writing

Watch thy neighbor… and guard those tomatoes

I used to read Gene Weingarten’s columns and live chats for the Washington Post devotedly. But as most of my reading became related to work, especially during the day, I let Weingarten’s work fall off my radar during the past 10-12 years.

His column on Thursday (Sept. 17) was a jolting, yet delightful reminder that I need to make Weingarten part of my regular reading diet again. He’s a wonderful storyteller with a fantastic sense of humor and a strong sense of what will resonate with readers.

Weingarten’s account of a recent experience with a neighbor grieving the loss of his mother who either took advantage of or misunderstood the boundaries of kindness feels like a story entirely suited to our lives during the pandemic.

“My name is Seth,” he said. “I’m a neighbor, and I see you walking your big brown dog, and sometimes a cat is with you.” All true. He had established his bona fides. “My mother just died, and she loved cooking green tomatoes.” He nodded toward my small tomato garden. “Could I take a tomato, in her honor?”

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