Tom Zumwalt (also known at times as T. C. Stoffel) lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with his wife, and two crazy cats. He loves dragons, dinosaurs, a good glass of Guinness, on tap, comic books, and dislikes buttermilk. Please don’t offer him buttermilk. He has written a lot of stuff over the years, including articles for Kentucky Monthly magazine, and movie reviews for the Georgetown News-Graphic. Recently, he completed his first novel, DragonFox. Tom was born in Evansville, Indiana, or perhaps the planet Gallatin, a small planet near the outer edge of the Milky Way galaxy.

A Tomato Poem

I like tomatoes

Tomatoes are good

Why doesn’t good

Rhyme with food?

My tomato poem notwithstanding, I really do love tomatoes. I’ll get to them in a sec.

 

As I’ve gotten older, I love spending more time outdoors. It’s about stewardship, actually, though I never previously realized it as such. And it’s something I strive for. I learn every day, but I am far from perfect. But it is something I aspire to.

 

In many ways I am becoming my grandfather. I lived with my grandparents for nearly two years when I was a kid after my mom had a stroke. While she recovered, I stayed with Grandma and Grandad, and learned without words the ideas of stewardship. Stewardship of the land, of plants, and animals. It was education by osmosis. By watching Grandma in the kitchen, or when she tended her African Violets, or reuse of everything; by watching Grandad in his garden, growing food we ate organically, long before we called it organic gardening. I remember him taking food scraps they had accumulated in a paper milk carton and burying the homemade compost in the garden to decompose—egg shells, coffee grounds, banana peels.

 

I’m not as frugal or consistent as Grandma and Grandad, but their gentle lessons without words come through. So today, Wendy and I feed our birds, our squirrels, and other neighborhood critters. We grow plants best we can, and one of our favorite plants are tomatoes. We have them interspersed in our front garden, where they share ground, and air, and sun with our flowers. For as anyone who’s ever eaten them knows, you can’t beat home-grown tomatoes. Ate a tomato sandwich for lunch. Use your dressing of choice, but they really don’t need it.

TOM ZUMWALT

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