Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Ronald Tipton and Patrick Flynn, 2017.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Glory Be, the Lord Must Know How I love Tomatoes!

A lot of people not in the know think Adam and Eve ate an apple. I like apples, too, but if God wanted to challenge my obedience and make it difficult to resist temptation, the Forbidden Fruit would have been a Tomato. (And just recently it was, but more of that later.)

The tomato is a fruit, you know. How do you know? It has seeds. So are cucumbers, green beans and squash - fruit, that is, but this whole vegetable fruit thing gets all confused.

When I was a teenager one of my summer jobs was loading tomato trucks to haul this fruit to the ketchup (or catsup if you prefer) factories. That was hard labor. These were flatbed trailers on 18-wheelers, perhaps 50 feet long and over 8 feet wide and you stacked these bushel baskets well above my head, and I was six foot by then. That is a lot of hoisting and lifting and stacking, all out in the open farm fields of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in the hot July and August sun.

This was Amish country and the baskets would arrive at truck side on horse drawn wagons. The
bearded-farmer and perhaps his fresh-faced son would hand up the baskets (which usually came on more than one wagon) and the truck driver and I would begin stacking them from the front to the back. For a teenage boy high on hormones the one reward (besides the pay of $10.00 per load) were the spectators. Those rosy-cheeked Amish girls would gather along the side and gawk at us all the live-long day, silent and smiling.  They had rosy cheeks and twinkling eyes and it made you feel quite the little celebrity.

One summer before I had worked the fields of a Chester County farm picking tomatoes. I was the guy shuttling along the vines filling the baskets. It was still July and August and the sun was still hot, and the  tomatoes were lighter one by one than lifting a whole basket, but the job was just plain miserable. It was dusty and every time you plucked off a fruit the Daddy-Long-Legs would come scrambling out of the vines and up your arms. And there weren't any pretty bystander females to boost your ego; nothing but some other dirt-encrusted, sweating guys swatting away the the Harvestman arachnids.

Now you're probably thinking with that kind of background relationship with tomatoes I would hate
them. But you'd be wrong. I love tomatoes. You give me a plate of sliced beefsteak tomatoes with some corn-on-the-cob and it is as good as a Thanksgiving dinner to me. I love tomatoes in my sandwiches, in my salads, stewed or as a soup. You'd be surprised, maybe, by how hard it is to escape the tomato. The stuff is in a lot of sauces, so you get pasta you often get some form of tomato extract draped upon it. They are in that covering under the cheese and pepperoni of your pizza and forming a dark, delicious lake around your franks and beans. There those pieces falling out of your taco and that color in your hoagie; oh man, the hoagie! And how many things go better with the aforementioned ketchup?

But three weeks ago I was told no more tomatoes, not in soups, not sliced, diced or chopped, not fried or stewed, not as juice, ketchup or sauce, probably told not even to look at pictures of them. This was the forbidden fruit along with onions and mustard and coffee and chocolate and...well, basically, if I liked it, I couldn't have it. Speaking, as we did earlier, of Adam and Eve, I kinda felt like they must have after being booted from the Garden. No more tomatoes, utter despair!

And you go to a restaurant and try and find anything on the menu that doesn't contain tomato, mustard, garlic, onions, spices or a whole chorus of joyeous songs of flavors now banned from my concert. Forgit'about it!

But today I went back to the Star Trek Doctor, who went where no man had gone before, peeking
through my body from both ends. That probing had occurred three weeks ago and today was the summarization of the voyage. Captain's Log May 1, 2013, the biopsies were negative. The bleeding ulcer in the duodenum was cauterized, I guess, at least no more bleeding, but the angioectasia in the cecum (dilated blood vessels in the colon) weren't because, "If it ain't broke, we don't fix it". There is nothing cancerous.  The only new medication is a prescription for omeprazole (the active ingredient in Prilosec), which will join my Levothyroxine as a morning ritual for the next 30 years. I know, I'm being awfully optimistic since I am almost 72 now.

I write this with appreciation to those who were concerned for my well-being and for the prayers of those I know prayed regularly for my health and cure.

I prayed, too, and God heard and answered kindly back. He gave me back the tomato!

1 comment:

slugmama said...

So glad you may resume your love affair with the tomato, et al.

Try being told to go on a no sodium diet instead. You can not avoid salt in our modern world. You wanna piss off deli clerks at the grocery store? Ask them the sodium % in every item you are considering purchasing. I can just feel the love every time I go back to the deli since I did that.