Monday, August 02, 2004

What a pitiful, pitiful year for tomatoes we are having. It's hard to say what is wrong, apart from the heavy rains for a while.

Lyman accuses the pecan tree next door of casting too long a shadow over his garden plot. With the agreement of the neighbor, that will be removed this week, too late for much help this season.

I was hoping to can this year. Home-canned tomatoes in winter soups, stews and pastas are hard to beat. They're good gifts, too.

When I married Lyman, I didn't know the first thing about canning. A retired USAF officer, since deceased, taught me how. He was best friend to my father-in-law. He and Lyman used to compete and trade tips on growing tomatoes.

One year when the crop started coming in at a pace, he called me in the morning and said "Get ready. I'm bringing my equipment." He brought his pressure canner, funnel and tongs. I had laid in the jars, lids, lemons and salt. We worked together until the lids were ready to pop. "I'm going home to get a shower. I usually sit down, open a beer and listen."

We had taken a flat of tomatoes from his garden to share with my family for Thanksgiving in Dallas when Big Daddy called to say he had died after cancer surgery. Miss him still.

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