I held out hope all week that the weather would warm up, the sun would shine, and my tomatoes would ripen to a deep, vibrant red. It didn’t happen. I have a whole bushel of green tomatoes on the vine.
Minnesota is a land of extremes. There is no hotter summer, no colder winter, and often no in between. Fall stays but a moment and suddenly its blowing snow and the little, green, frozen orbs still cling to dead vines with icicles hanging from them like tiny udders.
One of my favorite movies is Fried Green Tomatoes. Kathy Bates was wonderful as a woman looking for purpose as she struggles with a mid-life crisis of sorts, an empty nest, and a husband who basically ignores her except to eat the food she places before him while he watches sports on television. Twenty years ago when the movie came out, I never really thought about why it was called Fried Green Tomatoes except that one of the characters cooked them up in a scene at the fictional Whistle Stop Café. In retrospect, as I turned 50 this month and looked at my own life seemingly half gone, I see a clear connection to green tomatoes hanging on limp, brown vines in the cool of autumn.
Okay, I’m probably over thinking this thing if I say that cooking oil is a metaphor for old skin needing a lot of extra lotion, right? My literature teacher in high school always came up with weird and quirky ideas about what the writer was “really” saying when he wrote so and so. I guess this is my foray into the world of another writer’s mind. Although, I prefer to stay in my own head. It’s scary enough inside here without imagining someone else’s thoughts.
So, out I go to pick my green tomatoes before they freeze, and get on with life.