Sunday, August 31, 2008

Boil, Boil, Toil and Trouble

We had a bumper crop of tomatoes today. Romas, beefsteak and cherry tomatoes. Aren't they pretty? I got right to work, first blanching them to get the skin off, then plunging them in cold water to stop the cooking, then peeling and squishing the seeds out. Lastly, it cooks and cooks and cooks. A little garlic, some fresh basil and a smidge of salt. Ahh fresh tomato sauce. I've been waiting for this since I planted the garden. The whole house smells delicious. I love basil-would wear it behind my ears if I could. So good.

My purple cone flowers are starting to fade, it's so sad and signals the end of summer. I've spotted the goldfinches too. A sure sign that cooler weather is right around the corner. My sunflowers heads are beginning to hang too as they become heavy with seed. A few more weeks and I'll have some very large heads for next years planting. The Sunflowers make me think of my Dad. It has been 3 years since he passed away. When my Dad lived with us we would always have a contest to see who could grow the largest sunflower. He always won, we always knew he would but the jabbing at each other was always a lot of fun. Who ever won would get the dinner of their choice. Dad always chose a pot roast and potato dinner. I would buy the pot roast early in the planting season knowing he would win. I was fine with that. Dad so enjoyed a homecooked meal. I took such pleasure in watching him sop up the gravy with bread and totally clean his plate. He'd wander over from the in-law apartment as dinner was cooking and say, "How's that victory dinner coming?"

Dad's sunflowers, at their peak, were about 18 feet tall. I have no idea how he did it. He would go out the garden with his tape measure and stretch it out next to my pathetic sunflower and then stretch and stretch it next to his. He's kind of suck his teeth and say, "Maybe next year Bev." I'd stick my tongue out at him in jest. What fun we had.

When we had our pool installed this year, a wild sunflower bloomed right next to the pool. I knew dad was smiling. He loved our yard with the sweeping, sleepy willow tree and the gardens with the pink and blue flowers. Our tallest sunflower this year was right by the fence that surrounds the pool. When dad was alive he planted rows of sunflowers there-where the vegetable garden was. We didn't plant sunflowers there this year. It just grew there probably a stray seed from years gone by. The sunflower greets me every morning as I look out my kitchen window and pour my coffee. Good Morning Dad-I know you are here.

Years later, when Dad passed away, I wrote his eulogy. It was a loving tribute to his life and mimicked the life of a Sunflower. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done but one that I'll always hold close to my heart.
Dad must be whispering in my ear today as I write. I talk to him a lot.......I know he is listening.

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