May. 23, 2016

True Love and Homegrown Tomatoes...

“Well, there ain't nothin' in the world that I like better
Than bacon and lettuce and homegrown tomatoes
Up in the mornin', out in the garden
Get you a ripe one, hey, don't get a hard one

Plant 'em in the spring, eat 'em in the summer
All winter with out 'em's a culinary bummer
I forget all about the sweatin' and diggin'
Everytime I go out and pick me a big one

Homegrown tomatoes, homegrown tomatoes
What'd life be without homegrown tomatoes
Only two things that money can't buy
And that's true love and homegrown tomatoes.”

One of my very favorite singer-songwriters, Guy Clark, passed away last week and his song, “Homegrown Tomatoes” is one of his dearest to me. He goes on...

“When I die, don't bury me
In a box in a cemetery
Out in the garden would be much better
And I could be pushin' up homegrown tomatoes.”

I don’t really know what his final arrangements were, but I totally agree with Guy that the only two things that money can’t buy are true love and homegrown tomatoes. I’ve got the true love part going really nicely as I’ve been married to the love of my life, John, for 49 years now and we expect to be walking, talking and laughing together over the occasional homegrown tomato for many more years.

The tomato part’s not quite so easy. In my opinion, one of the horrors unleashed upon the world when Eve picked that forbidden fruit, making God really unhappy with her and with Adam, is the tomato worm. There you are, admiring your rapidly growing tomato plant, feeding it, talking to it, nurturing it and admiring those cute little green baby tomatoes...all is well in your particular Garden of Eden. Then one morning you walk out with your cup of coffee to find your tomato plant is in shreds! Leaves have been chomped to bits and all the little yellow blossoms signifying many more tomatoes on the way have been sucked dry, leaving nasty little brown blossomless husks. You stand there, mouth agape, in shock and horror. How could this devastation have taken place in just one night. Your eyes narrow into beady beacons of rage. Tomato worm!

With shaking fingers, you put your coffee down on the table where you frequently enjoy breakfast on sunny mornings while admiring your tomato plant. There is no enjoyment today. You search through your previously beautiful tomato, searching relentlessly for this spawn of Satan and find...nothing. You follow the icky little trail of black dots of tomato worm excrement and find...nothing. Heart pounding, you turn over every leaf and find...nothing.

In case you’ve never encountered one, tomato worms are huge. They are also the same color as tomato plants. Plant experts say they’re easy to find if you lightly spray your tomato plant with water. Ha! I say! And Ha! Again! You can spray water all day trying to get these big stinkers to show themselves, to no avail. What did I do? I went right back in the house and grabbed the Garden Safe Fungicide and sprayed the heck out of that tomato plant. Peace has returned to my front terrace tomato. New yellow blossoms have sprouted and one tomato is ripening nicely. Guy is absolutely right:

“Only two things that money can't buy
And that's true love and homegrown tomatoes.”

If you haven’t gotten yourself a tomato plant, zip on down to Home Depot and buy yourself a nice one with yellow blossoms on it. Show it to your true love and plan what you’ll do with all your homegrown tomatoes this summer.

“Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce.” Jer. 29:5