Years ago my father and I were visiting his side of the family in Tennessee. We went to see my great uncle Pete, who took us out into his yard to show us his garden. I remember he walked over to a tall green plant growing beside his barn and cut off a few leaves with his pocket knife. He gave us each a leaf and put some in his mouth.

“You know what that is, Hal?”

We started munching on the stuff.

“That’s sassafras, Hal.”

Pete wandered away to check on his cantaloupes and my dad leaned in close to me and said, “You should spit that out. These are just weeds.”