Special Surprise

In the tomato fields of my youth (I'm trademarking that phrase), there was a phenomenon I feared more than any other: the Special Surprise.

I believe my brother coined the phrase. You're walking, stooped over, up and down the rows of tomatoes. You're trying to navigate the waist-high weeds, all the while searching for tomatoes to add to your basket.

The perfect tomato is one that has just begun its journey to ripeness: not so green that it will never ripen, but not so ripe that it will spoil before it hits the market stands. Not that we ignored the ripe ones. Heck no. My dad kept a salt shaker in his shirt pocket for just such tomatoes. We ate them on the spot, like apples.

Every now and again, you'd see a ripe, perky tomato still clinging to the vine. You'd truly believe you'd found the reward for all your sweaty hard work. You'd reach down to grasp that ripe fruit, only to have your thumb go through the rotten part hiding on the far side.

It was drippy. It was sticky. It was the Special Surprise.

I changed a diaper like that today.


Anonymous said...

Bless you - and those wonderful tomato memories of course.

movita said...

Sometimes, niles-the-cat barfs in my shoe or under the bed. This week it was in the bedroom closet. I used to yell, "ew, niles," when I found it. Now I will yell, "yay! Special Surprise!"

Unknown said...

Oh, it was never a 'yay' experience.

I could usually hear when someone else had a special surprise from half-way across the tomato field. Sometimes it was a loud swear, sometimes it was a soft, deflating sigh.

Either way. Ew.

Unknown said...

Ruth Ann would know all this. She spent a good amount of time in the tomato fields as well.

Anonymous said...

Well I spent Saturday with a pewky cat, so I'm identifying with Movita's comment.

Alas poor Roxy is not her usual self just now. I'm hoping the liquid gold medicine brings back her appetite and lowers her thyroid or whatever is creating all this havoc.

Sorry there Words, didn't mean to hijack your blog but there you go. she's MY baby these days