The last of my tomatoes is gone, and I didn’t get to eat any of them. I absolutely love the taste of home-grown tomatoes, so over the past several years I’ve made several attempts to grow them myself. Sadly, all that work and effort produced only one bumper crop of cherry tomatoes. I was happy and proud, but it only happened once. Some years I grew enormous tomato plants that didn’t actually produce tomatoes, other years my plants were infected with “white flies” which meant the tomatoes never ripened, and one year something ate my entire tomato plant. All that was left was a sad little gnawed-off stump.
Hope springs eternal, so this Spring when I saw a healthy little plant that was labeled as an “early producer,” I thought I would give it a try. I was heartened to see five tomatoes growing shortly after I planted it, and since there was no sign of the dreaded white flies, I thought this was going to be my year, tomato-wise. But then the tomatoes began disappearing, one by one. I asked my husband to surround the plant with a protective barrier. That worked for three days, but this morning, all that was left of my tomato crop was a single tomato with a huge bite taken out of it. I know when I’m beat, so I left it on the ground so some critter could finish its meal.
I think the time has come for me to admit that growing my own tomatoes is not in my skill set. But that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy home-grown tomatoes, it just means I have to eat tomatoes that other people have grown. For now, I buy them at the local farmer’s market. Later this Summer, my friends and family who can successfully grow tomatoes will most likely share their extras with me. And I’ve decided that I’m okay with that.
The truth is, sometimes we have to rely on other people. When the shower head in our main bathroom started dripping, my husband and I made several attempts to fix it ourselves, but finally gave up and called a plumber. The plumber fixed it in less than an hour. When my dog managed to snag my necklace and I heard a loud “twang,” I thought it was broken. It wasn’t, but the chain was suddenly several inches longer. I couldn’t figure out how a sterling silver chain suddenly lengthened, but a friend took one look at it and told me that the chain had “sprung,” which did indeed make it longer. Sometimes other people know the answers that elude us.
I am, by nature, a somewhat independent person and I don’t apologize for that. But I also know just how connected I am to other people, and how much we all rely on each other to get through our day-to-day lives. And I hope I can always remember just how much I need others, even those people who don’t think, vote, believe, or look just like I do. Because when I can remember how connected we all truly are, it’s a whole lot easier to treat others the way I want them to treat me. And that results in a better world for everyone…..