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The stage: A small wooden deck with sturdy balusters, overlooking a vegetable garden in late season.

Enter main character: Gigi, a 6-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. It’s clear from her saunter that Gigi is unhurried and uncomplicated, and her portly figure implies a dog who is enthusiastic about her meals. Suddenly, Gigi sees something that piques her interest, and a drama ensues.

Scene 1: Gigi spies a green tomato that has fallen from its vine in the garden. From the glint in her eye and quickening of her step, it’s clear she considers the green tomato a tasty prize — a kind of lucky harvest her enterprising belly has stumbled upon.


Scene 2: Lacking a working knowledge of spacial relevance, Gigi attempts to reach the tomato by squeezing her ample physique (oof!) through the (blasted!) unforgiving deck rails. In an instant, she regrets the enthusiasm with which she enjoyed last night’s second helping of chicken pot pie, delivering in response to her successful, if pitiful, whining. She wonders whether she might have managed the evening just as well with less, and whether that might have made all the difference, right now.


Scene 3: She is so close to the object of her affection, yet so far. Whether she sings like a Siren to entice the tomato to her, or whether she cries in agony for the tragedy of it all… is hard to say. Whatever the case, the tomato remains silent as stone. And unrelenting.


Scene 4: Gigi is nothing if not patient. In the life of a dog, “waiting” is an occupation to which they devote significant resources. A dog, after all, is always waiting for something: the sound of kibble in the bowl, a car engine in the driveway, a key in the door lock. What else can a dog do… but wait, wait, wait?


Scene 5 (panorama): Suddenly, it’s clear: Here’s the true tragicomedy of Gigi’s predicament. The audience sees that the deck railing extends only a few feet beyond Gigi’s current spot on the deck. If you were there, you’d want to urge her to walk around the railing, hop into the garden from its short end, and seize the green orb as her own. You might wave your arms about like an air traffic controller on the runway, signaling a clear path. To resolution… to victory! But even if you did, she wouldn’t respond.

Otherwise, this wouldn’t be much of a story at all. It wouldn’t tell a tale that’s fuller than an under-ripe tomato: A tale about want. And desire. And how — in the end — the shortest path isn’t always the most successful, to what your heart seeks most.


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43 Responses to Gigi Spies a Green Tomato: A Tragicomedy in Five Parts

  1. DianeCourt says:

    Like Pooh diving for the honey and caught half in half out at Rabbit's house! Poor Gigi, you can't say she didn't have hers eyes on the prize — just couldn't pull back far enough to see the big picture. Delightful, Ann! Love the “stop action” photos almost as much as your telling of the tale.

  2. larissagaston says:

    “Lacking a working knowledge of spacial relevance…” – cracked me up! Poor Gigi, hope she eventually got to eat her under-ripe treat.:)

  3. Livepath says:

    That is hysterical. Nice way to capture the moment! The howl and the sad, wistful looks just crack me up.

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  5. Christian Gulliksen says:

    Totally awesome.

  6. Pingback: Gigi Spies a Green Tomato: A Tragicomedy in Five Parts | Gardening Tips and Info

  7. jeffshattuck says:

    A perfect parable for want.


  8. greggmorris says:

    This was great to see and read. Especially first thing on a Sunday morning. Feel like I need to go to church and confess something after a parable this well told and illustrated. Beautiful dog too!

  9. Awesome micro-story. In my head I am wondering if this could be expanded, without the photos into a short story for an anthology.

  10. annhandley says:

    You're right! That shot of her squeezing through the rails is just like Pooh and and honey jar! Two portly figures, intent on a prize…

  11. Michele Miller says:

    This just made my day. You always tell such a great story, and the photos this time were priceless.

  12. Paul Chaney says:

    A few quips…

    Gigi sounds like me: Unhurried, uncomplicated, portly, enthusiastic about meals. Ha!

    We have a cat with a similar problem. She knows how to go out the cat door into the patio, but not how to come in. Yet, on occasion, for a moment she seems to figure it out. But only on occasion.

    As to your larger point, I recall Rev. Robert Schuller once saying, “When the thing you want is not right, God says 'no'; when the timing is not right, he says 'slow'; when you are not right he says 'grow'; but, when everything is right, he says 'go!'”

    How many times in my life have a rushed into something (relationships, new job, spending hard-earned cash on some foolish thing, etc) that, in the end, paid few, if any, dividends. I usually ended up hurt, dismayed or frustrated. (And not just a little feeling sorry for myself.)

    As I get older, I'm learning a little bit of patience is a good thing. Still, the heart wants what it wants when it wants it, and has no capacity for logic or reason. How often has my heart tried to take me where my head told me not to go. Green tomato…forbidden fruit…brass ring…pipe dream. See, I told you Gigi and I had a lot in common!

  13. mindyfried says:

    I was ready for the next scene, in which Gigi busted out of her ephemeral prison, taking some pieces of railing with her and landed the object of desire; or that her doggie friends – perhaps a bit more swift-witted than Gigi (sorry Gigi) brought the green orb to her feet (think, slipper but different). There are great possibilities here, but as you can see, as is, the imagination is awakened. Thanks, Ann, as always!

  14. So very glad I found your blog (via Chris Brogan). What an absolutely delightful metaphor for my own Gigi moments (Gigi, meet Mimi…yikes, another drama in the making!?) when my single mindedness and perspective insulated by desire sabotage life's simple pleasures.

  15. Amanda says:

    Ohh thats so adorable! Gigi definitely pulled a Maggie on that one: ignorant to the obvious in order to keep her eyes on the prize. These are the true trailblazers!

  16. dogpawse says:

    Poor GiGi. Can't see the forest for the trees. Still, the shortest distance between two points IS a straight line and she is quite the mathematician.

  17. kirkpetersen says:

    I kept waiting for the part where Gigi finally captured her prize — only to find that a green tomato is not necessarily the heavenly taste sensation she anticipated.

  18. jnt says:

    Absolutely adorable, Ann. Love that last line…!! – Jo

  19. KarenSwim says:

    Poor Gigi! Who among us cannot relate to unrequited love and the barriers that separate, lol. Sadly I can also relate trying to squeeze through the narrow opening when a short walk would have delivered me much easier!

  20. annhandley says:

    “Green tomato…forbidden fruit…brass ring…pipe dream….” I pretty much love that, Paul. That's a result of leading with your heart, I guess, without engaging your head.

  21. annhandley says:

    Yes! Gigi was definitely channeling Maggie! They are two peas in the same pod.

  22. annhandley says:

    So to those who are wondering… Gigi eventually DID land her prize.. and she ate the whole thing, like an apple.

    Whether it met her expectations or not is hard to say… but much as she relished eating that green tomato right there in the garden, I have to believe she felt a twinge of disappointment. So often the things you think you think want most turn out to be not quite what you anticipated anyway — you know? Don't psychologist have a word for that?

  23. annhandley says:

    “Still, the shortest distance between two points IS a straight line and she is quite the mathematician.” LOL!! YES!

  24. lynnelle says:

    Sometimes I can truly empathize with Gigi – trapped in my own web. This is a brilliant post. Well-done.

  25. bethharte says:

    Excellent post Ann! You know how I love and adore the CKCS! And this post made my morning. My dog gets sudden obsessions and I often think, 'ah, she'll sleep it off and forget about it…' Never happens! I fear that poor Gigi will be looking for the green tomato long after it's gone and for that I feel for her! 😉

    (Amazing how you capture all of this in photos too…)

    “[…] in the end — the shortest path isn’t always the most successful, to what your heart seeks most.”

    That is the line that did me in! Well said.

  26. 🙂 Loved your story, as usual. One day Gigi will be wiser, but till then her antics will be our entertainment…

  27. Peg says:

    I was so unprepared for and delighted by the panoramic conclusion…It reminds me so much the times I've persisted in choosing the hard way, when if I had just looked around and changed my strategy a bit, I might have seen a simpler solution…As for Gigi, her predicament just breaks my heart–what a cutie!!!

  28. Sonny Gill says:

    Poor Gigi. Being the sap that I am for pups, I'd probably just pick up my (future) dog and set him/her right next to the tomato to have at it.

    But that would just defeat the purpose of fighting hard and working your way to your goals, whether it be a tomato or something grander in our lives 🙂

    Funny how a story about an under ripe tomato, a dog and an open wooden fence can make you think about life!

  29. GiGi says:

    Wait a minute. You have a dog named Gigi? Love the video and the post, but my lawyer will be contacting you. Just kidding

  30. annhandley says:

    I know.. I had a feeling you'd be initiating legal action of some sort…

    But for the record, Gigi is a Rescue dog, and she arrived on my doorstep with that name. She came running in my direction whenever I called her by it, and I didn't have the heart to change it on her. Poor girl was confused enough as it was.. loosing her home, her family, her sense of stability and security, her warm bed by the hearth… (is the jury tearing up yet..?) 🙂

  31. Pingback: Now a Mini Motion Picture: ‘Gigi Spies a Green Tomato’

  32. Katybeth says:

    Oh I just love this and the video–perfect!!

  33. Name says:

    OK, you've hit the bull's eye on my soft spot. Nice job using your writing skills for good. Please remember to keep it that way. And keep writing!

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  36. Judy Rodman says:

    This short movie is a parable… the journey of more steps goes farther than the journey of few! hahahaha!! Precious puppy. Reminds me of my own beloved mutt. I do, however, relish the way they are 'in the moment' with things. Kudos!

  37. Patrick_deshaies says:

    I LOVE IT!!!!!!

  38. Pingback: Gigi Spies A Green Tomato | My Odd Family

  39. Trish says:

    So many life lessons here!

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