The last three mornings, I’ve been awakened by an annoying “alarm clock” going off just outside my bedroom window at the crack of dawn. Sschwoo, Sschwoo, Sschwoo, Sschwoo… I don’t know how else to put into words the sound that’s made by car after car after clam-seeking car of those in pursuit of the mighty Pacific Bivalve.
Around here we call it the Clam Parade. And it starts at dawn, no matter what time the actual tide. Sschwoo, Sschwoo, Sschwoo, Sschwoo… No amount of pulling the covers over my head was going to make it go away. So, as Grandfather always said, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
I pulled on some less-that high-quality clothes, donned a pair of “beach tennies,” stuck my clam license into my back pocket, threw my clam gun and bucket into the car trunk, and headed for the beach. I drove south. The parade was headed north. Shhhh… Don’t tell anyone that there are actually clams all over the beach at the lowest tides, and you don’t NEED to drive an extra 10 miles each way to get them. Twenty miles is almost an extra gallon of gas, and I refuse to add that to the cost of my “free” dinner!
So I headed for the nearest beach approach, which happens to be south of me. I parked on the side of the approach, with car already pointed toward home. Walked down to the beach and… The sun was just coming up. The morning was stellar. And yes, I got my clams. And cleaned them. And I feel darn proud that I can still get out there and forage for food with the best of them.
Later, while lunching at Subway, a friend of mine approached our table. “You oughta write a play about those crazy clam diggers,” he said, shaking his head. Now, there’s an idea! My wheels have been turning ever since: Sschwoo, Sschwoo, Sschwoo, Sschwoo…