Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Don't fry my green tomatoes

I've left the wild wilderness of Virginia, and find myself in an urban oasis about five miles from my home church and...home.

This place won't be home for long, because the kitchen is terrible. Well, perhaps not so terrible: I can look out to my sunny balcony, where grows a "kitchen garden." I have put in some wonderful balcony gardens, but this one is special. Three tomato plants, nine herbs, a pot of parsley, and yes - some flowers.

The women in my family have the proverbial green thumb, and I've grown some magnificent shade gardens in the shadow of high-rise buildings. But look: tomatoes! No one thought it made sense to grow full-size tomato plants in pots on a balcony, except my mother. She told me to put in enough plants to supply my brother, sister-in-law and a few nice neighbors. Putting in a garden makes a place home; when you move in late spring, it's probably more important than unpacking boxes. Some might disagree, but my new home will have flowers and tomatoes that can't be purchased with MasterCard. The last of the boxes can be unpacked when the days grow short and the basil has died.

I'm home. In about three weeks, we'll be crackin' jimmies, and eating sweet corn and vine-ripened tomatoes. My home church has grown on its vine, with a larger (and lovely) physical plant, and a diverse congregation that loves the liturgy and serves the least of us.

Perhaps this kitchen isn't too small. Perhaps my life was too small, and the kitchen too large. Let's ripen those tomatoes on the vine. I have the sweet basil, who's bringing the fresh mozz?