Friday’s Weekend Column
First Tomato

by James Glaser
July 22, 2005

That first ripe tomato of the year is never the biggest and maybe it isn't the most beautiful, but for sure it is the best tasting. I sliced this year's first, and used a little salt and olive oil on it. I savored every bite.

I had planned to make a bacon, spinach, tomato, on toast with a tad of mayo, but I kept thinking that I needed to have this first one a little more plain. Soon I will be eating them every way I can think of as after that first one comes, many follow.

My daughter Nikky, and son Garrett, came up here this weekend. Nikky left her baby at home and had a couple of days with her brother and dad. We, or I should say Garrett and I ate way too much. Garrett showed me some new things on the computer. Every time he comes up, he gives me a lesson, and I do retain at least one thing. He and I took everything down from the second floor of the workshop, so I could sort through it for the auction. I asked Nikky what she wanted to do and she said all she wanted was to take a nap and have no one call her name until she woke on her own. She rested for about a half hour and said that was fine... it was a real pleasure.

The two of them took my walk with me and on the way home we stopped and looked at Marble's chickens. I think they will have a hard time butchering them, as every cute little chick has a name. They tell me that in six weeks they will be about six pounds. Makes you wonder how old the chickens the Colonel sells are.

Right when we left the chicken tour and started on our way back home, an incredible down pour started and we got soaked, but it was a warm rain and it felt great.

In the afternoon we were down on the dock with our feet in the water, talking. It is times like that, when you notice how grown up your children are, and how easy it is for the two of them to slip back into being kids again. I guess I will always think of them as teenagers in the back of my mind, but the truth is, that they are both responsible adults that any parent would be proud to call their own.

I wanted them to see some wildlife on the walk, but I guess it was just too hot and all the animals were lying low in the shade, back in the woods. Three times this week I have seen the triplets. Three little tiny fawns, who jump and play in a field down the road. I have seen them about a dozen times and they are getting bigger, but they were very tiny and I bet I saw them either on the day they were born or close to it. Their mother always looks very serious, but she must know by now that I am going to walk right past. I do slow down though and watch the three of them run through the hay field. They have little paths, as the grass is taller than they are, and as they run away, they disappear in it.

This time of year the Farmers Market is going strong. People are bringing all sorts of greens, beets, onions, radishes, beans, peas, cookies, fresh baked bread and rolls, strawberries and raspberries, pickled beets, cucumbers, and pickles.

Last week I said, "Oh, I should have brought tomatoes." Everyone looked up and said, "You have tomatoes?" This week I will bring a couple, kind of like "Gardener's show and tell." Tomatoes are like the Queen of vegetables up here and everyone grows them, even if they grow nothing else.

We had another funeral this week and the whole service was done at the cemetery. Some of the guys in the Honor Guard are either close to or in their 80s. The Minister went on and on and he might have been saying some good things, but he had his back to us and we couldn't hear anything. The veteran who had died, served in WW II and he told the story of how after the war was over, he was stationed in a city in Germany which had never been bombed. The bad thing he said was that the city thirty miles down the road was a pile of rubble and on days that the wind blew from there, the stench of the dead, made everyone feel sick.

So while that Minister went on and on, I was thinking about that story and other stories from veterans whose funeral I had attended. When everything was done with, I had coffee at the cafe with a couple of the guys, and they told me they had been thinking the same thing. I think the anticipation of hearing "Taps," and the folding of the flag, and the presentation of it to the wife or daughter, gets everyone in a reflective mood. Some guys get a tear in their eye, every time they hear Taps played. I am one of them.

I am still working on getting everything ready for the auction and it is like a constant trip down Memory Lane. Some things I look at mean nothing, others make me laugh, and others make me happy sad. I am making progress and I will be ready on time, exhausted, but ready on time.

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