Ol’ Ben would show up around the first of July with the best damn tomatoes I have ever had in my life. I mean these things were so good they made me want to slap my granny. But instead I slapped Ol’Ben. Really, the only thing slapped was my ass to the car seat on the way to get a few loaves of white bread and a huge jar of mayo.
Anyway, what I’m talking about here are tomatoes. It’s been years since I have had a tomato like the ones we had at the pawn shop I worked at in the 90’s. It’s not just that these were the best but they were also the last ones I have had that tasted like a tomato should.
As I write this, I realize the beauty of it all. Here I am, in the middle of downtown Atlanta, loaning “huge bucks” on wedding rings, stereos, cameras, gold teeth, 9mm handguns and uzi’s. There was me , Jimmy, Straw, Pauli, Marlin and John our faithful manager and some other dumbasses. And here comes Ol’Ben. With 20 pounds of sunshine soaked tomatoes that some neighbor of His had grown way too many of, how lucky were we ?
This was a big box Ol’Ben carried. At least 20 pounds of tomatoes. We would spend the rest of the day eating tomato sandwiches, writing loans and selling all kinds of stuff. We would skip lunch and basically eat all day. Lets say Ol’Ben showed up around 9:30 a.m. We began eating sandwiches by 10 and ate one every half hour on the half hour ? We closed at 6 p.m. soooooooooooooo I ate about 16 sandwiches those days Ol’Ben showed up.
I haven’t had a really good tomato in 6 or 7 years. When I try hard I can find some O.K. tomatoes and some that look really good but when it comes to taste they are all lacking. Stacey and I refer to these as being mealy. More than not they taste old.
I want acid, I want that juice that burns a little. I want the soft, sloppy yen yang of the white bread, the bite of the tomato and the cool sweetness of the mayo. Hell yes - that’s what I’m talkin’ bout, thats how I wanna roll.
But I can’t. Can’t find the right tomatoes. Can’t seem to grow them either. I got some plants and they are giving us tomatoes. All different kinds. I also buy them each weekend from one organic farmer or another and still, still I say - they just ain’t the same.
Remind me to tell you more about working at he pawn shop sometime!