The Pepper Plot

There it was – in full bloom – a plot of peppers.  It must have been at least twenty feet by thirty feet.  There were numerous varieties: Anaheim, Poblano, the traditional bell pepper in a variety of colors, and a slow-growing Serrano.  The plot was at my in-laws’ house.  My mother-in-law lives by the theory that if one is good, a dozen is better.  Her son wanted peppers.  He’d get more than he could have ever dreamed of.   We went out to the pepper plot before his last big surgery.  We wandered around surveying the crop.  The plants were laden with ripening peppers.  “I just want you to know,” I said emphatically, “if you die on that surgery table, I’m going to transplant these peppers to your gravesite.”  We laughed.  He knew I was joking.  Who could transplant all those pepper plants?  Impossible.  The plot in the cemetery wasn’t near large enough.  But, we joked about it sometimes – the dying part.  We knew it was coming.  You could cry about it all day or live, laugh and love.  Up until the end, we more often chose the latter.

Most of the peppers rotted that year.  He never recovered enough after his surgery to dehydrate them and grind them up for spices as he’d planned.  But his mom still has one of the Serrano plants.  She’s kept it alive all this time.  It’s never produced.  It’s just as well.  None of us like our food as hot as he did.

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