Our house and our neighbourhood are about 16 years old. Many people moved in here when their kids were babies, which means we now have roving bands of teenagers on the streets during the summer. These kids, who seem to have very little to do except skateboard and curse loudly, have been a worry for me this summer. I was sure that sooner or later someone would vandalize my front yard vegetable beds–and I had a strong suspicion it would be them.
This week, it finally happened–my beds were vandalized. Much to my surprise, it wasn’t the teenagers at all.
My daughter S. was outside picking vegetables yesterday when a neighbour came by to speak with her. They talked for a moment, and she told S. how lovely our tomatoes are. She also said, “Please tell your mother that this morning around 7am I saw a woman walking her dog. She stopped by your garden and picked your tomatoes!”
Egads–a tomato thief? Right here in my neighbourhood? And a grown woman who should know better, too. What is the world coming to?
To be honest, I’m actually not feeling that upset about it. I don’t mind someone picking a little produce on their way by. I’ve certainly given enough away–even to strangers like that dog-walking woman–that I don’t feel terribly possessive about it. If they were tearing down tomato stakes or ripping plants out of the ground, well, that would be another story.
The way I look at it, that woman must have been yearning for a freshly grown tomato but didn’t have the ability to grow one. Or maybe she doesn’t have quite enough to eat these days and thought that a tomato or two would make a nice sandwhich for lunch. I guess I’ll never know.
I am marvelling that despite my worry and other people’s dire predictions, it took more than four months for any kind of vandalism to befall my front yard garden. Even when it finally happened, it wasn’t that big a deal.
Teenagers get a bad rap sometimes–but not today. Unfortunately, I am now peering out the window first thing in the morning and eyeing every dog walker with suspicion. Because if I could just catch the tomato thief in the act, I would have the opporunity to give her the tomatoes as a gift instead.