Remember Butch, my crusty old sailor friend. I miss him these hot, tomato picking days. He, of course, would be telling me how I couldn't grow a *@#! tomato or pepper if my life depended on it. I would ignore his salty mouth and learn everything I could. Even after spending much time watching him nurture his peppers, I still can't grow a pepper. I blame it on the weather this year, but I can't laugh as much about it because I can't go over to his house with a 5 gallon bucket to get jalapenos for salsa, cayennes for pepper sauce, chiles for a ristra, or pablanos for stuffing.
I know it is weird to miss someone who is so crusty, but I do. I miss seeing him swell with pride when we looked at his garden with its weedless rows and rainbow of brightly colored peppers and tomatoes. I miss taking his care packages to his friends and mailing tomatoes to his daughter. I miss his stories and advice.