salad days.
If I were to commercialize our garden, lettuce would be important. At $3 per bag at the farmers market, the price is right to sell a lot of it. Too, there is a local restaurant market for fresh greens. What is not figured into the equation is the labor involved in picking and cleaning the greens, but with proper planting and marketing, a person could take in $60 to $100 per sales day from greens.
For now, we enjoy our salad days, knowing they won’t last long in the span of life. Last night the greens were topped with thinly sliced carrot and golden raisins. I found a bottle of store bought dressing in the refrigerator and used that. There are chives, sage, garlic and oregano in the garden, ready to be picked, chopped and added to the greens. There is almost always cheese to be crumbled on top. There are cans of kidney and garbanzo beans in the pantry. A host of variations on a theme as the salad days commence. My meaning, not Shakespeare’s.