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Country In Town

A short story by Sunshine Blackwood

Driving past a bit slower than normal it caught my eye, a scene so rustically country I turned back stopped and examined. A miniature tractor, wagon attached, placed next to a wooden stand on which stood a padlocked mailbox beside a stack of brown paper bags secured under a clear plastic. Next to this was a plastic holder with bunches of freshly harvested basil tied up in bundles, resting beside a wire basket filled with tomatoes and a scale. A sign was displayed informing of the prices for these items. I took a bag and put some tomatoes in it and weighed them, put the money in the mailbox and cradling my new found treasure, I drove home.

tomatoes ripening on the vine

What happened next went beyond words in this realm. I opened the bag and took a tomato out. I washed it. Next I sliced it and proceeded to make a tomato-cheese sandwich. I bit down on the sweet nectar of nature. Ah, the sensations this simple act evoked, memories of a time and place beyond. I sensed a sweet beyond sugar, a tender hint of the gentlest tanginess, and a long ignored call from the cells of my body saying thank you for this exquisitely perfect nourishment.

Frequently returning to this portal of paradise, I bought bags of tomatoes to share with just about all of my friends. They all agreed the taste and texture was the best that they had experienced. I looked in their eyes and could at times see that words failed them to fully express what they felt. And so it went on all summer. Actually, I now sheepishly confess that I felt a slight tinge of greed maybe, but mostly joy; joy at connecting with something long lost by our mad rush to progress and improving our economic lot in this life. Every taste reminded me there is a precious piece of true living we lose in our so-called rush to be better in this instant coffee excuse of an existence. I enjoyed each time eating those tomatoes, feeling as if I was going up just the tiniest step along the eternal ladder to Nirvana.

However, as with all lessons this came to an end. A cold spell came on and no more tomatoes were offered up for sale. Everyday, especially when I discerned even an infinitesimal increase in the temperature. I passed by the stand but was always disappointed. No more tomatoes. Soon winter came, a desert formed in my heart and on my pallet. All I could see now was a snow covered patch where the tomato trees were before.

Then a deeper truer lesson started to emerge; born from my parched taste buds. Have faith. Life and just about everything connected therewith goes in cycles. Wait. It will all come around again. Attune yourself to the cycles of nature and you will always have eternity in the palm of your hands.

Thank you, thank you, thank you the glorious magic is that this is for all to experience less than half a mile from the center of town. Truly this is a Country in Town when all you have to do, ever so often, is just for the fun of it, SLOW DOWN.


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