Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

“Get that tomato, there, and that one,” she
says as she points with her cane and holds
my arm. We have walked the short space from
the back porch to her late August garden,
tomatoes too ripe, yellow-green peppers
in threes bursting through the dry. Doing
as I’m told, I pick the red ones, snap off
the best peppers and set them, one by one,
on the brown grass. If this moment is as
large as it seems right now, I must
surrender it, give up my self to a will
neither mine nor hers, listen when she says
“When Petey was small, we had a summer this
dry. Get those peppers.” No pause between
what was and what is, she points again. We
turn and walk back. Then, trading my arm
for the porch rail, she says, “I can make it
from here.” And now I return, as if I am
not alone, to gather her sweet gifts.

Image by via Creative CommonsImage cropped.

Dear Reader,

We launched the First Things 2023 Year-End Campaign to keep articles like the one you just read free of charge to everyone.

Measured in dollars and cents, this doesn't make sense. But consider who is able to read First Things: pastors and priests, college students and professors, young professionals and families. Last year, we had more than three million unique readers on

Informing and inspiring these people is why First Things doesn't only think in terms of dollars and cents. And it's why we urgently need your year-end support.

Will you give today?

Make My Gift