By Karen Zhang
I cannot think of another better title for this piece than “Stolen Eggplant” to express my anger and regret. This summer I planted a box of Japanese eggplants. Just as they were bearing fruits and I was receiving praises from a neighbor, one of the biggest eggplants was gone overnight!
The day before I had checked on my eggplants and planned to harvest the biggest one the following day. But what awaited me was the empty branch with a cleverly-hidden cut. I assumed a greedy neighbor must have her eyes on that very eggplant for a long time and when it was time to take action, she was also well-prepared to not arouse my notice
Although I have received comforting words from my friends and family over this small loss, I still cannot understand why this misfortune has happened to me. Or I should say, neighbor-theft happens in America with no exception.
Before I came to America, I kept hearing about the safe and quiet neighborhoods in this country. Granted, before my eggplant was stolen, I did believe American neighborhoods were safe and even soul-less—as American people rarely roam around on the streets but drive mostly. An American friend of mine told me he had kept his house door unlocked for years, uneventful still. A biker could leave his bike on the lawn, untouched. A letter got misdelivered and the neighbor returned it to the right address honestly..
Now my eggplant is gone and my faith for a safe and quiet neighborhood has changed. I have to be vigilant. As a saying goes, once bitten twice shy. I have moved my eggplants to the fenced back yard from the open air in the front of the house. However, critters like chipmunks and squirrels are easily lured by the big fruits. I’d rather feed the critters with the fruit of my hard work than encourage a neighbor to get something for nothing.
Alas, when it comes to growing vegetables in America, you cannot always win but must get ready to fight against weather, invaders and many other unexpected threats.
Who says American life is easy as a pie?