Monday, July 28, 2014


Picked my first tomato this morning. Or, rather, Bryan the new gardener picked the first tomato off my plant on the roof. He thought it wasn't quite ready, but we agreed that, left in my window, it would gain some color, leaving the plant to put its energy toward ripening the other eight or ten green tomatoes it currently bears. ("We agreed" is an overstatement. He said, and I nodded.)

The reason Bryan picked my tomato is that there is a technique to picking tomatoes, of which I was, of course, completely unaware and which I was unable to acquire by instruction. There is this little knuckle just up the stem from the tomato. You put your thumb against the knuckle and press and presto! change-o!, you've got a tomato to carry off. Probably everybody but me knew that, but now I know it too.

I actually carried off my tomato and a few mini-tomatoes from a flat Bryan was filling from ripe tomatoes on other people's plants that they have neglected to pick themselves. He plans to leave the flat opposite the elevator door for people to help themselves to.

Bryan is a recent graduate of plant-tending school. He lacks Steven's gravitas, but he has a youthful energy and kindness (he didn't laugh at me for not being able to press the tomato knuckle), and he clearly cares a lot about plants, not just professionally but in his heart. I like him.

It just now occurs to me that my writing is sounding a bit like the voice of Archie Goodwin, assistant to Nero Wolfe. This is because I'm re-reading Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe mysteries. The early ones are interesting for the cultural slip between the 1930s and now: no one could accuse Archie of being an early feminist. But the plots are sufficiently byzantine and the byplay sufficiently crackling to keep me happily ensconced. And my Kindle allows me to snap my fingers and get another one. I think my moral fiber is being undermined.

1 comment:

  1. How nice to have access to homegrown tomatoes!

    Moral fiber being undermined? Not to worry! Studies show that it can regenerate itself....