Why People Oyster By Richard E. Noble I met an old oysterman friend at the Piggly Wiggly the other day. Of course he wasn't all that old when I first met him. He told me that he would be retiring from his prison guard job in the morning. "That's great," I said. "And now what are you going to do to keep busy?" "I think I'm going to get me an oyster boat and do a little oystering." As everyone knows oystering is hard work and no matter what anyone out there says, it really doesn't pay a lot of money and it never did. So why would anyone be excited about returning to a life of hard work and little money in their retirement? Well, I must admit as we talked, I became somewhat envious. We started talking about oyster boat building. He also thought that he might like to build his own boat. Carol and I had bought some plans to build our own skiff many years ago. After I left my old friend, I began thinking about why oystermen liked oystering. I have had a good number of different jobs in my lifetime but very few that I would want to return to. So what is it with oystering? For one thing - you are self-employed. Being self-employed has its advantages - no boss, no pace, no time limits, no production quotas, and no annoying "fellow" employees. It is all up to you. Of course, oystering involves being on a boat and working on the water. Some folks spend a lot of money to go play on the water every weekend. I remember on a hot day diving off the walk rail of my oyster boat and floating around in the water until I cooled down. That was fun. Can't do that in a steel mill! It was a natural, honest and environmentally sound way to earn your keep. Tonging oysters the old fashioned way doesn't damage the beds. It cultivates them. It cleans them up, it spreads the oysters around. You never had to feel bad that what you were doing was harming anything. Like the man on the TV says, oystering ... is a good thing. When you got out to the oyster bar, you could park next to a buddy and shoot the breeze, if you liked. In fact, you could chit-chat all day if you wanted to. There was no office manager or boss or owner to come walking by and give you a dirty look or order you to get busy. You didn't have to compete against anybody. You could catch what you could catch. If somebody caught more bags than you it wasn't because someone gave him the best seat or a greater opportunity, or a better education. It wasn't a matter of opinion or favoritism. If you felt like stopping - you could stop. If you felt like working until the sun went down, you could. You could stop for lunch whenever you felt like it. And if you wanted a few raw oysters for lunch, you had a hole full. I think my wife and I ate at least a dozen oysters every day we worked. Crackers and a bottle of hot sauce were necessary equipment on our boat. In fact, for a number of years we brought a bail bucket full of oysters home with us each evening and while we each took a shower we steamed those oysters - steamed oysters with melted butter every night for an appetizer - umm ummm! You can't get any of those benefits working at the hardware store. We also brought a fishing pole with us every day. My wife would bait the hook with some small crabs she gathered off the cull board and then she would sit on the handle of the pole. When she got her butt tickled she jumped up and set the hook and we had fish for supper that evening. We caught flounder, spotted trout, and bunches of sheepshead. Oystering was physical work - and that's a good thing. At the end of each day you knew that you had done something - your body told you so. By bed time you were always ready - and you slept. There was no bull involved in oystering. As an oysterman you didn't cheat anybody - nobody was lied to. You never had to beat the other guy out of anything. You had nothing to be ashamed of at the end of a week. And you never had to feel guilty when you went to the boss's house or office to pick up your paycheck. The saddest thing about oystering to me was that we were always fighting for our right to go to work. Can you imagine being forced to fight to go to work and do a back breaking job all day? Being "oyster people" was quite an experience for Carol and me. When we finally quit Carol demanded that I sell my boat and motor. "You ain't going to push that thing back in the water ever again," she told me. "We're going to go get ‘real’ jobs." Right! Like being an oysterman wasn't a "real" job.
Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother, Hobo-ing America and A Summer with Charlie are books written by Richard E. Noble who has been a resident of Franklin County for over thirty years. All three books are now available on Amazon.com. If you would like to stock these books in your store or business call 1-850-670-8076 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Books by Richard Edward Noble. Click on covers below for more info and purchasing instructions.
Classic Tragic Novel
Don't Laugh - This Could Have Been Your Life
Funny stories and some strange characters.
Monkey Dishes and Cocktail Fawks
My Harrowing days in the restaurant business. Great Read.
It's a Long Story
Long Short Fiction - Great stories!
Bloggin' Be My Life
"Bloggin' be My Life" contains a selection of some of my more popular Hobo Philosopher blogs.If you enjoy reading this blog, you should love Bloggin' Be My Life.
It's All About Love
It's All About Love is ... all about love. This is the 2nd book of poetry from The Bard From Chelmsford off Arlington. Every poem in this book comes with a prose introduction. If you enjoy poetry this is a simple choice. Have fun!
A Little Something
Traditional poetry from The Bard From Chelmsford Off Arlington with some poignant prose introductions. If you enjoy any type of poetry, you will enjoy this volume. Thanks.
Talking To Myself
This is my third book of poetry.
Bits and Pieces
The Hobo Philosopher - My first book using the Hobo Philosopher brand. Featuring a variety of writing styles and ideas. Look for the Thoughtful Hobo on the cover.
A Baker's Dozen
The Hobo Philosopher: My Second book of Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction and Short Stories. All varieties of short stories - lots of laughs!
Cat Point - and Them Dang Oyster People
Cat Point is the sequel to "The Eastpointer." Both books contain humorous tales about life in a fishing community on the Florida Panhandle. Lots of laughs.
Won 1st Place award for humor in 2007 from Florida Press Association. More wit, wisdom and humor from the yet to be world famous author, R.E. Noble
A Summer with Charlie - Lawrence
Fiction - Salisbury Beach, Lawrence, Mass. Featured in Merrimack Valley Magazine July /Aug. issue 2010
Travel, Humor, Commentary on migrant farm work and illegal immigration still very pertinent today.
"Just Hangin' Out Ma"
Thank God for the Street Corners of Lawrence, Mass. Anecdotes and humorous escapades about growing up in an industrial mill town in the 40s,50s and 60s.
This is the sequel to "Just Hangin' Out, Ma"
That Old Gang of Mine
This is # 3 in my Lawrence Hometown series. The series is about growing up in the 40's, 50's and 60's in an industrial mill town. Sorta like a Huck Finn goes to vist Uncle Ralph, the bus driver, who lives in a big, rundown city. Lots of fun.
Come On-A My House
This is # 4 in my Lawrence Hometown series.The old homested at 32 Chelmsford ST is pictured on the cover..
Down By The Old Mill Stream
# 5 in the Lawrence My Hometown series.
Standing on the Corner is # 6 in the lawrence My Hometown series.
The old Howard Playstead on Lawrence St.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry
# 7 in the Lawrence my Hometown series.
Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother
Classic tragic novel written from child's perspective. Deals with abuse, poverty, unemployment. Pulls no punches.
Noble Notes on Famous Folks
Humorous, satirical notes on everybody from Constantine to Bill Clinton. Inspiration: Willy Cuppy.
America on Strike
History - documented survey of labor strikes in America
Mein Kampf - An Analysis of Book One
Who are the American Nazis - the Liberals or the Conservatives?
MY NAME IS RICHARD EDWARD NOBLE. I AM A FREELANCE WRITER AND I HAVE PUBLISHED 12 BOOKS:"THE EASTPOINTER" - SELECTIONS FROM AWARD WINNING NEWSPAPER COLUMN - "A LITTLE SOMETHING" - POETRY WITH PROSE -"HONOR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER" - A NOVEL ABOUT GROWING UP IN THE NEW ENGLAND MILL TOWN OF LAWRENCE, MASS, "HOBO-ING AMERICA" - A WORKINGMAN'S TOUR OF THE U.S.A. - "A SUMMER WITH CHARLIE" - THE STORY OF A YOUNG SAILOR'S LAST DAYS AT SALISBURY BEACH, "NOBLE NOTES ON FAMOUS FOLKS" - HUMOROUS ANECDOTES ON FAMOUS FOLKS IN HISTORY,
"AMERICA ON STRIKE" HISTORY BOOK - A SURVEY OF LABOR STRIKES IN AMERICA; "A BAKER'S DOZEN" A BOOK OF HUMOROUS SHORT STORIES; "JUST HANGIN' OUT, MA" - GROWING UP IN THE 40'S, 50'S AND 60'S IN LAWRENCE, MY HOMETOWN, "TENEMENT DWELLERS" - SEQUEL TO JUST HANGIN OUT, MA; MEIN KAMPF - ANALYSIS OF BOOK ONE - HISTORY. CAT POINT - AND THEM DANG OYSTER PEOPLE - SEQUEL TO THE EASTPOINTER
All 12 BOOKS ARE AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.COM, BARNES AND NOBLE AND OTHER INTERNET SOURCES OR FROM NOBLE PUBLISHING. ALL 12 OF MY BOOKS ARE NOW ON KINDLE AT BARGAIN PRICES TOO. IF YOU WOULD LIKE MORE INFORMATION ABOUT DISCOUNTS AND SPECIAL OFFERS E-MAIL ME. MY EMAIL IS ON MY PROFILE PAGE.