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Good Thinking By Don Kuehle

TOMATO TIME

My folks were proud of their garden. Their pride and joy was to have ripe tomatoes by the 4th of July. Summer would not be summer without a table-full of tomatoes. This Summer has been different; the weather hasn’t cooperated, and the tomato crop has not done well. That just makes us appreciate the good tomatoes we do have! Tomatoes are actually a fruit, and not a vegetable! They are rich in Potassium and Vitamin A; tomatoes also abound in Vitamin C, Folic Acid, Phosphorus, and Sodium. The tomato is one of the few fruits/vegetables native to the Americas; first used as a food in ancient Peru. The American colonists were aware of tomatoes; but they considered them to be deadly poisonous, and would not eat them. Today, there are literally hundreds of varieties of tomatoes. They come in colors ranging from the usual red, to pink, yellow, white, purple, and green. Tomatoes come calling with familiar common names like Rutgers, Roma, Arkansas Traveler, Beefsteak, Celebrity, Big Boy and Early Girl. Tomatoes also come with more unfamiliar exotic names such as Druzba, Boxcar Willie, Tomcat, White Beauty, Hungarian Pink, German Queen, Dark Krim, and Green Zebra. Whatever the name, tomatoes are a tasty summer treat! Most people take tomatoes seriously. Some people, however, see the silly side of tomatoes. Somewhere along life’s way I picked up this ditty, “The Tomato Song.”: “There’s nothing better than bacon and lettuce and home-grown tomatoes! Up in the mornin’, out in the garden, get you a ripe one –don’t get you a hard one. Plant ‘em in the Spring; eat ‘em in the Summer; all Winter without ‘em is a culinary bummer. I forgit all about the sweatin’ and the diggin’ every time I go out and pick me a big ‘un. Well you can go out to eat and that’s for sure. But there’s nothin’ a home-grown tomato won’t cure! Put ‘em in a salad; put ‘em in a stew; you can make your very own to-ma-to juice. You can eat ‘em with eggs; you can eat ‘em with gravy; eat ‘em with beans, pinto or navy. If I could change this life I lead, I’d be Johnny Tomato-Seed; cause I know what this country needs –home-grown tomatoes in every yard I see! When I die don’t bury me in a box in some cemetary. Out in the garden would be much better —I could be pushin’ up home-grown tomatoes. Home-grown tomatoes; Home-grown tomatoes – What’d I be without home-grown tomatoes. Only two things that money can’t buy and that’s true love and home-grown tomatoes!” Life is a Garden; God is the Master Gardener! Working in his Heavenly Greenhouse, God developed a myriad varieties of plants, AND peoples. God’s greatest joy is to see the people He’s created take root, blossom and grow, and produce a hearty harvest! A harvest that can be used to feed the hungry hearts and minds and souls of all God’s peoples. Just as the “good” we produce in our lives benefits those around us – so the “good” others produce benefits us! God, like any good gardener, knows that the joy of having a garden is to see the seeds grow, to harvest a plentiful crop, AND to share one’s abundance with others! Like any gardener, God takes life seriously, but not too seriously. God loves a good laugh; in fact, it was God who invented laughter. And a good hearty laugh is good for our health. SO, enjoy this Garden-of-Life that God has given us! Blossom and grow where God has planted you. Cultivate and weed your life, so that many people will benefit from the “good” you produce, and God will be pleased! Dr. Don Kuehle United Methodist, Retired Jackson, Missouri

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