Wednesday, January 6, 2010
"Put Uped" Tomatoes (Reposted by request because of previously Delete Blogsite)
"Boy”, “Be careful and don’t knock one of those jars off its shelf.”
“You might cut yourself on the broken glass”
Hearing that often enough calloused into a thought of danger and forbidding. There must be some sort of mystery to be solved in that dark and musky pantry. A nervous excitement transformed into a fidgetity, restless mood. His daddy would surly spot that in two seconds. He always did. He always knew when the boy was getting into mischief or was even thinking about it. Once the boy was questioned why he was being so anxious. Naturally the answer was ,
“Nothing”. Standing still as a post. Eyes the size of saucers
The truth was, once in the past, the boy had figured out a way to open a can of fruit cocktail and had eaten every last bite. He had to finally come clean with that one. Evidence showed its self with vigor in fairly short order.
“Boy”’ “What are you up to”? “You have been way to quiet this evening”.
The daddy was turning up the white water dipper and swallowing its contents. The red trim reflecting the glow of the sixty watt light bulb dangling from the low ceiling. He had come in from the back where he had been putting brake shoes on his log truck.
The checkered table cloth was waving like a passing motorist as the boy dropped the left side corner and spun around to gauge his daddy’s expression.
“Pull it all the way back, so you won’t have to crane your neck so much”.
A lopsided half smile was fairly positive evidence that I was in no trouble. Behind the cover were several rows of clear glass jars. I easily recognized the contents. There were only two varieties. About a third were “put up” sour kraut and the others were tomatoes.
“Your momma and grandma put those up when you about a year old”. “They are still good”
Reaching into the top shelf the daddy picked up a jar of tomatoes. A swift twist and the top was off. In a fluid motion, he took a whiff to verify the seal had been kept, he placed the jar on the table. He took two bowls from the shelf over the coal oil cook stove and poured a portion of tomatoes in each. Dusted them with a salt shaker and handed the boy an oversized spoon.
“Try ‘em”, “You like fresh tomatoes.” “These aren’t quite as good but they have their place”
The young boy liked tomatoes any way there was. The heavy red clay soil had given them the punch so familiar to that part of the country. The bowl was soon empty. Feeling fairly certain that he had escaped a scowl this time, asked.
“How come we haven’t opened these up before now”?
He somehow had that mysterious feeling of the unknown again as he watched for expression as much as audible word.
“Your momma liked sour kraut and put uped tomatoes so that year we decided to put all this up. Your grandmomma helped. I did what I could to help and you were still just a baby”.
He took another bite of the tomatoes and gently set his spoon by his bowl.
“That was right before she took sick”.
His eyebrows leveled out and took on a stern stance. His half smile, from earlier, changed into horizontal, motionless shadow. The boy had seen this look on occasion.
“If I could have gotten her to Houston, maybe things would have been different”.
“Boy, aint it about your bedtime”?
It has been reported that the boy went on eating canned tomatoes. The daddy? He was never seen eating “put- uped” tomatoes from a bowl again, as far as it is known.