One fine June day, My dad and my granddaddy took me fishing. It was during that time between when I was a boy and when I became a man. You, young folk, call it puberty, I call it 11 or 12.
Anyway, we packed up our kits in granddaddy's boat and floated down river till we reached our favourite fishing spot. After the lines were baited and cast, and we had all found a comfortable position, daddy pulled a clam our of his pocket.
"Now son, do you know what this is?" he asked me, turning it over in his hands.
"Why yessir, that be a clam, me and Bobby would go looking for them sometimes," I answered.
"Well, son, in this here world of ours, there are all sorts of clams, but I'm going to tell you about two kinds today," daddy started. I say started because daddy was know to be longwinded especially on fishing trips like this. Not to say I didn't like it, I learned a lot in this same boat from my daddy jawwing.
"The first clam is called an oyster, you usually find those in the ocean or in the sea. Some oysters have pearls in them."
"You mean like the necklace mama wears to church every Sunday?" I butted in.
"Yes, but mama's pearls are fake and the pearls in oysters are real. To get to the pearl in the oyster you have to pry it open with force. Chuck a knife along the edge and work on it till it cracks open. When you ope it up, you find a pearl sitting there." As daddy talked, granddaddy nodded his head in agreement.
"Now, the other clam, we call it a land clam and like the oyster it has a pearl. With this clam you don't use force to open it, and you aren't going after the pearl. Infact you use the pearl to open it." This is where it got confusing but I continued to listen, keeping my questions for later.
"You usually find the pearl along the edge of the clam, near the top. When you find it, you stroke it and pet it like you're scratching behind the ear of the cat. If you do it right and do it long enough, the clam opens up and you get what you want."
"Get what I want?!? What is it do I want from a land clam?" I asked, completely confused.
"Oh you will know when the time comes and a land clam presents itself," granddaddy answered.
"So let me see if I understand, there are two types of clams that have pearls in them, an oyster and a land clam," I started.
"Yup," daddy and granddaddy encouraged me on.
"With the oyster, you use force to open it to get to the pearl."
"With the land clam, you have to stroke the pearl like you pet a pussy cat until the clam opens and when it opens, you get what you want."
"You got it!" granddaddy exclaimed, then he turned to daddy, "I knew he would get it, unlike Beauchamp's kid, all that bible studying ain't good for a growing boy."
"Shush pa, Bobby ain't so bad," daddy said of my cousin, Aunt Ginny's boy.
Although I had more questions, I decided not to ask them as I was sure the answers would confuse me even more. A comfortable silence settled over us as our minds drifted over the idea of the different types of clams.
It was until a few years later that I came across my first land clam. I knew what it was when I saw it and immediately, my daddy's words came back to me.
I found the pearl tucked away along the edge near the top, as daddy said I would find it. I petted and stroked it like I was stroking a kitty cat, but daddy never told me about the purring. I like the purring. And just like that, the clam opened up and I got what I wanted, oh boy, did I get what I wanted.
Since that first experience, I have come across my fair share of land clams. Each experience better than the last, but one day i came across a land clam I didn't want to share with anyone else. That one I kept, had it for what? 52 years, the best 52 years of my life.
And that, my boy, is my story about clams.
I don't normally write stories, but when I do, it's because it was meant to be written and I didn't really have a choice to share it. I hope you like it, owners of land clams, I hope you take care of them and those who come across them, I hope you respect them.