The Tool That Was And Wasn’t

Glenn and his wife Libby love spending time in their backyard garden. It’s their warm weather obsession, stretching fence to fence to fence.

This was a good year for the garden with perfect growing conditions through the summer months. Libby had the back half overflowing with onions, squash, beets, carrots, a sprawling pumpkin vine and several hills of potatoes. Beanstalk wound its way up a long wooden trellis on the left, peas climbed another to the right. For Glenn, closer to the house, it was all about radishes. Glenn loves radishes. He plants rows and rows of them every year. He spends his days with his radishes. Fresh out of the ground, Glenn can’t get enough of them.

Glenn and Libby were tending their garden on a sunny Monday afternoon when a man in a golf shirt and khakis came bounding through their yard. The man’s eyes lit up upon seeing Glenn in the midst of his radishes. He leapt right up to Glenn, introduced himself with a firm handshake and started preaching the benefits of a new gardening tool called a tiblosherater. He claimed it would thoroughly revolutionize the way people tiblosherate radishes.

The man in the golf shirt and khakis couldn’t get the words out fast enough. He raved about how any normal gardening implement would work with a tiblosherater. Rakes, hoes, shovels, lawnmowers, gloves; it didn’t matter. He was excited, more excited than Glenn had ever seen anyone get about radishes. With every word from the man in the golf shirt and khakis, Glenn started getting excited too; excited about tiblosherated radishes!

The man in the golf shirt and khakis sealed his pitch with another firm handshake, then darted away, over the fence and down the way.

Glenn turned to Libby assuming she’d been listening as intently as he had. “Can you believe that Libby? Tiblosherated radishes!”, he exclaimed. Libby peered up at Glenn, offered an inquisitive nod and went back to turning weeds under her pumpkin vine.

“I can’t believe it”, Glenn murmured to himself as he knelt down to pull a tiny emerging thistle. For the rest of the day Glenn’s mouth watered, unable to shake the thought of ending the season with a huge pile of tiblosherated radishes. He needed a tiblosherater right away.

Glenn woke early the next day, anxious to get back to the garden. After a coffee and a quick bite to eat, he sprung from the house, grabbed the hoe he left leaning against the step and took his place tending his radishes.

Not two minutes passed before he heard the storm door smack shut on the house next door. It was his neighbour, Jim, also on his way out to the yard. A definite skip in his step, Jim spotted Glenn and bounced over to chat.

Apparently the man in the golf shirt and khakis stopped in at Jim’s place as well. A radish lover himself, Jim was elated. He handed Glenn a pamphlet the man in the golf shirt and khakis had left him that detailed the benefits of tiblosherated radishes. Particularly stunning, thought Glenn, were the colourful images showing how easy it is to retrofit a tiblosherater to any normal gardening implement; rakes, hoes, shovels, lawnmowers, gloves, they all worked with a tiblosherater.

It’s what Jim said next, though, that made Glenn’s day. The radish show, a prestigious yearly event drawing growers from all the surrounding towns, was to start that Tuesday afternoon. Opening the show would be a panel discussion on tiblosherating with gardening experts from across the industry, including the man in the golf shirt and khakis.

Fantastic! The radish show was a yearly highlight for Glenn and this show was sure to be memorable. Unable to focus, Glenn and Jim debated radishes and tiblosherating and tiblosherated radishes for the morning hours that followed. It wasn’t until 11:30 when Glenn finally glanced at his watch. Just 30 minutes to showtime! With a quick wave to Jim, he scrambled back into the house, grabbed a lunch for the road and struck out on foot toward the town square.

Glenn could feel the anticipation as he made his way over. There were small groups of radish growers huddled throughout the square; all were shuffling toward the large white tent in the northwest corner. Seemed everyone had heard the same pitch because the unmistakable theme dancing from group to group was tiblosherating and how it would revolutionize radish growing.

With just five minutes to the top of the hour the opening panel discussion was about to start. Glenn hurried into the tent, grabbing the last seat near the stage. Spanning the stage was a long table draped in thin black cloth. Microphones were evenly spaced. Behind the microphone closest to Glenn sat the man in the golf shirt and khakis, grinning as he shared a greeting with someone front row center. Beside the man in the golf shirt and khakis were two others in long sleeved collared shirts and a woman in a cream coloured blouse. On the end was a man in a blue blazer. The buzz of the crowd settled as people made their way in. Glenn guessed about 200 seated with another 50 lining the back of the tent. It was a full house.

The discussion was a full hour and Glenn saw it as nothing short of glamorous. Everyone on stage glowed with stories of tiblosherated radishes. Each speaker boasted how easily anyone could tiblosherate a radish. All it took was a rake, hoe, shovel, lawnmower or glove fitted with a tiblosherater. The overwhelming consensus was that tiblosherating was sure to revolutionize radish growing.

After the show, Glenn stood off to the side of the stage pondering the idea of getting his own tiblosherater. He was certain of the investment, at least he wanted to be certain, but there was one aching question he needed answered before pulling the trigger. The man in the golf shirt and khakis noticed Glenn while sharing a laugh with the man in the blue blazer. Having recognized Glenn from the previous day, he excused himself, walked toward Glenn from across the stage, trotted down the stairs smiling and asked him if he enjoyed the discussion.

“It was great”, Glenn beamed. “Fantastic, really. I like that a tiblosherater works with rakes, hoes, shovels, lawnmowers or gloves. But I do have a question.” Glenn’s attention wandered across the room toward the remaining attendees then back to the man in the golf shirt and khakis. He leaned in, “It probably sounds a bit silly, and I feel silly for asking it, believe me. But I’m wondering…”, his voice quieting to a loud whisper, “what is tiblosherating?”

Caught off guard by Glenn’s question, the man in the golf shirt and khakis cocked his head to the side as a quizzical look came over him. “Well”, he said, “A tiblosherater will work with any normal gardening implement. It will work with rakes, hoes, shovels, lawnmowers, gloves; they all work with a tiblosherater.”

With that, the smile returned to the man in the golf shirt and khakis. He straightened up and bid Glenn farewell with a familiar firm handshake, then turned back toward the stage to rejoin the man in the blue blazer.


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