Wineka column: Winter comes early for one; summer hanging on for another

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 28, 2012

SALISBURY – Let’s talk about toilet paper and tomatoes.
First the TP. Rather than reveal how old she is, Betsy Rabon
celebrated what she insists on calling a “milestone birthday” Wednesday.
“I don’t need the whole town of Salisbury to know,” said Rabon,
who works at Rowan Regional Medical Center.
Betsy and her husband, Eddie, left their home on East Ridge Road
about 5:50 p.m. Wednesday for a celebratory birthday dinner at Outback.
When they returned about 7:30 p.m., they first thought winter had
arrived early to Rowan County.
Their whole yard, much of their house and inside and outside
Betsy’s car were covered with toilet paper. Streamers of the white stuff
were draping off the power lines along East Ridge Road.
All the trees in her front yard were white, as were an old well
house, bushes, potted plants, the front porch and shutters. The roof was
even rolled.
“I just started laughing and laughing,” Betsy said Thursday as
she started the task of cleaning up. “I said, ‘I’m going to kill them.'”
Rabon knew the folks to blame, and she named Lisa Mays and
Mitzi Ross, though other “culprits” surely were involved.
Mays had been talking with Rabon, before the birthday girl left
for dinner Wednesday, and she cunningly asked about her friend’s plans,
when she was leaving, where she was going and the like – all the
details Mays needed to execute the TP attack.
It’s a group of friends “who always pick on me,” Rabon said, but
no one was really feeling sorry for her. She apparently had rolled
Mays’ house last year.
“I’m going to get them back, when they least suspect it,” Rabon
All summer long, Rabon’s friends promised to celebrate her
“milestone birthday” in style.
Her brother, Bob Kennerly, lives next door.
“I’m just glad they got the right yard and not mine,” Kennerly
Now about the tomatoes. A nice lady on Stokes Ferry Road called
me the other day to tell me about her tomato plant.
This is not stuff you stop the presses for and, believe me, the
chances are not good the Post will do many more stories about regular
old tomato plants – or TP’d yards, for that matter.
But my new lady friend’s tomato plant had been such a source of
wonder and pride for her all season. Earlier this summer, she had
attended a Friday Night Out in the downtown, and someone offered to her –
for free – a tomato plant in an 8-ounce plastic cup.
The stem was so spindly, but she thought, what the heck, why not
take it home and put it in the soil where she had planted tomatoes last
year without much success?
“I had no idea it would do anything,” she said.
Plus, it was July, sort of late in the season. She added some
extra-rich soil and a few doses of Miracle-Gro and allowed nature to
take care of the rest.
The tomato plant seemed to thrive in its spot next to her house,
where most of the sun seeps through in the afternoon, not the morning.
As it grew – and grew – the woman had to tie it to two different
stakes to keep it from falling over. Still, the weight of all its
tomatoes keeps pulling it down.
“Really, I was just fascinated with it,” the lady said, “and how
it had grown from a little stem.”
Her tomato plant is more than 6 feet high now and remains flush
with the fruit for one of her favorite meals – a tomato sandwich with
mayonnaise and a slice of onion.
Life is full of these little surprises: friends who TP your
yard, and tomatoes that become your friend, without even knowing it.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263,or