Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Cousins

We sold clams for $5 a dozen, probably a lot more pricey than they were worth, but lots of parents out on Fire Island at our exclusive beach community would buy them from us. It was still cheaper from us than from the market there and certainly lots cheaper than the restaurants.

Dave B., Jon, Alex and I; or Dave K. and I; or especially Dave B. and Jon using Dave’s family’s small plastic dinghy; would wade out in the Great South Bay anywhere from a foot to about 100 yards off the berm along the north side of the island at low tide. It was only up to our waists even though we were young and barely five feet tall. The main hazards were crabs, which would surprise more than hurt were you to dig one of them up instead of a clam with your pointed toes. Dave’s dinghy always gave him and Jon the edge in hauling major clams – they’d make $50 to $75 easy between them because they could get a lot more in one trip.

Then they’d take their buckets filled with clams, sand, and salt water, and put them on a wagon and drag it around the community, knocking on doors or stopping by decks, where bronzed women in white bikinis would answer with martini in hand. If no cash were readily available, we’d take credit, coming back around later to collect.

My dad loved these clams; they were littlenecks and cherrystones. He’d take the clam knife and shuck them expertly, cutting the muscle at the hinge and putting one half of the clam to his pursed lips, then would suck out the beige-grey mollusk as if he were kissing a baby. Then he’d tip back the shell into his mouth, just to make sure he’d gotten all the clam juice.



photo: dinosk

1 comment:

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

I love clams. Makes me hungry just reading about it. I can just see a bunch a kids selling clams on Fire Island for $5 a bucket. Sounds like a bargain to me.

Susan