North Nikiski, Alaska
A couple of years ago, shortly after Christmas, my friend, Dolores, had a long days adventure. Her weekly shopping expedition with an endless list and many of stops, included lots of groceries from a large chain store. Amongst the bags and bags of groceries was a large batch of vine ripened and expensive, Anchorage raised, nursery tomatoes.
Another stop was at another retailer, to purchase one of those 3-tier hanging wire contraptions that are so handy around the kitchen. By the time Dolores got home from her marathon shopping trip and unloaded her car she had no interest in picking a spot to hang her fine new basket so she just looped the hook onto an upper kitchen cabinet handle. Just the perfect counter-top height to set her fine batch of tomatoes in one of the tiers for the night.
Fast forward a couple of hours when she walked by the tier hanger and saw one of the beautiful tomatoes had a hole about as big as her thumb, out the side of it. Strange, she thinks, oh well! Out the door goes the tomato.
Another hour or two passed with another inspection she sees a second tomato has an even bigger hole. “Well,” she says to herself “That just isn’t right and how dare they sell wormy, diseased tomatoes!”
Splat out the door goes the second tomato followed by a very disturbed Dolores phoning the produce department of that store and huffily said to them, “Did you know you have worms in your Anchorage, vine ripened, nursery tomatoes? You better go inspect the rest of them and I want my money back the next time I get to Soldotna!”
Being afraid that worms might be fixing to start crawling around ,she took the rest of the bunch of tomatoes and pitched them out the door into the woods to join the rest.
In between the wormy tomato discoveries, she had made a batch of Zucchini Lasagna. Baked and out of the oven, she cut herself a big serving and left the rest on the counter to cool. After all the tomatoes had been pitched out the door and her tummy happy from the lasagna, she kicked back in her recliner, when she just happens to look up and a guess what?? Yep, a big fat shrew was racing across the top of the divider ledge! After numerous screeches out of her and setting a passel of mouse traps, she noticed that one of the zucchini rounds was missing from the top of the other end of the lasagna pan! Well, she wonders, how did that glob of fat fur managed to eat a scalding hot morsel so fast? That-she will never know!
However the mystery of the ‘wormy tomatoes’ had now been solved. Seems the fat furry thing was having his salad while his entrée was baking! The pan of lasagna was dumped in the garbage with much regret. One might wonder how the heck a shrew managed to pole vault 43 inches up onto the top of that ledge and thus have access to the kitchen counter on the other side. Well, all Mr. Shrew had to do was climb up the stack of boxes of Christmas decorations that were sitting on one side of that ledge waiting to be stored away for another year.
Epilogue: Shrew was trapped and dead before the evening was over and Dolores has learned not to leave human made ladders that will entice any four legged critters to go exploring, especially around the kitchen. Since ‘Better Late than Never’ is a wonderful motto, she wants to sincerely apologize to the poor produce person who received the irate phone call about their ‘wormy tomatoes’.
Dolores added: – I’ll talk about the bag of dried red beans another time!
Thank you Dolores! I hope the produce person reads this!