This was a green tomato in Mom and Dad’s yard. I shot it earlier this summer when we were in Kentucky. I am sure that it is long gone by now, hopefully having graced a plate of salad or some delicious meal that Mom cooked up. There is nothing like fresh food out one’s own garden. The flavor and texture far surpasses veggies in supermarkets which were force-ripened in order to get it to our market shelves. The stuff that we get right out of our gardens, produce that grew and ripened in its proper time is full of flavor. Yes, rabbit and deer and birds and bugs of all sorts enjoy the veggies, too. Even so, that which is harvested from our gardens and served in our homes, is by far the best of all! I am grateful for home grown vegetables!
One of the things I look most forward to when visiting my parents is sitting out on the back porch, drinking coffee, chatting about anything and everything that comes to mind. Mom and Dad bought this house when I was still in high-school and have lived here ever since, over 40 years now. Through the years they have added to the house and cultivated the yard to create a wonderful, peaceful retreat. I don’t get home often enough, but on this mini-vacation, as I sit here with my parents, I feel overwhelming gratitude for our time spent together. We watch the sun rise, listen to the sound of the waterfall in the coi pond, watch the multitude of birds fly to and from the feeders, talk about the mundane as well as the profound, and in general just enjoy each other’s company. These times are too few anymore, and precious when we get them. This morning as the sun is rising in the sky, and I’m nursing my second cup of coffee, I am eternally grateful for this early morning ritual with Mom and Dad on their back porch.
We drove through some beautiful countryside on our first day of vacation. When we crossed the state line into West Virginia, we began looking for a “Welcome Center” or “Visitors’ Center.” Each time we enter a state, we like to pick up brochures to see what kinds of interesting places and events the state has to offer. When we entered West Virginia however, the visitors center was closed and travelers were directed via detour to another location. Following the signs and arrows took us much further off the beaten path than we had intended to venture, and we were seriously considering turning back, retracing our path back to the interstate highway and continuing our journey toward my Kentucky home. But just as we were ready to give up, we descended down a mountainside into the delightful, historic district of the village of Greenbrier. The Greenbrier Valley Visitor Center sat on a corner in the middle of the town. While Richard went inside to grab some state literature, maps and brochures, I wandered around a 3 or 4 block area shooting pictures. As I was shooting, an occasional passerby would stop and point out something of interest that I might want to shoot: dates on buildings, titles of what the building used to be, a stone house once at the center of a Civil War battle, etc. The friendliness of the people and the picturesque village made for a delightful, refreshing and rejuvenating break from our journey toward home. I am grateful for the delightful surprises of unexpected side trips.