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Tomatoes from Heaven

I am blessed to be surrounded by a lot of positive people. My husband, my sister, my kids, several good friends, even the majority of my Facebook peeps are rays of sunshine. So it's taken me a long time to figure out how such a darkness could have fallen over me in the midst of such light. My dad was one of the most positive people I know, and when I lost the daily dose of, "Your hair looks great," or "I love your new boots," it was enough to cast me into a depression that thankfully medication has lifted.

In the month or so before the medicine, the really dark days, I told Brad I was sad because I couldn't "feel" my dad. I wasn't finding pennies all the time, I wasn't having moments of divine intervention as I had been. It felt as if he left me, and I wasn't ready for that. Before, it seemed like I was dealing with things pretty well. So much so that I even fooled myself.

Since the depression has lifted, I still hadn't really felt my dad, but I was still able to deal with things better. I talked to him and about him more. I asked his advice about different situations. I asked him to show me signs about different things. What I didn't ask for was vegetables.

My dad loved to garden. He had been a farmer and then taught vocational agriculture, but by the time I came along his mad skills were limited to a thriving vegetable garden in our side yard. Growing up, we rarely had store-bought vegetables. We always had fresh potatoes, tomatoes, beans, and asparagus from our garden. We had cherries, peaches, apples, pears, and plums from our fruit trees. Obviously, this is why I'm so picky about my produce.

But of all the things he grew, tomatoes were his favorite. I remember going to the store with him to get plants: early girl, beef eater, and cherry. In later years, I convinced him to get Roma--my personal favorite--and after he broke his hip and could no longer tend to his garden, we got him a topsy turvy planter so he could grow his beloved tomatoes on his front porch. And he did. Every time I went over, he'd take me to the porch to show me his tomatoes. Send me home with too many. "Dad, I'm the only one who eats tomatoes," I'd protest. But I couldn't bear to hurt his feelings so I'd take them home and eat them all.

I inherited his love of gardening, and Brad and I grow lots of our own veggies. This year, in an effort to save money and expand variety, I started seedlings in the spring on my countertops. Eggplant, several varieties of peppers, asparagus, green beans, beets, and cucumbers. Unfortunately, after "the last killing frost," our garden was still way too wet to till. My poor little seedlings were outgrowing their tiny pots, so in an effort to save them, I planted them in my flower bed. The dirt isn't so good out there, mostly clay, but I added some compost, and lo and behold they grew.

Unfortunately, as the weeks passed, I kind of forgot what I'd planted where, so imagine my surprise when the three biggest plants started producing tomatoes. I didn't plant any tomatoes. Did I? No. I'm sure I didn't. I bought some Roma tomato plants and planted them in the back garden, but I didn't plant any tomatoes in the flower bed. So as I stared befuddled at the "volunteer" tomato plants, it hit me, and I started to laugh out loud through my tears. Lily asked, "What's the matter, Mama?"

"Nothing, Baby Doll," I said, "Papa sent me tomatoes from heaven."


  1. Love this story, again. Pleased, so pleased, that it is down now, in black and white, with your words, your beautiful taking-me-there words.


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