Our Little Tomato Snitch


Several years ago, my family lived in an upstairs apartment. I love gardening, so I planted cherry tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumbers in pots on a table on the apartment’s deck.

Kyle, my 3-year-old son, was particularly eager for the cherry tomatoes to grow and ripen. When they did, we all enjoyed them alone, in salads, and in other dishes.

One day Jason, 13, went to pick tomatoes for supper. He came back and said, “Mom, all the tomatoes lower than two feet are gone.”

This was baffling. Jason and I both started keeping a close eye on the plant, but never found ripe tomatoes on its bottom part. Sara, my 11-year-old, volunteered to do a “stakeout” in some bushes below our deck. For days, she and a girlfriend hid, whispered, and giggled—but never found any culprit. What was going on?

One afternoon, I heard little Kyle open the door to the deck. I tiptoed into the kitchen and peeked out the window. My eyes grew huge: my 3-year-old grabbed a little stepstool we kept on the deck and took it over to the tomato plant. Then he climbed up the stool, grabbed all the tomatoes he could reach, and shoved them in his mouth.

I waited until he came back inside. “What were you doing?” I asked.

“Just checking to see if anyone’s taken the tomatoes again,” he said. He grinned wide, displaying all those mashed-up tomatoes.

“I think you are the one who’s been stealing all the tomatoes,” I said.

“Really?” he asked.

“Yes, really.” At that, we both grinned and started laughing.

That was 20 years ago. We all still tell the story—and laugh every time.

—By Linda I. Kinyon of Chewalah, WA.


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