Tuesday, May 20, 2014

clamfest 2014

Our anniversary celebration is always held on the weekend of the best spring clam tides on the Oregon Coast. This is our tenth and the clams this year are huge. A limit of 15, carried in my mesh sack, weighs three times as much as in previous years. Fukushima. I know. On the upside, the clams glow in the dark, so if you start clamming before sunrise, you. can do without a lantern.

I made reservations a bit late, as is my custom, and we ended up in Venice, an RV park turned crack 'hood. "Venice" because it is set along the tidal canal that wanders through Seaside. Word has it that Venice used to be one of those upscale mobile parks that only accepted newer mobile homes, must-have aluminum skirting in place, no vehicles-in-progress, no faded plastic flowers in plastic pots. Well, not anymore. Now, an old woman with COPD struggles to breathe through her memorized tourist script, including how to tell if the tide is going out or coming in. We know this, of course, but were afraid to interrupt her lest she run out of air completely and fall over. I believe that she is being taken advantage of. The drunkards and addicts run amok, all stopping by her place daily, which is next to our place. I hear snippets of conversations, "...yeah, it'll be here on the third," and "No, really. I'll be out by the end of the month...." For all I know she's selling meth.

I can't imagine, given the general entropy of Venice, that she gets many cash customers. These days, any remaining "permanent" trailers are in utter disrepair and have become rentals. The maintenance man is drunk, driving around in a front-end loader/backhoe that the crackheads refer to as his hovercraft. No one has pulled a weed in years and the blackberries have thus far consumed the Spanish-style wrought iron trellis, a set of concrete seagulls and the compulsory wooden sea captain with their persistent, thorny vines. Crackheads don't mind the ambience. All the better to hide in plain sight.

As with any three day tide set, the first days are the best, because the clam beds are being revealed -- this is the first real set since last year -- so the clams are plentiful. By day three, they were over-picked and a small storm had blown in. No self-respecting clam would put up with such a beating; they stayed under the sand. We had to work for our take on the final day, but came home with 74 clams.

It was all work for me. With my right breast still smoking from the radiation burns, it was all I could do to get through the hour of physical labor each morning. But I prevailed. I will not give up my life. Not yet. And good news! A possible job has come my way. It is something I think I would like, and does not involve death except to the extent that human beings are involved. I am not quite ready to work though, and I hope our time frames can co-exist and they will wait for me. Either way, all is well. I've done my part and the outcome is not mine to fret over.

A radical hailstorm followed us back from the coast and tore through my sweet little spring flowers. They will bounce back. We finally made it home (the hail stopped freeway traffic) and I fried a big batch of clams. Kurt's mom and Nicole joined us. Nicole is staying here these days and was such good company during the post-radiation inferno.

And that's the news from Clinton Street.


nina said...

Good news, good story telling. Life as I like it. Welcome back to the upside.

asha said...

Wonderful description of the trailer park. Perfect. Great to hear about the possible job. I am so curious what is might be but mostly glad it is not in the death industry. We will have our own fair share of that soon enough. Right now, it's time for living and, as you so wisely point out, the outcomes are not ours to fret. What a relief! :)