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Outtakes Around the Lakes: Knowing how to ’declare war’

Frank Weaver Jr.
Suburbanite correspondent
Frank Weaver Jr.

I'm not sure how to declare war. There's probably guidelines to follow. Just guessing, I'd say, 1.) Engage in peace talks; even if just with yourself. 2.) If you lost, return to number one. 3.) If nothing else, talk to the wife.

After all, a declaration should be well thought out and be received enthusiastically by your significant other. If you're not satisfied with her answer, cool down by taking a summer vacation to Point Barrow, Alaska. Upon returning, start over with number one.

Last year, I received two twenty gallon containers, each one large enough to plant and stake three tomato plants. The tomatoes were wonderful, and I looked forward each day to feeding, watering, pruning and just overall checking on them.

This year, my hopes were to grow a garden outside in the good ol' earth, but my health refused to co-operate and I'm still struggling to ambulate. Aha! I thought. Why should that stop me?

I'll simply take the same two containers I used before, filled them with topsoil, add a handful of the very best Amish manure, feed them only top grade tomato food, water them religiously and even sing them soft lullabies each night as the sun sets. And just to play safe, I had my grandson set the containers in the middle of the yard where they'd get plenty of sun and right outside my bedroom window so I could greet them each morning.

Two Big-Boys, two Early-Girls and two Beef-Steaks would fall asleep each evening with a sigh of contentment. As a result, at night I'd dream of sinking my teeth into the most luscious, juiciest, tastiest, vine ripened, sliced tomatoes to ever grace the plate of yours truly.

They were developing beautifully. I had extra big green 'matoes on the Beef-Steaks, big ones on the Big-Boys, and nice size fruit on the Early-Girls. As a matter of fact there were two that were completely pink to red, but needed a few more days for that wonderful vine ripened flavor. As I closed my eyes and licked my lips I could almost taste that succulent tomato flavor and felt as if I was slowly reaching the pinnacle of my gardening glory. That's when it happened!

“THIS IS WAR,” I bellowed, loud enough for Donald Trump to Tweet an objection. “Someone's been pilfering my 'matoes. Call the sheriff. Call the FBI (Farm Bureau International). Call the CIA (Caucuses Investigating Agriculturists). Call Wyatt Earp! Call Doc Holiday! I was one PO'd (Put Out) tomato gardener.

“Calm down, Frank,” the wife said in a calm, soothing voice, staring at me with her steel blue Scottish eyes and a look of determination on her soft, lovely face, “or you'll end up back in rehab.”

I did. Then she ask what happened. “All the tomatoes are gone,” I explained more calmly. “The leaves have been eaten and it looks as if one of the vines had been destroyed. Who did this?”

“The deer,” she answered. “The deer, the squirrels, rabbits, groundhogs, birds, Bigfoot (who thinks he's Daryl), any critter that's free and hungry. Knowing how much you cherish your tomatoes, I tried chasing them away, but every time I ran outside they were gone – along with a few less tomatoes.”

“What are you doing, now?” she queried as I took to pen and drafting paper and started to draw.

“Drawing blueprint extensions for the house so that it surrounds the entire garden area,” I answered, proud of myself for solving the problem so quickly.

“That would double the size of the house. And cost a fortune. Probably as much or even more than the worth of the house.” She was nearly in a state of shock and I knew I had to put her at ease.

“ Yeah, you may be right,” I calmly assured her. “But look at it this way, Sweetie. That's the last time they'll ever steal our 'matoes.”

Comments may be emailed to: Frankweaverjr@aol.com