My father was a gardener. Thanks to him, I know what a tomato tastes like when it is still warm from the vine. A tomato that was started from seed early in the year under a grow light in his basement and nurtured until it was big enough to transplant into a ½ milk carton to be transported to my garden. In the early years he would plant them with me and teach me as we went along. In later years, he delivered them and left me to do the planting, He had trained me well.
Each year, we would have a race to see who would get the first red tomato of the season and then another race to see who would have the most. He usually won both of these competitions, but I was gaining on him.
He gave me his knowledge of nature, gardening, and the weather. Just like him, or because of him, I am graced with the overwhelming need to spend more time outdoors than indoors among these earthly delights.
Somehow it was fitting that this gardener should pass away as the final leaves were falling from the trees. His work done here. During his last hours, the sun burst out of the clouds and came in through his hospital room window. Unable to speak as the sunbeam warmed his face, he looked up at it knowingly. I held his hand and told him it was a good day in the garden after so many days of rain.
An amazing sky outside his room, I took this photo which will always remind me of the last time we would sit in the sun together.