Confessions of a Hose Dragger …

October 2020

Ode to the last tomato… You did well my little darling!  Our relationship lasted longer than I could have ever hoped for.  From a tiny seed planted in fresh, fragrant potting soil… caressed in the shelter of the gentle, warm basement… lovingly kissed by the warm rays of the fluorescent grow light… you sprouted!  The cold and dark of winter was unknown to you… reaching up, always up, you seemed to long to touch the stars, but alas, it was only the spider strewn webs infested across the basement joists that kept you anchored.  You never knew thirst… you never knew hunger…  taller and taller you grew and oh, how strong your stem became as mellow unearthly breezes from the oscillating fan stroked across your emerald green leaves!  How patient you were to come to know the delights of true nature!  Finally, finally, the day arrived for you to leave your protected nest and venture forth…  What a world, what a glorious world!  The sun so brilliant, the air so new.  Carefully shielding you from those first dizzy dazzling days was my greatest joy!   But oh, those fickle days of spring… the sudden wind, the sudden snow… how I yearned to keep you safe… and I did… we did…  we survived together… huddling in the darkness and relative security of the attached garage, we watched the heavens turn from magnificent blue to filmy white as fat, wet flakes of snow encrusted spring and held it hostage.  We ached for warmth… we ached for light.  Soon, a stronger more lasting spring soon emerged pushing back the final thrust of winter.  Oh, the elation!  Secured in your terra cotta throne you embraced life… you flourished, you bloomed, you were pollinated for the first time!  I was so pleased, watching you mature right before my eyes, where had the time gone?

As the height of summer came to us from the distant horizon, you began to bear fruit.  Small, green, and tiny at first but quickly developing into a magnificent, red, succulent orbs of tasty delight.  How impatient was I!  How greedy my thoughts were of your harvest.  Together we waited and braced ourselves against the onslaught of bacterial blight and horn worms.  In the glittering glow of fireworks raining down upon us, I picked your first fruit and wept with tears of anticipation…  you were so good, so very good.  Our relationship developed as you continued to produce.  Day after warm, sunny day, you gave, and you gave without taking…

Now, the winds of change are upon us.  Your leaves have faded to soft yellow and there is a quietness.  Now, the frenzy of the season has given way to melancholy… we know that our time together falls nigh…  We loved, we laughed, and we cried together…  I will never forget your joys that were consumed with such an enthusiasm that I have never known…  but in the end…

I knew you first… I knew you best… I knew you last…