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Almost everyone I know is a better gardener than I am and they grow a whole lot more stuff than we do here at 3,186 feet of elevation.  But this has been a wonderful year, starting with a long slow spring without a bad late freeze, enough rain often enough, and some unseen hand from a higher power constantly helping things along. There are tassels on the corn now, 'taters are lovely, onions seem to be holding their own, zukes and cukes and crooknecks still put out, the peppers come and they go, but mostly they come in batches, the rabbit-eye blueberries have come in strong and the 'maters, by golly, we're getting enough to start a produce stand. Here's one 15-minute harvest, not counting the slightly nibbled 'maters I threw in the crick:

Let's see, those red things include cocktail tomatoes, Romas, Dolly Partons, German Johnsons and I think a Big Boy or two. Jane Kendall and I used to laugh about how we liked our 'mater sammiches: "Made at 8 and eat at noon." Now that we're knee-deep in this 'mater bounty, I think I'll fry a mess of 'em up in cornmeal and bacon grease for breakfast tomorrow. Reminds me of what Woody Durham used to say when the Tar Heels were on a roll: Go To War, Miss Agnes!

P.S.: I always wondered what that meant, and a few minutes after posting about 'maters, I looked it up on the world wide interweb. Turns out to be one of Chuck Thompson's on-air gems, some years before Woody. Here's what Wikipedia has to say:

Charles L. "Chuck" Thompson (June 10, 1921–March 6, 2005) was an American sportscaster best known for his broadcasts of Major League Baseball's Baltimore Orioles and the National Football League's Baltimore Colts. He was well-recognized for his resonant voice, crisply descriptive style of play-by-play, and signature on-air exclamations "Go to war, Miss Agnes!" and "Ain't the beer cold!".

So there you go. How 'bout them 'maters?

Jack Betts

Jack Betts is retired associate editor of The Charlotte Observer.

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