Gary Church

It’s that time when the Super Bowl, the World Series and “American Idol” all have to take a back seat.

Yes, it’s time to get your pacemakers checked and your nitro-glycerin tablets ready.

Next Saturday, we will have the second annual “Gary the Grower’s Tomato Tasting Contest.”

Remember, we don’t care what your tomato looks like, just how it tastes.

This gala event will be held in the luxurious accommodations of the Weingartner’s Greenhouse garage, 1816 Old Butler Road. Black tie is optional.

Registration begins at 10:15 a.m. and the judging starts promptly at 11.

We only have 50 chairs, so you must call (724) 654-8251 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to make your reservation. Operators (Paul and I) are standing by.

As you all know, I lost last year to Dr. Jim Snow. It wasn’t my fault. It was Andy Byler, who gave me that little yellow pear tomato that was marked “beefmaster.” Blame him. All you have to do is figure out which Andy Byler. I will give you a clue: he’s Amish.

We will have the same nonpartial judges again this year: My wife, Carol the Cook; my friend’s wife, Dee the decorator; and Mitch “The Wimp Out King” Olzsak’s wife, Carol Colaizzi.

In addition, we are adding this year a prize for the largest tomato and a prize for the weirdest shape. Ladies, that’s for a tomato, not your husband’s weird shape.

Carol the Cook will be making her famous BLTs again this year — using your tomatoes, of course, so please bring extras. In fact, if any of you would like to bring something to add to our luncheon, please do so. Because of national security reasons, no coconut, please.

Dee has agreed to make her very popular tomato salad again this year. Just remember, it is a secret recipe and she won’t tell what it is.

I regret that I recently have learned how it must be to be a politician. I have been offered bribes. The difference is, I name names.

Dr. Mitlo offered me not one, but two plates of brownies if I would let his friend, Mr. Ascione, win.

This is a very tempting offer, but I don’t think Dr. Mitlo ever made a plate of brownies in his life, so I’m passing.

Mary K. Schenkel sent us a wonderful pizza and mentioned she is planning on beating Dr. Snow this year.

It was a good pizza, but it probably will not have any effect on the outcome of the contest.

If you are thinking about making me a bribe, might I suggest a year’s supply of Mattie Medure’s chicken. That should do the trick.

Should you feel a rumbling this week, like an earthquake, don’t worry. It’s just Doc Snow shaking, knowing he has to face a prepared Gary the Grower this year.

Call early for your reservation and you will be there to find out the answers to the following questions.

Will Henry Wellhausen beat Dr. Snow this year for second place?

Will Mitch Olzsak wimp out again and say his tomatoes just aren’t ready?

Will I get two plates of brownies?

Will the garage get cleaned in time?

Will Carol the Cook burn the bacon?

See you Saturday!

Make your space a green space.

(Gary Church writes a weekly column for The News.)

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