by Christine Berglund

After 30 years, I am once again cultivating a curious little fruit that our family calls “pie tomatoes.” Physalis is a little berry in the Nightshade family, which also includes tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant.

My friend Cherry remembered them from long ago, and sent me the seeds, sold under the name “Ground Cherry” and “Husk Tomato.” It is also known as “Cape Gooseberry.”

The plant is rather ugly, and looks like a weed. It can grow three feet tall and spreads up to four feet wide. The fruit is enclosed in a loose husk which completely encases the marble-sized berry. They ripen to a papery yellow and then drop off the plant, which is the signal that they are ready to eat or cook. They make the most wonderful pies!

My mother got her plants from a Jewish friend, along with the pie recipe. She called it Shoo Fly pie, which I found out later is something altogether different. I suppose they didn’t know the English equivalent to whatever they called it before, possibly in Europe, and so adopted the erroneous name.

These peculiar golden fruits bring back memories of my childhood, and of my sweet mother who passed away when I was nine. I still call the fruits “pie tomatoes” and the pie is simply “pie tomato pie.” I should be taking suggestions for a pie-naming contest. It deserves a good one!

The mundane name does not in any way detract from how good these are! They even contain chemical compounds that combat inflammation, hypertension, and even cancer. However, in life we assign false names to things that often should be called what they really are.

Our firstborn, Heather, was a champion at re-naming things. An early talker, she probably just didn’t want to wait to find out the name of an object before she would assign one of her own. As she played on the monkey bars at a local playground, she might say,“Mommy, I’m climbing the blambidge!” The tall pails we used for toy storage became “dummalines,” and the knobs on her crib were “pams.”

Even as a baby, whenever she saw the moon she would point and murmur in a reverent tone, “Schlabaah…” We still don’t know what that meant, and neither does she.

I must admit our family still uses these words, mostly because of our nostalgia for Heather’s baby days. Sometimes it’s okay to use fanciful words, but our last-born chided us recently for our failure to tell her that “dummaline” was a made-up word.

Her friends gave her a blank stare when she used the word in their presence. Silly friends! No; silly us, for using the wrong word for “storage bucket.”

There has been a lot of buzz lately about what the word “marriage” can be used to describe, and even a news report that a Brazilian man and two women have a union called “marriage” recognized by the government.

Everybody has his or her own opinion on how far we can go with this classification, but rarely is the will of our Creator considered. We simply argue about the word, or it is re-made to mean something different.

We can call something “health care” when it really means killing an unwanted child. There are numerous ways to make something look better by simply re-naming it.

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20 NASB).

Let’s use our words carefully, and let them always be true. Pie, anyone?


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Christine (Tina) Berglund

Christine lives in middle Tennessee with her husband Gary, a.k.a. "The Yard Boy." They have served churches in eight states where Gary has preached full-time most of their married lives. The children have flown the nest, but they "baby" their plants now, and even get to visit grandchildren once in a while.

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