Sunday morning, in my bed while the house is still quite and yawning awake, this is the memory that comes to my mind:
One of my favorite, rose-colored memories is the row of green tomatoes on my Grandmom’s kitchen windowsill. My Grandfather grew tomatoes, and when they would fall to the ground so full and strong but still green, he would hand them to my Grandmom and she would set them in the sun to ripen. Sometimes I was lucky enough to be up when he walked outside to check the garden, and he would see me and indicate with a very slight tilt of his head that I could join in. My Grandfather was a tall, stoic, intimidating man to most. To me he was a safe harbor in a tumultuous childhood. In those early morning walks through the garden, he would point out a new tomato growing, or the way a certain plant preferred to lean toward the rising sun. He would hand me the green tomatoes, and I would gather them in my shirt like a priceless treasure. I had no idea that it was those moments, not the tomatoes that were the treasure. I learned later after he passed that he only shared that with me, no one else. I also learned that he kept only two pictures in his wallet, and one was of me. My Grandfather gave me many gifts, but I think the greatest gift he gave to me was his time in the early morning to check the garden. To this day, my time in the garden is sacred and special. I touch the leaves of the tomato plants, tenderly check on any new growth, and of course gather the green tomatoes to ripen in my window sill.
I often use the early morning to organize my thoughts into paragraphs. And sometimes into recipes.