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There's magic in them thar vines.   —   Personal

Last night on my way home from work I stopped off at the grocery store to pick up one item. A red-vine tomato. Usually the winter batches of fresh produce in my local grocery store are less than glorious. I'm forced to settle for tomatoes that are too small or too orange or too soft or damaged. But last night, after some digging, I came across the perfect specimen. This tomato was beautiful. Its red was so deep and luscious that it looked like it pulsated with life. Its size was a perfect handful, just right for a burger. It was firm, yet tender. Unblemished. It was my prize.

And it was $1.23. Jeepers!

I asked the teenage polish girl who was my cashier not to bag the tomato. She kept with the trend of all of the teenage polish cashier girls in my grocery store and went on eating her potato chips, speaking rapid polish in girly tones to the other cashiers, and ignored me.

After she placed my receipt, without a glance, in the vicinity of the plastic bag that held my tomato, I shot her a queer look and snatched my tomato from the bag and went on my way out the door and into the street.

If anyone would have told me when I was a little girl that I would someday be walking down a street in New York City holding a tomato and pressing it to my nose for four blocks, I would have promptly replied, "I hate tomatoes". But such is no longer the case and one of my favorite smells is that of an unwashed red-vine tomato. All the way home my mind flashed images like a View Finder of autumn in the woods, carving pumpkins, laying in the grass, and the smell your skin, hair, and clothes get after a full day of playing outside in the fresh spring air. Quite simply, this tomato smelled like freedom. It smelled like laughter. It smelled like smiles. It smelled like careless afternoons turned in to careless evenings. It smelled like my parents, and my childhood, and Colorado, and every Halloween I've ever had. But the one thing it absolutely did not smell like was New York City. And for that, I loved that little tomato. And I was sorry to slit its little tomato throat with my sharp blades so that my burger would be all the more juicy. But I'm comforted by the fact that at least for now, I carry a little bit of that tomato with me, it's a part of me now, through consumption.

At least, until it isn't.

Posted 2.23.2006 1:07:05 PM

Dad wrote:
Did my daughter say "BURGER", as in meat, surely the distasteful word soy must have been omitted because it is used so naturally with its comsumption.
Nothing like a burger deluxe from the local Coney back home, overly juicy with a big slab of vine grown tomato on top..........um um good. No soy for this boy.
Posted 2/25/2006 10:49:28 AM
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