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.