Tuesday, April 16, 2002

I remember once going clam digging in a hurricane. I was probably about ten years old, and we were all at my grandmother's house in Onset, on Cape Cod, with a variety of cousins, aunts, and uncles, when some older cousin got the brilliant idea to go down to the beach and dig for clams.

I'm sure the adults present (there must have been some adults present) pointed out that the weather was turning bad, but we didn't care. Probably the originator of the idea had some excuse about that being the best time to go claming, as the weather would somehow bring them to the surface. We had our buckets and trowels, and we were going to get some clams.

We stayed out for over an hour, without much luck, but plenty of fun. My younger cousin, Robin, was the first to turn in and head back to the house, but I felt the pressure to be a man, and remain on the beach. We all kept telling ourselves, and each other, "It's not that bad. It's not like a hurricane, or something."

Watching the storm got to be more interesting than digging for clams, as we watched the waves pound the shore, splashing us, and over-turning a couple of small boats in the harbor. Shortly after that, I turned back to the house as the sand in eyes was stinging beyond belief. The rest came in shortly after that.

Later, warmed up with fresh toll-house cookies and hot chocolate, we watched the evening news and discovered that yes, indeed, that was a hurricane. Shot after shot showed the destruction until, finally, came the shots of the boats we had watched over-turn off of Independence Point in Onset.

Forgotten was whether or not anybody got any clams (I don't think we did). Remembered was the time we were all young and crazy enough to go clam digging in a hurricane.

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