Shelly @Tropical Mum recently posted a story about her dogs which somehow jogged my memory to a story about my brothers which has become a Hagy family legend: http://www.tropicalmum.com/2012/08/top-dog.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TropicalMum+%28Tropical+Mum%29
THE LAST CLAM
My older brothers, Jim six years my senior, and Chris four years older than I, loved steamed clams. They loved the classic steamer with the long “neck” commonly called “Piss clams” but actually are correctly named “Pith Clams.” I did not like steamers…well, at the age of nine I was instructed by said brothers that I did not like steamers.
Back in the day, most restaurants did not serve steamed clams and Pop seldom took his boys out to eat anyway. When we were on the Jersey Shore for Pop’s vacation we would go out to eat, a rare treat, and being at the Shore, he would take us to a restaurant that served steamed clams.
Pop would order two dozen clams. He and mom had maybe two steamers apiece leaving twenty for Jim and Chris. They did not count their clams; they would gobble them up as fast as possible.
When there was but one clam left, Jim would grab it and then start the “LAST CLAM Ritual.” “Ahh” he began, “I have in my hand the LAST CLAM.” He would slowly dip it in the clam broth, then swirl it in the melted butter. With the clam properly washed in broth and lathered with butter, he would hold it up to Chris and torment him with: “THE LAST CLAM.” He would then slowly drop it in his mouth, grip the neck in his teeth, pull the neck skin off and slowly nibble the neck down until “THE LAST CLAM” was devoured.
The ritual was not done with malice, it was a good natured tradition and it seemed that Jim always managed to get “THE LAST CLAM.”
One summer Chris decided to outsmart his older brother. Pop ordered the usual two dozen clams, and the clam feast began. As usual, when it came to the last clam it was in Jim’s possession. The ritual started in earnest. When at last the clam was devoured, Jim finished with a lip smacking “Ahh.”
It was then that Chris got his revenge.
Chris had grabbed a clam and hidden it in his napkin during the initial clam fest. When Jim was done with his ritual, Chris hauled out the hidden bi-valve and declared, “OH, but now I have THE LAST CLAM.”
The ritual began a new, with mom, dad and myself laughing as Jim stared in slack-jawed disbelief. After much broth swirling, and butter dunking Chris finished off the clam with panache and closed with the requisite lip smacking “Ahh.”
Chris had at last bested Jim in the “Last Clam” contest…or so he thought.
Jim had seen Chris hide his clam and saved one for himself. As Chris finished his lip smacking “Ahh” and with everyone laughing, Jim triumphantly declared while holding up his bounty, “Oh I beg to differ because as you can see I have THE LAST CLAM!”
That began what was to my memory the last “THE LAST CLAM” ritual.