A Parable of the Tomato, Tobacco Leaf and the Worm

The horned worm (stock photo in public domain)

In the beginning of time God made the tobacco plant, the tomato plant and the horned worm. (Read Tobakkuk: 55:15-20)

The tobacco plant said, “I can give you great energy, but alas, you will lay down in rest and not worry about anything.”

The tomato plant said, “I can give you a wonderful tomato and a whole wheat sandwich to nurture your body and soul. You will have culinary peace.”

But alas, the horned worm, the evil of all good eating said, “Give me tomatoes or give me death.”

And so God said, “Very well then horned worm, you can choose. Restful death or nutrition.”

So the horned worm said, “Let me have both, but let me start with the tobacco so that I may eat the tobacco and have my tomato, too.”

And God thought, “Is this the beginning of gluttony, and bad habits? I think I will call this a ‘sin’. But go ahead horney worm. Your choice.”

So the Horned worm, began with the tobacco and grew anxious with excitement. But before he could make it to the tomato, he died of lethargy. And thus, to this day the tobacco plant is the protector of the tomato plant and subsequently gives a little kick and relaxation, too.

As with all my stories and musings, this one is true, well mostly true and possible. I posted this on FaceBook after my friend and neighbor farmer Denise, who was aware of my two tobacco plants growing in pots on the back deck, wanted to know where I got tobacco seeds. Her tomato plants had many insects eating the plants and their fruit. Doing research on plant pairings she discovered tobacco could be a good pairing. It is called a trap plant. The pairing was not intentional for me. I was growing tobacco to relearn the curing process, along with tomatoes in a raised bed garden.

As a young teenager, I spent a summer cropping tobacco on my Grandfather’s farm. It was hot and hard work. Yet, Amerindians have grown, cured and used tobacco in rituals for centuries. Knowing the history of the cabin, and doing research for another writing project, I wanted to learn more. By the way, there is no Tobakkuk: 55:15-20. I have seen no horned worms this year and both tobacco and tomato plants are doing well.

Coming This Year

It started as a simple retirement project of renovating an old worn down cabin in the Appalachian backwoods of the modern Riverbend Development in Lake Lure, NC. It quickly became an ancient travelog of a backwater mountain home full of artifacts, local stories and historic cultural conflicts. Growing up in Western North Carolina an hour from the cabin, the author expanded his construction hobby skills, and utilized historical research, aided by new friends, family, and neighbors to reflect on the process from his cabin’s front porch. Written in three parts of practical restoration processes, historic documentation, and life reflections, the author invites the reader through text and photos to go along for the journey.

The expanded and edited book will replace these blog posts. It will be offered in print and electronic formats.