Tomatoes and theater

 Here are a few things that have crossed my mind lately:


Tomato harvest: It was a big event at our house last weekend. You may remember that I wrote about a tomato plant that had sprung up between the cracks in the driveway curb. Well, it’s actually doing well, and Jenny and I went out to pick the first ripe tomato off it over the weekend.

It’s turned out to be a grape tomato plant, so there was a discussion about who would get to eat it. It certainly wasn’t big enough to share. We finally gave it to our high school senior, Joe, for the top of his salad.

Fortunately, it wasn’t the only tomato we’ve had. After reading the tomato column, Frances Dunlap of the Union County Election Commission took pity on me and dropped off several at the Gazette office. They were our first tomatoes of the summer, and started us on a tomato-eating binge—tomatoes and cottage cheese, tomato pie, BLTs—that won’t stop until the tomatoes do.

Almost school time: Joe cleaned up his trombone and headed off to his high school band camp last week. It’s so different now from when I was growing up. When I was in school, summer vacation started around Memorial Day and ended the day after Labor Day. It was a full three months long.

Usually by about now, my sister and I had run out of things to do, had had more than our share of spats, and were longing for school to start.

It didn’t, of course, for a couple of reasons. In rural areas, kids often were needed to help with the harvest and it was too hot to be in the classrooms anyway because schools were not air-conditioned.

Our house wasn’t either, so I don’t know that it mattered. We got our first window air conditioner when I was in high school, but my parents rarely used it because they thought the electric bill would be too high.

The day school starts varies widely around the country. Personally, I like the early August start, which gives our local districts a chance to sprinkle in a few more days off around the holidays.

A touch of Broadway: I got my first taste of the productions at the Magnolia Civic Center & Cine Theatre Thursday. It was opening night of Broadway 5: Listen to the Music. Sylvia and Phil Nanney were the directors and Mary Beth Muncie the choreographer for the packed performance. The music was good (led by Martha Frances Monroe on the grand piano) and the singing and dancing to the 56 songs memorable. My favorites were from Phantom of the Opera, a musical I had seen on stage.


At the door: Mike Staten, chairman of the civic center board of directors, was at the front entrance Thursday night handing out the Broadway 5 programs and greeting guests. He was lucky to be there after a close call last week when he passed out one morning while driving to work and wrecked his wife’s car. He also wrecked the sign in front of the Rogers Law Firm on Bankhead Street.

 Mike seems to be OK, and said he might have blacked out because he had just come from working out and hadn’t had breakfast.

His boss, Bo Collins, and I joked that less exercise and more sausage and eggs might be the solution. It hasn’t done much for my waistline, though.


T. Wayne Mitchell, interim publisher of the Gazette, can be reached at 662-534-6321 or by e-mail at