Will Bontrager
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Fresh, Ripe Tomato Sandwich

(An Amish Story)

(Links to more popcorn stories.)

Well, Little Joe is old enough now to do simple errands for his Mother and Dad at times, learning to be a good and hard-working Amish boy.

Fresh, Ripe Tomato Sandwich

"Little Joe!"

Hearing his mother calling him, Little Joe stopped trying to teach his cat how to fetch like a dog.

He found her in the kitchen, "Hi, Mother."

"Dad is in the hay field, the one past the corn field. He's working hard and I want him to have this sandwich. It's made from the very first ripe tomato in the garden."

She put the sandwich into a bag and handed it to Little Joe.

"Please take it to your dad."

Little Joe's mouth watered at the thought of a thick slice of garden fresh, ripened-on-the-vine tomato. His dad will love it!

"Yes, Mother! I'll do that."

Little Joe walked fast, like his dad would. He looked like a small version of his dad, too, in his Amish clothes — denim pants held up with suspenders over the shoulders of his little Amish shirt.

As he traveled along the edge of the corn field, he kept thinking how good that tomato would taste. On home-made bread, too. And the special dressing Mom made.

"Well, Dad won't mind if I have a tiny bite from one corner of the sandwich," he thought.

After some more inner dialog, he succeeded in convincing himself that Dad would not mind at all.

There was a small bush along the fence row, tall enough to make some shade. That's where Little Joe parked himself.

With some hesitation intermingled with much anticipation, Little Joe removed the sandwich from its wrapper. Gingerly, he took a small bite from a corner.

But all he got was bread and dressing. The tomato didn't reach all the way to the corner.

So, of course, Little Joe had to take another bite, one with tomato.

Oh, my, it was good!

"Dad won't miss just a tiny bite more," reasoned Little Joe.

Leaning against the fence next to the bush, Little Joe licked the lips of his satisfied smile.

"Well, maybe just one more itsy-bitsy nibble."

When Little Joe finally arrived and handed his dad the paper sack with the sandwich, over half the sandwich was missing.

Upon opening the sack, his dad said, "So, Little Joe, was the sandwich good?"

Looking down, focused on the ground, Little Joe nodded and mumbled, "Yes."

"But, Dad!," he said, becoming more animated, "I only took a little teensy-weensy bite! It was so good, so I had one more."

"And then another, Little Joe?"

Little Joe hung his head and nodded.

His dad turned away so Little Joe wouldn't see his smile. When he got control of his urge to chuckle, he turned back.

"Well, Little Joe, that happened to me once, when I was a little boy. So I know how tempting it is."

Then Dad continued.

"But it only happened that once to me. It's only going to happen once to you, too, Little Joe. Right?"

Little Joe looked up with a big smile. He had been forgiven!

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