Friday, February 28, 2014

Clam Digging Tides

    One doesn't need a tide book to realize that this is a minus tide. Minus tides are ones that are below the zero mark. Tide heights are referenced with a base height set as zero. When the sun and moon are exactly opposite each other in relation to the earth or on the same side, the gravitational pull of the combined heavenly bodies has more of an affect on the water, so that the high tides are very high and the lows are very low, as in a minus tide. When minus tides occur, more of the beach is exposed, so it's a good time to go clam digging, as the fellows in the top picture are doing. I'm not real sure that I would be digging clams right where these guys are doing it. They're not all that far from the cannery where some years back the net house burned down. All the seine nets were burned up and the leads used to weigh down the bottom of the seines were scattered over the beach and in time most were buried. Several days ago my daughter Jennifer and her daughter and I went out on the low tide with the metal detector to dig for lead. The tide was way out and we ended up finding fifteen or twenty leads right on the surface of the beach. We used the detector to find I don't don't know how many more, but we ended up with a coffee can just about full of lead. Being the man of the family, I felt obligated to pack that heavy can of lead up the beach to the truck. I really wanted to pass it off to my granddaughter to carry, but I don't think that would have gone off very well- kind of like a lead balloon as the saying goes. Oh well, it's the price one has to pay for being a guy. However, if I ever make it to say, eighty, and I'm still digging lead, I'm not going to feel too bad about asking one of the grand kids to pack it to the top, regardless of the gender. Years ago there used to be an old decrepit wooden barge located on the beach in the center picture. My daughter, Autumn reminded me about an incident that occurred there some years back. All the kids were still at home then, so it's been quite a long time ago. One of the girls regularly babysat for a family here in town. The father was quite pleased with the way she took care of his kids, so he rewarded her with some fireworks he had left over- either from July 4, or New Years, I can't recall which now. Now, these weren't just a few sparklers or a string of those little things smaller than your pinkie; these things were like mortars, with multiple tubes capable of shooting one after another of these flaming balls into the air. Those puppies were for serious use. What the hell was I doing with them? Anyway, the kids of course wanted to set them off, and the only place safe and legal to do so was down at the beach near the cannery. Well, I decided to set the fireworks, Autumn remembers the name of them - Prairie Thunder- I decided to set the Prairie Thunder fireworks on the old wooden barge. The barge was on the beach, and as you can see, the beach slopes. I can't recall right now, but there's a possibility that the barge was pretty tilted anyway because it was falling apart. In any event, on the package of Prairie Thunder, the instructions say to set them on a flat surface. So I did. I mean, the term flat is relative isn't it? The surface wasn't lumpy as I recall, tilted perhaps yes, but not lumpy. I told the kids to stand back and lit the fuse or whatever it was I had to light to set the whole works in motion. For the first few seconds the flaming balls shot into the air,much to everyone's delight. However, as you can imagine, the laws of physics apply in nature, and even more so apparently when explosive devices are in use. While the fireworks were shooting up into the air, there was a bit of recoil action happening to the launch pad from which they were being shot. The blasted container of Prairie Thunder fell over and started shooting flaming balls in all directions. There were looks of abject terror on the faces of all of the kids as they took off three ways from Sunday trying to escape. Of course because I was faster, I was leading the pack. Fortunately none of the missiles came in touch with any of us or this would be a much different post. Afterwards we were laughing hysterically, and to this day the subject still comes up with a great deal of mirth. I have to admit, if everything had gone as planned and the fireworks had just shot up into the sky, it would have been amusing, but it would have been forgotten long ago. What we have here is a story to be shared for as long as it will be remembered, which no doubt will be for a long, long time.

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