Monday, May 18, 2009
I went to Fort Knox on Friday. Fort Knox sits on the Penobscot River in Prospect, Maine overlooking Bucksport. I had never been there before. Growing up, when my parents were referring to someplace heavily secured, they'd say "It's locked up tighter than Fort Knox." I always thought they meant this Fort Knox,
not the U.S. Treasury Mint. Both forts were named after Major General Henry Knox, America's first Secretary of War. Maine's Fort Knox was built between 1844 and 1864 from locally quarried granite. The dandelions were blooming, the sun was shining and it could not have been prettier. One of my fondest memories of nursing school wasn't about nursing school at all: it was of making dandelion wine with my classmates. This was not a sanctioned past time for young nursing students. However, on a bright, sunny day just like this one, we walked the median strip of Route 295 picking dandelion blossoms. We stuffed trash bags full until we could hardly drag them back to our car. Then we concocted the elixir that would become wine in a month or so. We were seventeen with loose, flowing hair and cut off denim shorts. We had ample attention from passers-by who honked wildly. I'm sure that there weren't any dandelions at Fort Knox when it was garrisoned. It was probably packed earth and not a green thing to meet the granite. But I would rather think of those seventeen year old soldiers making dandelion wine than loading guns with cannon balls.