Jodie-Lee will never know if the professor’s hunch that tomatoes cause cancer is true. She’s dead.
I mean, what can one do? The next door neighbours have been very kind. When my little girl was ill and I had to spend a lot of time with her in the hospital, the neighbours came over and mowed my lawn. Wasn’t that kind? I am a keen gardener and my property is not exactly tiny, so the lawn takes over an hour to mow. But that was no trouble to Nadine and Todrick, and what a lovely surprise to get home and see the lawn all shipshape.
Now it’s the end of the harvest season and the shops haven’t messed around in putting the price of vegetables way up. Tomatoes especially are a hideous price. So I picked the last of my tomatoes just before the cold weather set in, and I’ve been ripening them in a turkey dish sitting in the sun on my dining table. When they are all ripe I’m going to put them in a bag and take them over to Nadine and Todrick’s by way of thanks.
At least, that was the plan. My mother came in to baby sit my little girl while I went job hunting. It’s almost impossible these days to be a parent and look for a job. Once a job is found it’s easier to settle into some sort of routine. But looking for a job is erratic and hit-and-miss.
Anyway, when I got home my mother had kindly cut the tomatoes up and had made a green tomato pickle. That was sweet of her, but the taste is atrocious. I couldn’t possibly give the neighbours a jar of this pickle so now I’m all at sixes and sevens as to how I should thank them for their kindness.
Oh thank goodness! There is a God after all! I have just heard that Todrick is in hospital and gravely ill. Nadine spends all her time at the hospital of course. It will give me the opportunity to mow their lawn.
Leigh was into health food. She had an overabundance of tomatoes this year and decided to make and freeze some soup.
Of course, the thing she most disliked about making tomato soup was skinning the tomatoes, and removing the seeds. Seeds in tomato soup! Never! All the recipes said to take them out, and she did. What a task!
And so to make some healthy bread. Now where did she put that carton of seeds?
Anyway, Gilbert had always grown tomatoes. And now he was eighty-four and the doctor had said something like “Another four months and you’ll be gone.”
Eighty-four is not too bad a number, thought Gilbert. And he had just enough time he hoped to plant some tomatoes, now that the frosts had passed. He should get a few fresh tomatoes before the hearse called in to pick him up.
The tomato vines were loaded. It was as if they knew this would be Gilbert’s final season and they poured out their gratitude for his seventy years or so of caring for tomatoes. There were dozens and dozens of tomatoes just beginning to ripen.
And then… and then… (I know, dear Reader, that you think he’s going to drop dead before he gets to eat a tomato, but he doesn’t. In fact he’s still feeling quite good, especially with the medication). And then… and then… just as the dozens and dozens of tomatoes were beginning to ripen, some thief came in the middle of the night and pinched the lot.
Anyway, as it turned out, it was Gilbert’s last tomato season.