It was a bright morning on Sunday, and the low tide was higher than usual, with plenty of wind and chop in the Folly River. We slid the john boat in at the landing, and cruised along the backside of Folly Beach where sailboats are moored here and there. It was our first time out this fall for oystering, and I’d already invited friends to come by later, so we’d fill two milk crates. The absolute low had just passed, and the tide was already returning. In that cloudless morning we walked the bank, using our hammers to knock the empty shells, the smaller oysters from the clusters. Besides the sound of tapping the white shells, it was a quiet scene. In the wind and sunshine, I’d stop sometimes to watch the water. A marsh hen chattered, and Peter Frank said he could feel water in his boot, another pair sliced by shells. He didn’t care much, pulled out the small bottle of hot sauce he brings on oyster days, and pried open a couple of oysters to eat right there on the pluff mud bank.
That night we had a little roast, lit a fire in the pit in the backyard. Around the picnic table, in the steam rise, eight of us pried open and ate the tenderest mud-salt oysters. And then we sat talking, like we do, just watching the flames.
- November 2008, Sandy Lang