You’d think I married a farmer from the wise sayings my husband comes up with. His latest is about this year’s very late tomato harvest, which follows a late summer and surprise August rains. After dutifully heading out to garden each morning at 6:00 a.m. to see if anything was ripe, he finally sadly stated, “The tomatoes will ripen when they ripen.”

Just think how many of life’s persistent questions this simple statement addresses.

First on our minds – when will our daughter graduate from college? She has moved heaven and earth to finish up in the expected four years before all our money runs out. Eighteen credits plus the required philosophy course online? Of course! Summer school in Madrid, where the temperature routinely hits 113 F? Why not? At least the classrooms are air conditioned. We’re taking it on faith that she will graduate when she graduates – but we’ve got everything crossed that the timeline fits our bank account.

The young, attention-deficit-disordered golden retriever Lucy will learn to drop the tennis ball she fetched so it can be thrown again – when she learns to drop it. That ripening of dog intelligence is as delayed as the tomatoes this year. How hard is it to realize that until she lets go of the ball, no one is going to throw it? I did set a mental goal of teaching her that skill of logic by the end of summer. That gives her a week or so to give up the tennis ball she so adores and so wants to chase. I’ve tried waving food in front of her, so she’ll forget why she’s holding the ball and spit it out. It works about one percent of the time.

I realize that I’m playing fast and loose with dog training dogma, so I’m trying to improve. Now when Lucy dashes up happily with her ball, I turn my back on her until she drops it. So far that has produced some uncomfortable jabs from behind, but I’m holding firm. I’ll even huffily leave her alone outside when she won’t give me the ball, toughing out the sad, betrayed look in her beautiful brown eyes. I keep repeating the mantra: She’ll learn when she learns.

The final pressing question at our house is when will the first snowfall come this year. Just to go on the record, I think it will not happen until October. When he gets tired of awaiting tomato ripening, my husband likes to insist that it will snow on Sept. 21. Anyone tired of listening to us discuss this every night should feel free to remind us that it will snow when it snows. The likely scenario is that it will snow sometime after the tomatoes turn red, but years before Lucy achieves separation from her tennis ball.

As to the college graduation – well, you know. I just wish I did.


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