Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Lost Claw

My dad used to take me to dig for clams near Garibaldi in Oregon. We would get up at the crack of dawn, load our tools into the back of his Ford pickup truck and set off on our journey. This is how I learned to drink coffee in a moving vehicle without spilling it! We always stopped and had breakfast in some little road side diner along the way. We timed our arrival using the tide books.

The place where we went clamming was a huge boulder filled beach. One always had to move lots of large rocks out of the way to reach the sand where the clam digging was possible.

My father and I did this same routine many times. We had buckets filled with tools, and of course, we each had a normal shovel. Some of our tools were hand tools. Small shovels, picks and claws were among the collection.

Dad always brought this one tool that unbeknownst to me was an antique that might have belonged to his father. I didn't know there was anything special about this particular claw.

On one of our clamming expeditions, that claw ended up in my tool bucket. I was using it as I excavated and extracted my limit of clams. That particular day, we were clamming right up until the moment our holes were swamped by the incoming tide. We collected our belongs and headed up the boulder covered embankment to our truck.

When we arrived home, we washed all our tools to remove the salt before tending to the clams. As we rinsed and inventoried the tools we made an unpleasant discovery. The ancient claw was missing. Somehow I hadn't gotten it back in the tool bucket.

My father was quite upset over this loss. I felt extremely bad when I saw how upset he was. I didn't mean to be careless and I certainly didn't know how important this tool was to my dad. It bothered me every time we went clamming.

About three years after that fateful trip, we were clamming once again on the rocky Garibaldi beach. We got set up and an hour or so later I was working in a particularly fruitful clam hole, pulling one clam out after another. The hole I was working with was filled with murky sea water. As I reached in to the water with my bare hands, I felt something long and skinny. I thought it was probably a stick. I pulled the item out of the hole, and much to my amazement, three was the CLAW! Three years later, and I somehow returned to the exact spot where I had left it. It was rusty and weather beaten, but it was there.

I carried it over to my dad and said, "Here. I don't want to hear any more about this dang claw!"

He was as shocked as I was! We both started laughing and shaking our heads in amazement.

This beach was not small. The possible spots to dig for clams on that beach were unlimited! Yet, somehow, I found my way back to the very spot where I had lost the coveted item.

It was a great reminder to me that miracles do happen, and that even things long lost... can be found and recovered.

There is always hope!

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