My neighbor, (I’ll call her Brenda for the sake of anonymity) is one of the best things that ever happened to me. She moved into my declining neighborhood and everything changed including my ability to grow good ole summer tomatuhs despite a severe lack of ample sun.
I’d been thinking of moving to one one of those “”happening” boomer neighborhoods which I really couldn’t afford if I wanted to continue being independently poor which suits me somehow.
Then about eight years ago Brenda moved into her old family home across the street and we pledged each other we would remain here until the bulldozer decided we needed to become a Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Brenda has all the characteristics you need in a top notch neighbor. She is like the sister I never had, and has become my “go to” person for advice on gardening, cooking, nursing, make-up (she owned the Merle Norman Studio for almost 30 years). Like me, she is the lover of all things old and she has become my worst nightmare because she does EVERYTHING BETTER THAN I DO!
I always aspired to be a sparkling socialite – someone everyone wants to emulate. Then I got this bunion on my left foot, could never wear cute shoes again, and faced the fact that I would be relegated to mediocre. I vowed to make the best of mediocre and have elevated it to a fine art.
Everything mediocre except for one thing, I plan to grow the earliest, most juicy and biggest tomatuh in my hood. Brenda had the gall to make the same claim so the race is on to see who can produce. Saturday was planting day and I watched her through my stadium binoculars to make sure she wasn’t somehow cheating. We’re both planting in big ole pots, a gift from Gene Merkl who had a few stashed behind his landscape business. I’m talking humongous – like 20 gallons. It took me three trips to the Co-op to get enough soil.
A guy strolled by my house as I was putting the finishing touches on my transplants. I was secretly outraged when he remarked that I probably have had “lots of experience since I’m no spring chicken.” Well, I never….
So,I HAVE been trying to grow prize tomatuhs for at least 20 years and should have it down by now. And true, the spring has left this chicken, but in my neck of the woods, I know for a fact that the older gents who congregate at the Happy Pants Cafe still think I am, in their parlance, one fine tomatuh.
I went out to check the tomatuhs this morning and they’re looking a big peaked – going through shock I guess, what with all the exhaust fumes from the passing parade of motorists. I’m on my way over to Brenda’s to make sure hers are wilting too.