Suzanne's Second Estate

A web log of my thoughts, activities, life....

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Happy as Clams

This past fall I had the pleasure of interviewing Sam and Hannah K. of Montesano, Wash., about clam-digging in the Northwest. I was absolutely thrilled with the amazing photos by Rika Manabe. She captured the fun and excitement of this distinctively Northwest activity.

When I was a teen, Sam and Hannah's parents, John and Jill, took my brother clam-digging. I was the grateful beneficiary of many delicious clam dinners thanks to my brother's efforts. "Happy as Clams" appears in the April issue of Clubhouse Jr.
When a clam pulls its neck from the surface or starts to dig, it leaves a little hole in the sand. Sometimes a clam squirts water out of the hole. "One time a clam squirted me in the eye!" Sam says.

Hannah doesn't dig her own clams, but she helps her dad. Because the family digs in the surf instead of dry sand, someone has to watch for incoming waves. Hannah does this job. She has to pay careful attention so she doesn't get wet. "One time I almost got knocked over by a wave!" she says.

This story isn't available online, but if you would like a copy of the magazine in which the article appears, let me know.


At 12:29 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

That's a great picture!

Did you ever wonder where that phrase, "happy as a clam," came from? To quote an online source:

"The saying is very definitely American, hardly known elsewhere. The fact is, we’ve lost its second half, which makes everything clear. The full expression is 'happy as a clam at high tide' or 'happy as a clam at high water.' Clam digging has to be done at low tide, when you stand a chance of finding them and extracting them. At high water, clams are comfortably covered in water and so able to feed, comparatively at ease and free of the risk that some hunter will rip them untimely from their sandy berths. I guess that’s a good enough definition of happy."

I personally don't like eating clams, so whether it's low tide or high tide, clams can be happy with me around! ;)

At 9:01 AM, Blogger Suzanne said...

Thanks for the info, Sarah! I had no idea the term actually came from clam-digging. I might have to include that fact on our Web site. I always thought it was because their shells make kind of a smile shape. :)


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