Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Garden (09/07/06)
TITLE: God-grown Tomatoes
By Karen Chatham
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Lonnie T. Moore was the only man I’ve ever known who could convert an atheist into a believer without saying a single word. All Lonnie T. would have to do is slice up one of his God-grown tomatoes from the garden, shake a little salt on it and let the tomato do the talking. Instantly a conversion would transpire. The poor guy wouldn’t have much choice in the matter. Once his taste buds experienced the supernatural flavor, he wouldn’t dare to argue with that tomato. The revelation could not be debated: only something divine could have created something that delicious.
Early one summer morning, Lonnie T. and I went out to check on the tomatoes in his garden. Holding a half full bucket of okra and sneaking a cherry tomato in my pocket, I couldn’t help but ask the question, “Dedo, what is your secret to growing these mouth-watering tomatoes?” My grandfather smiled at me with sort of a smirk and said, “Are you sure that you really want to know?”
He bent down and grabbed a handful of soil and explained to me how he always started by plowing his garden in the spring to break up the hard surface that the winter left behind. Leaning on his shovel, he stood up and pointed his worn, old finger toward the tool-shed. “There is a wheelbarrow full of fertilizer under that elm tree that tastes like candy to those tomatoes. Natural fertilizer, to be accurate,” he snickered. “If I left that fertilizer to sit in that pile over there, it would only draw flies and stink to the high heavens. Those tomatoes would end up as flat tasting as one of those imposters shelved in the produce section at the grocery store.”
Lonnie T. Moore scooped up some of that natural fertilizer with his hand, “But if we make good use of it, God sure is an expert at using rotten, smelly things to create something beautiful.”
Many years later, my life is sort of like one of those tomato vines. It seems, at times, like I lived under the source that produces all that natural fertilizer, if you know what I mean. Wheelbarrows of foolish choices reek with the foul odor of regret. But Lonnie T’s secret keeps whispering in my heart, “ Are you going to let all of that fertilizer just sit there? Or will you grow tomatoes with it?”
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