Friday Pillow Talk – Tea For Tomatoes

A lot of things conspired to disturb my peace and my sleep this week.  It started on Tuesday night when I was walking to the laundry room here at the Chicken Coop Condo Complex.  It was dark, I was carrying an oversized L.L. Bean Boat and Tote bag full of towels, and I tripped over something.  Fortunately, I didn’t fall flat on my face, but I dropped the towels and almost twisted my ankle.  I bent over to pick up the tote and noticed the culprit that had tripped me up.  Why was a garden hose running across the parking lot?


To fill up the See Mint pond with water, that’s why!

I’ve never discussed my feelings about the See Mint pond, but let’s just say it’s not my favorite aspect of Coop Complex living.  It’s an expensive seasonal item and it seems superfluous when the Atlantic Ocean is 200 yards away.  Oh, wait…the ocean is too cold.  Let’s argue about heating the See Mint pond at Coop Complex annual meetings for 30 years until the “heater” faction finally burns out the “frugal” faction and the frugals give in.  When this happened a few years ago, I made a vow.  I would never swim in the See Mint pond.  I wouldn’t tell anyone; I would just boycott the See Mint pond.

Now you know how I feel about the See Mint pond.

It’s possible it was my little evening “trip” that messed up my sleep last night.  It might also be the fact that two different people have asked me to write about ticks and I don’t want to.  The more people talk about ticks, the more my skin starts to crawl.  Do I worry about ticks?  Sure.  I just can’t let it keep me in the Coop.  So I’m careful; I spray DEET bug spray on my pants and I put a bandanna over my hair.  I examine myself closely when I come in from the outside.  I run a fine-tooth comb through my hair.  I’ve found a few wood ticks on me this year, but I can’t let it bring me down.  It might mess up my sleep, but keep me inside?  Never.

Then, there are my tomatoes.  I have 30 tomato plants I started from seed in March.  OF COURSE I started them too early!  OF COURSE they’re getting tall and scraggly.  “Leggy” is a word best used for supermodels, not tomatoes.  The plants will be fine once I can plant them; I will bury a good part of their “legs” in the ground and no one will know they looked like circus freaks in their final weeks at the Coop.  Still, I’m anxious to get them in the ground.

All these thoughts were swirling around my head last night when I finally drifted off into a light and troubled sleep.  Thankfully, I didn’t dream of drowning in the See Mint pond or fighting with my neighbors over a deck chair.  What I dreamed about was tomato plants.  Tall, silent tomato plants with eyes on their top leaves.  In my dream, I was sleeping in my bed and the tomato plants were all huddled around my living room coffee table, staring at me through the bedroom door.  They didn’t say anything.  They just stared at me.  There was a low hum coming from somewhere outside the Coop, like the sound of the See Mint pond heater.

I tossed and turned in my dream, trying to figure out what those sphinxlike tomatoes wanted.  It was a mystery I couldn’t solve.  I woke up with a shudder to the sounds of WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan on the radio and bolted up in bed to see if those tomato plants were still staring at me.

It’s possible that there was some simple kindness I had not given them in my dream.  Maybe it was ticky tacky for me not to offer them a snack, a beverage, or a cigarette.  All I know is that the next time those skinny staring circus freaks turn up in my dream, I’m going to ask them if they want a cup of tea.

They don’t call me Aunt Tomato for nothing.

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