It was a simple statement, really.
"Seems like no one's tomatoes aren't doing very well this year."
Before long we were talking about zucchini and okra and poke salad. Who knew poke salad would ever be a topic of conversation in Marshall, Missouri, circa 2015?
But that's how things go at the coffee shop. You just never know what topic might catch fire and lead the conversation in all sorts of directions. This time, it was the state of everyone's gardens and how the frequent rains and heat had combined to cause things to go a little awry this summer ... as far as growing green things are concerned.
Further south, my cousin and his wife have started harvesting (yep -- harvesting) their pumpkin and squash crop to prepare for their annual corn maze and harvest celebration. And they're still putting up hay. In the meantime, they are enjoying all the goodies they've raised for personal consumption: yellow squash, okra, corn, tomatoes, peas, beans ... you name it, they grow it. And in their spare time (?) they stay busy canning, preserving or selling any excess they might have.
Yes -- it has been a strange summer indeed.
Back at the coffee shop, the garden talk may have expanded to include yard work and other chores around the house, but the plight of this year's tomatoes is still heavy on each coffee drinker's mind.
They just don't look good ... They aren't quite coming on as well as usual ... They're sure enough smaller than normal and not filling out very well ... And maybe they're not as sweet as they should be.
Of course, I'm near the end of the long table and not hearing all of the conversation. Could be they were talking about something -- or someone - other than tomatoes.
But ... That's how things are at the coffee shop. You just never know.