Friday, August 29, 2008

Tomato Monster

Right as I named this post about my abundant tomato collection, I had a childhood memory...

When I was a kid my brother and all of the neighborhood kids used to talk about there being a Tomato Monster that lived in the sewer at the end of the next door neighbors driveway. I don't know how the legend came about but it must have been passed on from kid to kid on our street. We would throw sticks, rocks, gum, comic book pages, firecrackers and all sorts of other crazy things down threw the sewer grate to see if we could upset the Tomato Monster and see this elusive urban legend come to life. Why he was called the Tomato Monster, no one really knows. I imagined that he was dark red like a rotten tomato and had arms made of vines all tangled up and knotted. All you could see were just small pock marks were his eyes should be surrounded by the abundant amount of flesh all puffed up on his face. His mouth was gross and toothless, when he made noises he would spew seeds encased in clear tomato phlegm. I was scared of the Tomato Monster but I loved to taunt him with my brother and the other kids. I secretly thought if one night we weren't on the front lawn by the time the street lights went on, the Tomato Monster would seep out of the grate that covered the sewer and slither over to where we were like The Blob and suck us inside him and take us down into the sewer. As much as I thought him disgusting and horrible I felt bad for him as well. Maybe he was misunderstood ,that Tomato Monster. Was he was once a kid like me who hid out when it was time to weed the garden or put up a fuss when he had to clean his room? Perhaps he too just wanted to ride bikes, chase the ice cream truck and run through the sprinkler like the rest of us. Did he watch us do all of these things with envy? I was a kid the last time I thought about the Tomato Monster. So strange, that I didn't even remember him until now when I went to name this post Tomato Monster for other reasons stated above and below. I wonder if he still lives in the sewer. I am glad that we did not have cable television, video games or modern day things; we were forced to use our imagination and spent our summers outside playing. I think next time I go home to visit, I might drop something down into the sewer to see if I get a reaction from someone other then the Department of Public Works. Just for old times sake.

Well, after that story, my real Tomato Monster post seems pretty lame. Just wanted to show you all how many tomatoes I got in my CSA box last night. Some of them are pretty ready to go so I am going to make a sauce this weekend.
I have one more tomato story, which is short I promise. One summer I remember my Dad announcing that he was not going to grow tomatoes. I guess too many went bad the year before because we didn't eat them all. To prove how much he wanted tomatoes in the garden, my brother made a colorful banner on a roll of butcher paper we used to draw on that read "I LOVE TOMATOES" followed by a child's simple plea to have them planted in the garden that year. I think my parents planted tomatoes that summer and I don't think many ended up in the compost heap. Thanks big brother for encouraging the constant plentiful harvest each year thereafter, I love tomatoes too!

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