The Clam Said, Ouch!

Richard & Esther Provencher


"LOOKIT!" Adam shouted.

Frosty edges rode the top of huge waves, like a parade of small hills heading for the ocean beach.

"Too high," three-year old Colin giggled.

"No, they're not!" Adam said. He was seven, so he should know. "Follow me," he ordered.

Colin did.

"Aren’t you glad we brought our surf boards?" asked Adam. Colin’s head bobbed up and down.

The older boy carried his brother into deeper water. Soon they were surfing the waves. Huge crests carried the boys out to sea then back again.

"Watch me do some good tricks," Adam said.

“Ok,” Colin said. He was having great fun.

Grand-papa nervously chewed his nails as he sat on the red sand watching. When he said, “Go play,” he didn't mean they should go riding such huge waves.

What will grand-mama say when she finds out? He wondered.

Adam showed Colin how to do back flips. "Go really fast, so you won't sink," Adam said.

"Ok," Colin answered. He wasn't afraid if his brother wasn't. Besides, he had his lucky blue rubber boots on. Soon, he was doing his own fancy flips and somersaults.

For a little guy, Adam was almost as good as his brother. Even the cormorants and seagulls were impressed.

Needing a rest, both boys sloshed there way to shore, and went to sit by grand-papa. His open mouth needed a rest. So Adam pressed his nose and chin together.

Colin placed a floppy hat across grand-papa’s face to prevent any sunburn. "Let’s find treasures now," he said.

Adam said, “Okay.”

Both searched the red shoreline for treasure. They were close to Oak Island where Captain Kidd hid his own treasure.

At first, it was hard walking on top of hot sand. But feet soon cooled off as they kept sinking in softer wet spots.

"Feet hurt? Adam asked. He also stepped on too many broken bits of Soft Shell Clams. They had been hiding under “Kelp” that looked like lettuce.

"No, this is lotsa fun," Coling answered. He tried to forget the pain in his right foot.

Why did the sand keep spitting up waterspouts? They wondered. Curiosity had them running from one splashy spout to another.

Sand flew in all directions, as they dug down with both hands.


"What happened, Colin?” Adam asked.

"I didn’t say anything," the younger boy answered.

Adam dug faster. By now they were about a foot deep. "Ouch!" said a strange voice. Now it was Adam’s turn to be surprised.

“Your digging hurt me.” A curved creature with a thin shell lay panting on its side. "No more," it said. "I'm tired of trying to escape."

Adam and Colin took turns copying grand-papa's bulging, bright-as-moon eyes. But their wide-open mouths were a little smaller. Not so many teeth.

"I'm a Razor Clam," said the voice. "I dig straight down when I'm frightened."

"We be friends now?" asked Colin.

“Okay,” the Razor Clam answered. Then he did a side flip out of his sandy hideout.

"What's happening?" he asked.


He offered to be their guide, when he discovered the boys were visiting from London, Ontario. Also, this was their first time swimming in the Atlantic Ocean.

Just then, Grand-papa came along. He decided not to be surprised anymore by anything. So what if his grandchildren were speaking to a Razor Clam?

The boys listened to their new guide.

“There are other shellfish in the area,” the Razor Clam said. “Come on, I’ll show you where to find Bar Clams and Quahogs on the beach.”

“Want to come, grand-papa?” asked Adam.

“Sure.” Grand-papa whispered low. “Now we’re talking to sea shells.”

Rock Crabs did a sideways shuffle across the sand. They enjoyed having new friends. Lobsters began their dance, snapping claws in the air.

Mussels, with bluish-black shells, joined the beach party.

And Adam, Colin even grand-papa clapped happily.

As each performance ended, their group grew in size, from other shells across the beach.

Grand-mama finally found her family. She decided to join in the fun. Soon the shoreline was filled with twisting, leaping, flipping and jumping shapes.

Forgotten were daydreams of a pirate’s treasure. With an old chest filled with doubloons, rings, and gold.

Everyone was too busy playing leapfrog with friends among bits of driftwood. And playing tag around dory boats resting on the beach.

They splashed each other racing from one sandbar to the next. Then with laughter, rolled in the kelp along the shore. After, they pitched wet, sandy balls at each other.

Before the end of this fun day, both grand-pa-parents and children climbed up and up. Whew, they made it to the top of wavy crests.

Once there, they surfed all the way home.

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© Richard & Esther Provencher 2008


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