While making a video about planting tomatoes a few days ago, I lost one of my prized possessions. It's a Swiss Army knife given to me by a friend when I left the Medina County Gazette in Ohio headed for Pittsburgh. It will be exactly 12 years ago on June 1st that I started at the PG and I've carried this knife just about every day I've been here.
Mandi Wright is a Pittsburgher who I worked with in Medina; she's now with the Detroit Free Press. I can still remember the excited look on her face when I opened the gift. She knew a gardener could use a good pocket knife and she was right. It was the perfect gift, and I've cherished it.
While making the video, I was cutting plastic off of the bottoms of huge tomato plants and then walking around the fence to get cages. When I returned to work on a pepper I reached in the little sheath on my belt and the knife was gone.
We stopped filming as I frantically spent an hour retracing my steps. When we were done I searched and searched but to no avail.
That's when my neighbor Rob Joswiak came to the rescue with his metal detector. As a last resort I called him and he said he'd be down in a few days to take a look. 15 minutes later he was at my back door, machine in hand.
It only took about 10 minutes for him to poke around and we found the knife buried under one of those big tomatoes.
I doubt if he'll ever forget the look on my face when I lifted it from the black compost. I thought it was gone forever
The knife is a symbol of a long and wonderful friendship and a reminder of a place that I'll never forget.
Leaving Medina for Pittsburgh was traumatic at the time, but it ended up being the best thing that ever happened to me. I'm reminded of that every time I use that pocket knife.