Socialist Tomatoes?

Being a Democrat (and please don’t write and tell me all the reasons I shouldn’t be one) in Arizona is like being a Green Bay Packer fan–it can be a lot of fun, but you have to have some fortitude for the tough times. And sometimes you have to restrain yourself.

During the last election, for example, when our mostly-LDS neighborhood had Romney signs in almost all their front yards, I told Jeff I was going to get a large “Vote Obama” sign and post it in ours. I will give my husband great credit for allowing me to do pretty much what I want. But this time he said, “You are going to do no such thing, at least unless you want me to be looking for another job!” I could see the sense in that, and didn’t put up the sign.

This isn’t really  going to be a political commentary (aren’t you relieved?) but I wanted to set the scene for an odd conversation that I had recently. A friend, who is a true tomato pro, asked me what varieties I was going to grow this year. I listed three of the four types and concluded by mentioning a heritage seed I’m trying for the first time: the Paul Robeson Tomato. I’d gotten the seeds from Baker Creek Seed Company because it sounded as if the tomato would survive in our harsh climate conditions.

My friend stared at me. “Robeson? He was a socialist, you know.”

“And an amazing singer,” I countered, not exactly knowing how to reply to his remark. I didn’t know the first thing about Robeson’s political affiliation, actually, but did it matter? We were discussing seeds, after all.

“He went and performed in Russia, and I think he brought that type of seed back from there,” the tomato pro continued reproachfully. “Did you know that? Those are Russian seeds.”

“Um…” I replied. “How about that?”

“Well, I sure wouldn’t grow socialist tomatoes!”

There were lots of things I suppose I could have said. Several funny and totally unwise remarks that would have been about as appreciated as my Obama sign got as far as the backside of my lips, but I know my community and restrained myself. This is a warm, friendly, loving, and wonderful place. And it’s really, really conservative at odd moments. So–socialist tomatoes. There you have it. Who knew?



7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Paul Smale on May 17, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Socialist Tomatoes, what a great hook. How could you not read a blog post with a title like that. If I ever start a rock band (not likely at age 50, buy hey) that is definitely my band name. Great story too, it really makes me want to rethink my “red” sauce!


  2. Giggle! Who would have thought it mattered where your seeds came from. Really? Really?! (I agree with Paul – Socialist Tomatoes would be a great indie rock band name!)


  3. Posted by Suzanne Bratcher on May 17, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    I could have had that same conversation here in the hills of Arkansas! Luckily, I don’t grow tomatoes….


    • Very wise of you, as I think of it. One of the things I didn’t mention on this blog is that I got sort of paranoid that none of my tomato starts were going to grow, so I planted a few extra–and right now, I have 82 tomato plants ready to go into the ground!


  4. I am so glad to hear there are Democrats in Arizona. I have an uncle there, and I thought the whole state was…well, I won’t say. As for the Russian thing, if the Germans from Russia wouldn’t have brought their wheat seed when they came here from Russia, we may have had many more hungry people in the early 1900’s as in the days of WWI. Tell the person who had a fit that one. Man I dislike people who don’t know what they are talking about.


    • Thanks for joining the conversation, Lucinda–I think you’re new, aren’t you? Nice to have you with us. Arizona has a lot more diversity politically than its reputation suggests, but I suppose small towns, for all their wonderful virtues, don’t tend to be hotbeds of liberal thought no matter where one lives. Someone told me recently that at this point in time, it’s absolutely impossible to be both a Democrat and a Christian…and here I thought I was doing pretty well at it! Shows you how little I know!


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