[SeMissourian.com] Fair ~ 93°F  
Feels like: 97°F
Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014

The tomato race

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Lately there's been a lot of excitement about the horses running in the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes with the possibility that one of them could win the Triple Crown.

My horse race is of a more modest variety and revolves around Ron Wood and I racing to see who will have the first ripe tomato. For the last couple of weeks there have been reports from each of us as to how fast our tomato crop was maturing. I got all excited because one of my tomatoes turned red but when I picked it, it was obvious some critter decided to puncture the bottom so that was an immediate disqualifier. The other no-no is cherry tomatoes, since we consider them a lesser variety.

One year he wins and the next year I get the jump on him. We both moved to the Early Girl variety which has the shortest maturity date.

Last week I came to Sunday school class and knew I was in trouble when there was an object wrapped in a paper towel where he was seated. He presented me the tomato, but not before I questioned him quite a bit.

In the past there's been accusations that some of those first tomatoes may have had lipstick on them or that one of us had driven to Oklahoma or Arkansas where the season was a little earlier. Like a good lawyer, he was prepared for my questions, and he indicated that morning there was a picture on his camera with his wife in her Sunday school clothes posing beside a tomato which was still on the vine.

I conceded the fact that he had won and took the tomato home where it was ceremoniously placed on a plate and sliced with great care. As the family was gathered both the boys took a bite, and we knew that good times were ahead.

By Tuesday, I had a ripe tomato but by then it was too late. It matters not whether he won by a nose or eight furlongs. This contest goes down as a W on his side of the ledger.

Dick Hedges
Fort Scott Community College