Six Tomato Seedlings

The year of 2008 was so depressing. The economic crisis, the contaminated dairy products, the outrageous inflation and the political turmoil made us feel dismayed. Thanksgiving Day was around the corner, so I decided to invite some friends home for a big Thanksgiving dinner. I felt that I should give myself a treat and I should also give thanks to the Lord for keeping us safe in a miserable year.

The pumpkin pie was baked, and the turkey was cooking in the oven, all the food was ready except the green salad. I couldn’t find tomatoes to put in the salad. I had shopped at several supermarkets the previous day, there was everything I needed but not the tomatoes. Early in the morning I asked Shyi-Dong to help me get some tomatoes, and he was gone for a few hours. It was noon time now, but he was no where to be found. Wondering whether he sneaked back to his lab, the door bell rang. I opened the door, and there was Shyi-Dong whistling with a big smile. Holding a bag of tomato seedlings, he trotted into the house. I counted, six. Yes, there were six tomato seedlings. Oh, my dear, how can I ever make a green salad with tomato seedlings? I needed tomatoes, not the seedlings. Before I could ask, he said slowly that he couldn’t find any tomatoes after visiting quite a few supermarkets. Finally, he found some in the local market, but it cost one hundred and fifty dollars for six hundred grams, seven times much as the regular price. It was too expensive to eat, so he decided to buy some seedlings instead. He decided to plant the seedlings for me to get fresh tomatoes when I need them.

My dear Shyi-Dong, I finally understood the joke about a man who raised a cow to get milk for himself to drink. Recently in the newspaper, it said that a head of cabbage cost two hundred dollars. It was so weird because the typhoon was gone a long time ago and there shouldn’t be any shortage of vegetables. From KMT to DPP, no matter which party was in power, the government officials would always promote any overproduction of fruit or vegetables by eating them on TV. On the other hand, when there was a shortage, they just blamed the bad weather and asked the people to be patient. They never take action to solve the problems. Taiwan is on the leading edge in the world when it comes to technology, so it shouldn’t be a problem to apply the technology in many areas, but the government remains set in its old ways to run the country. When can they ever take action to make Taiwan a better place to live?

While I was writing this article, I noticed that Shyi-Dong was standing behind me. He told me that he was going to plant the seedlings. Looking at the screen, I felt there were six tomato plants full of tomatoes hanging on the vines. Would you like to have dinner with us? Be patient, you have to wait for our tomatoes to grow.