When I was a kid our cousins would trade vacation destinations each summer. On the “bad years”, they would come to our rural home in western New York. On the good ones- we’d visit them on Long Island. My uncle Don was a wonderful man. A teacher and basketball coach. I can still hear his jokes, see his warm smile and smell his cigar.
Part of the Long Island tradition were backyard clam bakes with raw clams and oysters served with cocktail sauce. I was six. When uncle Don offered me the raw oyster he first demonstrated by squeezing lemon over it eating it with a smile as if it were a dare. My Aunt Lorrie scolded him, “Oh Don, honestly, he’s not going to like that!”
When you love someone you trust them, plain and simple. I took an oyster off the tray and slurped it back. When I almost immediately reached for another one, uncle Don laughed.
My wife Katie has heard that story a million times over. We bought Nadine’s Martha’s Half Dozen (pictured above), at the Frying Pan Gallery in Wellfleet because both of us love oysters as a summer time treat. And because my grandmother (uncle Don’s mom) and his daughter were both named Martha.
Ralph Frisina, Otis, MA