Being raised in a small, seaside town had a lot of advantages. One of those is the fact that you can always get fresh seafood. Every local person knows at least 5 fisherman, clammers, or scallopers. Many of them will sell their goods for less, or actually bring you something for free.
When I was a kid, we used to eat bluefish, when it was in season, until it came out of our ears. Sometimes we'd get a bass, but not often. Occasionally a bunch of blow fish (bottle fish) would make their way to the doorstep, or some clams for Mom's clam pie that none of us kids would touch! Once there was an eel....and I believe Mom had that cooked outside! She didn't eat it, and neither did anyone except Grampa, and maybe Dad. When it was scallop season, my uncle would go to the creek and catch as many as he could, and then his 'openers' would sit in a circle in the yard shelling them. (I can remember Mom wrapping a long strip of clean rag around her hand to protect it from the sharp shells.)
I'd run around trying to steer clear of the yellow jackets which invariably would swarm around the buckets.) Part of the pay at the end of the day would be a big jar of scallops that Mom would take home, bread, and fry for dinner. I wasn't partial to scallops in those days, but I'd give my eye teeth for some today!
These days, I'm wishing I had some fresh fish. The foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains don't offer much in the way of fresh fish, and certainly not salt water fish. Yes, we can go to the grocery store...or to a restaurant...and get cat fish, salmon, talapia and shrimp. They're all good, but they've been shipped to us, which means 'frozen'. While I'll eat the stuff, it in no way compares with having something that's just been caught and cleaned and cooked in the same day.
We've been planning for some time to take a ride to the coast. It's four or five hours from here, so we'd make it a weekend or a few nights' visit. Last night when we were talking about it, I had such a hankering for fresh fish that I vowed I'd eat it every single night of our time in Charleston, or Myrtle Beach...or whatever seaside spot we end up in!
I guess you never really know what you had until it's gone, do you? Someone hit the nail on the head with that saying! Shrimp cocktail....fried scallops....broiled fish... I'm just salivating thinking how I want something fishy! The waiting for it will be well worth it, and I will enjoy it to the hilt! Maybe we won't wait for Springtime in Charleston... I might just start packing my bags now!