How a Tomato Harvest Became an Outreach

| 10/10/2012 8:52:00 AM

When the weather threatened to freeze off our tomato plants last Saturday night, we took advantage of a slow day at home and went to the back yard around noon to grab the last of the red 'maters from the garden. Unlike the previous sweat-filled harvesting sessions, we were bundled up in warm jackets and hats at first before the sun broke and the heat of our efforts caused us to shed a layer.

Andy came out and helped, too, as my ability to bend and pick has greatly diminished as the months wear on. Ethan again showed laser beam dedication to the cause, easily picking his own weight in tomatoes before asking to go ride bike. Elly was a bit harder to keep focused and I finally had to give her a tangible goal of filling two grocery bags before she was excused to hop on her two-wheeler.


Before we were even half way through the rows (if you can even figure out where the rows are in the photo above), two neighborhood boys came zipping through the alley on their Razr scooters. I'd seen them before. In fact, a few weeks ago, I'd been out weeding while our kids played and they came by, asking if I had any jobs for them to do. I was amused as I had heard about this; people paying local kids to rake the leaves or mow the lawn for them. While our lawn really needed it, we didn't have petty cash budgeted for jobs we could do ourselves. I weighed the value of the work they could do verses our saving money, and in the end I was just too far outside my comfort zone to give them anything to do. As it was, they were happy to play with our kids in the yard while I worked, which benefited all. I have seen them around here and there since that day and each time the boys were very friendly and waved hello or asked what we were up to.

There are a lot of kids around our neighborhood, ranging in age from baby to teenagers. Most of them are pretty indifferent to our family and won't even acknowledge when our overly outgoing kids yell "Hello!" to them. There's a pack of them that hang out at the end of the alley on school nights, all sitting on bikes and chatting idly as the evening creeps in. We call them the Biker Gang and deem them about as harmless as the Apple Dumpling Gang. I'm not sure if these two boys are a part of that group, but of all the kids we've seen zoom past our backyard this summer, they have been the most polite.

I was pondering all of this when the boys stopped on the road and asked what we were up to. Smiling, I said, "What does it look like we're doing?"

Becky and Andy
10/12/2012 4:43:03 AM

That's a cool story, Nebraska Dave! How neat for you to be in one home long enough to see the changes a community can take. I'm glad you are so in touch with your neighbors. That is rare these days.

10/10/2012 11:57:37 PM

Becky and Andy, you have found a couple of boys that will do well in the life ahead. There are only four boys in my neighborhood and they are eight and under. The rest, 12 in all, are girls. They range from 1 year old to 20 years old. That's just in the houses that are across the street from me or touching my property. It's a very child abundant neighborhood. This is the second round of kid explosion in the 28 years that I've lived here. The first happened when we first moved here with my youngest daughter who was one year old. All those parents moved away and new young parents have moved in to start all over again. I'm kind of the grandpa of the neighborhood. It's great. Have a great day with the kids in the neighborhood.

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