And, as always, because I can, I declare today another Flashback Friday.
(It's nice having your own imaginary world to rule. I highly recommend it whenever I meet another delightfully obnoxious egomaniac. It's quite choice.)
Today is about more than (just) being lazy, however. I'm kicking off Father's Day weekend with a memory of the man who called me his "Tomato Girl."
Papa, this one was, is, and will always be, for you:
It's A Happy Tomato Kind of Day
My favorite food hands-down (and I've tasted plenty to compare) is tomatoes.
I am, in fact, a tomato snob. I would rather go without than eat a sub-par, off-season, mealy, refrigerated (oh, the horror!) sorry excuse for my beloved red globes of joy.
This morning, Jamie and I went to market. I now have a ceramic bowl on my counter overflowing with tomatoes in various stages of ripeness, just waiting to make me happy. This is not an adult-acquired taste, but rather one cultivated at an early age in the dark, black soil of the Calumet Region of Northern Indiana.
My sweetest childhood memories are of gathering that day's vegetable yield from my Papa's garden. Snap beans, green onions, peppers, radishes, zucchini, and more would be plucked from their plants, each selected by Papa's knowing eye. The tomatoes, however, held no mystery. I knew exactly which were ready to pluck, which were salvageable from the ground, and which would be ready tomorrow. Best of all, I knew which ones would never make it across the yard and into the sink for washing. Those were carefully wiped with Papa's handkerchief and handed to me. They felt firm but tender in my hand, and with the warmth of the sun, I think I imagined them pulsing with life. I would lift them to my face with both hands. Mouth open as wide as possible, I'd bite the fragile skin and feel the fruit explode in my mouth, laughing and slurping as it squirted everywhere.
I close my eyes and can still feel the hot black earth between my toes, the calloused skin of Papa's hands, and the sun on my skin. I smell a comforting melange of dirt, onions, and pipe tobacco. I hear the whir of dragonflies, chirping of birds, the creak of a screen door, and Nana's voice call out, "Reg!" And I taste heaven.