I’ve often heard the old saying ”Life is an adventure,” and most of the time these high points in life are planned. But every now and then an ordinary outing can end up being one of those times you’ll always remember; a so-called first-time experience that will stay with you forever. The other night was just such a night.
Earlier that morning my husband, Nico, had ridden his rusty old beach cruiser down to the canal near our house to set out a crab trap. It was blue crab season here on the gulf coast. He checked it throughout the day, but all he’d discovered each time was that something was nibbling away at his bait. No fish, no crab, no nothing in his homemade trap!
Later that evening, after a day of not-much-excitement, we both rode our rusty old cruisers, with our toddler in tow, out to the west side of the island, hoping to find the day’s catch in our trap. Still nothing! So we — me and our little girl — started collecting oyster shells along the water’s edge, while Nico tossed his line in to see what luck he might have at catching a fish or anything at all.
Much to our disappointment, his bait was taken and his hook left bare. That’s when the winds of change came in to spice things up a bit. That’s when Nico started harvesting oysters. There were so many we could never even make a dent in the abundance out there in the coastal canal waters. He first opened up a juicy morsel and used it for bait before I could stop him.
“Hey, wait a minute,” I shouted. “I love raw oysters!” Somehow, he’d forgotten that little bit of information. I had no qualms about reminding him. “The next one is mine. Okay?” He laughed and assured me he’d get me a few more. He just wanted to fish for a little while longer, he pleaded. I guess I could wait, I agreed reluctantly.
He continued to fish, while me and baby gathered seashells and watched the little hermit crabs scampering along just below the water’s surface. Still, Nico caught nothing, but whatever took that juicy oyster off his hook sure did eat well that night. The bait stealer apparently liked oysters too.
As for me, I was still waiting patiently, but it wouldn’t be long because the sun was setting over the ocean and we would need to ride home soon since our bikes weren’t well equipped with reflectors. Baby was getting sleepy, so I reminded Nico that it was my turn to have a taste of the good stuff. He quickly set to harvesting the lumpy clusters and putting one after another into our shabby cooler. To many folks, these seaweed covered shells might look more like moss infested rocks. Lucky for me, my husband knew what to look for, and I knew what lay inside those tightly hinged shells. I could hardly wait!
It wasn’t long before we were loaded down with the day’s catch of wild Texas Gulf-Coast oysters, and pedaling our way back home. Though anyone who knows a thing or two about oysters, knows they are no easy fix…even when eaten raw. Nico didn’t let the difficulty of prying those morsels open daunt him in the least. And while I was readying our little one for bed inside, my husband was shucking those lovelies outside.
That night I downed a dozen of the freshest, plumpest, juiciest oysters I believe I’ve ever eaten. And the best part of all? They cost nothing but the effort of harvesting and shucking. It had been a long, long time since I’d enjoyed raw oysters on the half-shell, but never had they tasted so good. We had experienced the pleasures of hunting and gathering our food for the evening; it had been an adventure in its simplest form. A family outing that turned into a special memory that will last a lifetime.