The Gift of Garden Tomatoes

The Gift of Garden Tomatoes

A recent residential move prompted the glorious volunteerism of a small but select crew of neighbors and friends. Anyone who has hired a professional mover knows that friends are welcomed – even crucial – for transporting the “fragile” items (Grandma’s ancient crystal) or the “hand carries” (mostly lamps) as Roy, my professional mover, appointed them.

In the transport process there is the banter, the catching up, the “You’re giving THAT away?” conversations that are required of the event and most definitely of old friends. “Where are the headboard screws?” “We can’t find the shower curtain liner.” These quandaries are expected.

Also expected was the gift of homegrown garden tomatoes from my friend Jane. She and her husband Tom have a hazelnut farm and glorious gardens downstate and she told me she would bring some. She arrived with a bounty of not one but five different types of garden tomatoes – of all sizes and colors. Not to be outdone, my urban gardening friend and neighbor Mary (multiple huge pots on her rooftop for years and years) arrived with a cup of the sweetest red cherry tomatoes you will ever taste.

What I did not expect was how the tomatoes buoyed my spirits after everyone left that day. The first sign of life in my new home, they were artfully arranged in a white mesh container – a container (selected by my moving helpers) that had never previously held tomatoes – which made the whole effect more special.

Those tomatoes became my food staple the first hectic week in my new home: tomato sandwiches, caprese salad, bite-sized snacks – and more – not to mention the other donations of beans, zucchini, pizza, crackers, cheese, and furniture placement advice – all of which were consumed.

You never know how meaningful the simplest gifts may be. If you ask me to help you move or just rake your yard this fall, I am bringing home grown tomatoes (the farmer’s market will have to do) but my own basil plant is really looking great this year. Something unexpected.

Cyndi Maxey
A Chicago-based speaker, coach, and author, Cyndi specializes in presentation and communication skills that drive performance. She can be reached at

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