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Summer is here, and in the garden the beet goes on.

Where does the beet go?

On any dinner plate left unattended at dinnertime, that's where.

Come July, beets, like most veggies in the garden, tend to come in with a vengeance.

Yes, “vengeance is mine,” saith the gardener with a bumper crop of beets – or squash.

When you're the “squashee” it's not so good. It's the “squasher,” the one holding all those bags of squash, who has a definite advantage.

Squash has a way of evening old scores.

No home, in other words, is home free once the squash harvest begins.

Remember that neighbor, the expert gardener, who persuaded you to plant that 25-foor row of squash?

“Half of them won't make it,” he promised.

They did.

A five-gallon bucket of squash on “expert gardener's” porch will make him think twice before offering advice next year.

Non-gardening issues can also be resolved under threat of squash.

Remember that car that was in your parking place every time you were a few minutes late for work? A super-size bag of squash on the front seat of parking place pilferer's car should solve that problem for the rest of the summer.

By mid-July, in fact, there's enough squash to squash all the annoying little problems of everyday life. What the gardeners of the world really need is a summertime super hero to tip the scales of garden justice in their favor.

Liberty and just squash for all!

Rumor has it (through the squash vine, of course) that there is such a super hero. By day he's a mild mannered gardener, but when called into action he slips into the nearest garden shed and emerges the Caped Cucurbit Crusader – Squash Man!

Attired in zucchini-green cape with yellow squash cape, this super hero is ready to defend the oppressed (or those depressed by too much squash).

With the zucchini season in full swing (not a bad way to dispose of those baseball bat sized squash) it's comforting to know that Squash Man is on the job. Neither rain, nor hail, nor dark of night keeps this super hero from his appointed rounds (or oblongs, as the squash may be).

Bags of squash, deposited like foundlings on the doorsteps of the unsuspecting, offer proof of Squash Man's motto – “Finders, Keepers.” With Squash Man on patrol you can be sure that things that go bump in the night are actually “blimps” of overgrown squash that would, in fact, put the Goodyear Blimp to shame. Night after night those squash deposits add up like money in the bank.

Trouble is, no one wants to make a withdrawal.

Just what is it about this prolific summer veggie that drives normally law-abiding citizens to the other side of the road?

It's squash – plain and simple. That, in a few words, is the gist of the problem. Squash is plain and simple – and so easy to slip into just about any recipe.

Consider the following squash season dilemmas:

• you frequently find little green specks in your ice cream. What is it? Trust me, it's better not to ask;

• there's something different about the syrup you pour on your morning pancakes – it's green and yellow (while festive, this syrup has probably never seen a maple tree).

Are you beginning to see why we need Squash Man? With the squash harvest underway in earnest, gardeners need a “distributor” who doesn't mind putting in some overtime.

So if you hear someone humming, “Return to Sender, Address Unknown” in the middle of the night, don't be surprised. The next morning the surprise will be there on the porch. You guessed it – bags of squash.

While some may scoff at the idea of a squash super hero, they shouldn't. The world is a safer place once the zucchini start to bloom.

What self-respecting burglar would break into a house full of squash? They won't do the crime because they might have to do the time – eating squash three times a day, that is.

If anything can take a bite out of crime, it's squash.

When there's zucchini bread in every kitchen, in other words, all is well.

Just remember – Squash Man is out there.

And he plays for keeps.