I've Told You About the Italian Boys, Haven't I?

Grandpa leans back in his chair and clears his throat. “The Italian boys were the best at fishing for clams,” he says. “They had a method.”

We don’t dispute this, but he elaborates. “The fishing wardens would count your clams at the end of the day, but the Italian boys got around this with a baguette and a bottle of wine under their arms.”

I picture this, and in the most absurd terms; teenage boys with dark hair and dark half-mustaches, wearing ascots and rolled-up pants, parading up and down the docks of Monterey, California, circa 1947.

"They’d be out all day in the harbor, and they’d pull a lot of good clams." Grandpa pauses, his eyebrows rising, and we can tell this is his favorite part of the story. "But sometimes they’d pull a small one."

No one knows where this is going, and that’s the way Grandpa likes it.

"When that happened, they’d shuck the oyster, take a bite of bread, down a swig of wine, and toss the shell back in the water. Wardens never knew a thing."

I suspect otherwise, but I smile all the same.