2. My dad and mom went on a trip to Australia. I'll miss not having them here, but my mom seldom does anything for herself, so I'm really happy to see her take a trip and rest a bit.
3. My dad took my (mostly) finished manuscript on the trip so he can start editing. All I lack is the concluding chapter and looking up a few more quotes.
My wife and I bought some bacon about a week ago with the intention of making bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches. We decided not to buy the produce until we were sure we were going to make them so that it wouldn't go bad. Last night, we decided that today was the day, and we went to the grocery store to buy the lettuce and the tomatoes. My wife went off to grab the lettuce and left me to choose the tomatoes. I've picked out tomatoes all my life, so the choice was easy. I knew we didn't want Roma's because they weren't good for that type of sandwich. The other choices were some orange looking ones, and some beautiful, medium sized red ones that were "fresh off the vine" -a new phenomenon here in the states that really just means that they are still on their vines and that they cost more.
As I grabbed them, their sweet perfume wafted up and I couldn't help but smile a little. That smell has meant so many things to me in my life, all of them wonderful. My wife caught up with me and I didn't have much time to think about the scent, so I bagged them and we checked out. It wasn't until we got home and I sat down in our "reading chair" that I smelled my fingers, which still smelled of the tomatoes, and had a moment to think about what all that smell meant to me. It turns out that there were three things that the smell reminded me of, all three of them people.
The first person was Great Grandpa Paul. So many of my memories are of his garden. I remember thinking it was huge when I was younger, but looking at it now, it's really just normal sized for anyone living in the country with some land. In his garden was usually corn, and a few other things, but it always had tomatoes. Beef Masters were his favorite. They grew in little bushes and he always fought off the dry heat of Arizona and parasites to ensure a good harvest. Some of my fondest memories are of the two of us watching water slowly run down each row, and smelling the tomatoes when we picked one or two.
The second person was my dad. As I've said before, my dad is a bit eccentric when he sets his mind to something, but he's innovative as well. When we moved to 'the big city' - which was really just Orem, but it seemed big- my dad got the idea that we needed a garden, but we had very little space for one. So, he learned how to make certain tomato breeds climb a piece of twine, so as to keep them off the ground and use what little gardening space we had. He liked Early Girls and Better Boys. They both climb and both produce quickly. My dad got them to grow so well that they stood taller than a full grown man, and the tomatoes were between a baseball and a softball, I'm not exaggerating. I remember being outside in the summer time, helping my dad water them or picking some for dinner and the sweet aroma of the tomatoes filling, what felt like, every nook and cranny of my soul. I love summers and part of summers are tomatoes.
The third and last person I thought of was my sister. She was always more involved with the garden than I was. I enjoyed watering and eating the tomatoes, fresh off the vine and still warm from the sun. She loved those things too, but she loved working at making things grow. So, my parents gave her some cherry tomato plants, and she went to work, having them climb a post next to the house. When the summer was over the plant was taller than the house and had some of the best cherry tomatoes you've ever tasted. Every once and a while I'd sneak one of them and if she caught me she'd get mad because they were hers and I needed to ask if I was going to eat one.
Mostly tomatoes make me think of happy times. Gardening, lazy summer days, or preparing for a nice meal with the freshest of produce. So, it was no wonder that Ridley's "Fresh Off the Vine" tomatoes made me smile. They make me think of great people, and great times.
Have a nice day.