I always get it in my head that I don’t like tomatoes. While I eat my fair share of tomato based soups and pasta sauces in the winter months, I steer clear of tomatoes on salads, sandwiches, and the like. I’m perpetually disappointed by the tomato when it comes to me as a bland, acidic filler on the plate. But then, summer rolls around and I hem and haw about whether I actually want to try the tomatoes I see at the farmer’s market–by the time this point has rolled around each year, I have forgotten their powerful punchy flavor, their intense juiciness. And how could I forget? This year I had my eye-opening tomatoey reminder in a little urban garden. My long-lost friend, Rose, picked one and handed it to me. It was like a bright candy pop–so delicious and surprising. I took home a handful and promptly purchased some heirloom tomatoes the following morning at the market. Welcome back into my life, tomatoes! For the fleeting time you are here, I will enjoy you! And I’ll try ever so hard not to forget who you really are, in the middle of summer, at your peak.
Also, a big happy welcome back into my life to my dear friend, Rose! Like the tomato, seeing her again has been a bright and happy reminder to stay connected. The first time I saw Rose, she was about 12 years old and was walking on a chain link fence like a professional tight rope walker. She had a quiet calm about her and an intense curiosity. I quickly became friends with her–we would go on great adventures around Grand Rapids and developed a close bond. Her wonderfully artistic family (her mom and dad are both gifted artists along with her siblings who are artists in their own right) moved to Brooklyn the year I moved to NY and I was able to visit with them there on one great occasion. At her young age, Rose was already a successful entrepreneur, selling sock monsters to an upscale children’s boutique in Brooklyn. We fell out of touch for some time and although both of us have lived in Grand Rapids again for several years again, we haven’t reconnected beyond random bump-ins. The other day, Rose and I had lunch at Uncle Cheetah’s Soup Shop (GO THERE–trust me) and got caught up. Rose is an impressive and perpetually creative young woman who continues to create art in so many forms which she sells at her popular Etsy Shop. She also has her own blog, filled with the delightful musings of a 21-year-old woman. She passes along her creativity, and most importantly, her messages of strength and growth, to her readers. I urge you to check it out–if you are anything like me, you’ll be touched and inspired.
A toast to remembering, reconnecting, and enjoying the simple joys of summer with tomatoes and long-lost friends!