Several weeks ago (was it only May?) Mac and I would roam the garden looking at the tomatoes growing on vines he had produced from tiny seed.
He would have made a good farmer. He loves growing things and harvesting the fruits of his effort.
We laugh when we talk of the 30 years he spent in the U.S. Navy, dressing the ship with the flags of his profession, at how he could have had a whole new and different career. Who knew?
I had chosen a tomato, a German Johnson, that would make my first sandwich, and he had chosen his, a Mortgage Lifter. And so the watch began.
Each morning we would venture out, dog leashes in hand, headed toward our own plants, to announce the stage of beauteousness (is that a word?) one to the other.
“It’s turning, the skin is whiteish on the German Johnson, ” I yelled across the garden.
“Mine too,” he answered from Tomato Row.
It was amazing how we coveted those pale green orbs, wishing them red. I had my full jar of Duke’s mayo sitting at the ready, the car gassed up and ready in case fresh bread was needed. You know, we even had a conversation about the necessity of fresh bread. I refuse to desecrate my lovely slice of redder-than-red tomato on stale bread.
What is stale bread? Bread that has been in my kitchen longer than three days is no longer qualified to make a tomato sandwich. Now, it can make a BLT, because that bread is toasted. But the first tomatoes of the season shall not be dressed with lettuce or bacon. Only Duke’s can be added to the sweet fresh bread and sun ripened tomato.
Can I get an amen?
Amen. Thank you, children.
It was mid-June. The sun had risen and we ventured through the dew getting our feet wet as we headed toward the garden. Just yesterday I had caressed my lovely deep-pink German Johnson and salivated at the thought that the first sandwich of the season was nigh.
Now as I approached the target, the red skin sparkled with dew-kissed lovliness. I grasped the huge fruit and gave a tug.
Holding it over my head, I actually danced my way back over to Tomato Row where Mac had his Mortgage Lifters, Terrifics and Better Boys planted.
He, too, was holding aloft a huge red tomato and laughing with glee! I took pictures of them setting side by side on the table, as the kettle boiled the water that would scald them so I could skin them with ease.
I laid out the slices of bread (fresh loaf purchased just the night before), got out the jar of Duke’s and took a picture of that. I skinned the two beauties and turned each of them into three thick slices. The slices were so broad that each one covered the bread and hung over it on all four sides. I took a picture of that.
I salted and peppered the lovelies, then added more mayo than we actually needed. You are familiar with the word “slathered”?
Yes, all four pieces of bread were slathered with mayo and now the sandwiches were complete.
I kid you not, when I brought the sandwich up to take a bite, my jaws clenched with pain in anticapation.
Now, it is the first of July, I have a bushel of tomatoes waiting my attention. Have I lost the anticipation of the sandwich? No, I have not. I still want that tomato for a meal, but now it can be on a hamburger or ham and cheese, a BLT or even on tuna salad.
But that first sandwich of the season is like Christmas. It’s the anticipation that makes it perfection.
Hope your July Fourth is filled with fireworks, thankfulness for our great country…and tomatoes. Lots of tomatoes.