The 64-year-old Jacksonville native, a former bank teller, said others asked her about one for herself, but the idea was put to rest because of cost.
That's when her husband of 46 years, Donald Lewis, stepped in and decided to get her a tomato for her birthday.
The tomato, weighing in at more than 600 pounds, was delivered in June by Harry's Building Materials using a truck and forklift.
Although she's had other big presents over the years, the tomato was special and unique, Mrs. Lewis said.
“I just fell in love with that tomato when I saw it,” she said.
The gift is one of many ways that the couple shows their affection.
They first met at a Chevrolet dealership when she was 17 and he was 25. Lewis was a car salesman, and Mrs. Lewis' father served as a mechanic.
Mrs. Lewis said she took her father to work in the morning and would then take the car to school. They married when Mrs. Lewis was 18.
Lewis, who underwent a heart transplant in 2010, explained that throughout the years, they have “just always been close.” He said they've worked together on businesses and went to Hawaii — a place he wanted to go to since they married, he said.
“We like being together, working together,” Mrs. Lewis said. “I've heard lots of women say, 'My husband drives me crazy.' Well, he doesn't drive me crazy. I like being with him. I like doing things with him.”
Painting the concrete tomato also was a team effort. They both painted it shortly after it was delivered with some help from their granddaughter.
Mrs. Lewis said she never thought about painting it anything but red.
It was “always red. … That's a tomato to me,” she said.
“We used to keep the yard pretty and had caladiums out…,” Lewis said. But “my health like it had been in the last 10 or 12 years (and Mrs. Lewis working), everything went to pot for a few years. We will get back into it and work together out there to get it fixed up pretty again.”
In the meantime, one of their most recent activities together is hitting the gym. Mrs. Lewis said instead of giving each other individual Christmas gifts, they decided they would get a gym membership.
For Valentine's Day, the concrete tomato gift is sufficient, Mrs. Lewis said.
“This runs over to Valentine's Day,” she said with a laugh. “It doesn't have to be topped. All I have to do is look out and see it.”
She even documented her view last fall when she photographed a squirrel drinking from the top of the tomato.
“When it rains, water catches in there, (and there's a) squirrel that gets up there and drinks. It serves a dual purpose. It's watering our squirrel too,” Mrs. Lewis said.
Since displaying the tomato, the couple said they've received comments from neighbors, and some relatives who came through from California went out and took some pictures.
As Mrs. Lewis put it, “Not many people have a 600-pound tomato.”
She said she has no plans to repaint it in the future because, “It's always going to be a tomato.”
In fact, she said she was once asked if someone could paint faces on it and refused.
While the couple isn't planning huge additional gifts this Valentine's Day, they do plan to have a date night.
VALENTINE'S DAY SPECIAL
After today, the cost is $250. There is an optional $5 fee for a concrete pad.
According to the chamber, more than 220 tomatoes have been purchased by individuals, businesses and churches.
People can order tomatoes at the chamber office, 526 E. Commerce St. (inside the Norman Activity Center).
For more information, contact Amber Mayfield at the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce at 903-586-2217.