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Summer Vacation Plans—Cockle Soup, Anyone?

If you have been reading my blog for any period of time, you know that I often speak about my fond memories of growing up on the tropical island of Jamaica in the West Indies. The Jamaica I grew up in was far different than it is today. I cannot any crime remember there. I led an idyllic childhood for the most part.

During the summer months in Jamaica, people who lived in the cities would often “go country.” By this, I mean you would rent or own a villa by the ocean, pack up the car, and head from the bustle of the city into the green, lush Jamaican countryside. Many of my relatives were fortunate enough to own their own country villas, which included pools, ocean views, and house staff who would cater to our needs. In the 1960s and early 1970s, I think Jamaica had two local black-and-white TV stations—neither offered anything particularly interesting except for a few American shows in the evening now and then.

So family time in the country was really family time. My family spent most days splashing in the pool or the ocean. I remember one day at the beach, my mum, my brothers, and I found a group of cockles in the sand. These are small mollusks in pink shells that have the ability to quickly burrow down into wet sand. They make a wonderful soup. We grabbed our sand pails and dug into the wet sand as fast as we could. The cockles, sensing they were under attack, burrowed deeper as we fought through the ebb and tide of shoreline waves. We scooped up handfuls of cockles and dropped them into the buckets as fast as we could. Some got away, but many could not escape our small hands and our determination. We laughed at our little adventure. When my mum felt that we had enough, we three children marched up to the house and presented the cooks with our catch of the day, feeling proud of what we had accomplished.

That night, we had the most delicious cockle soup. I cannot explain what it tasted like. It tasted something like lobster bisque but not as thick and without the taste of sherry.

So this summer, what memories will you make? Will they be sweet memories at the beach? Will you hike in the wilderness? Will you make s’mores around a campfire? Will you fly off to a foreign land? Or will you perhaps head to a Disney park? Wherever your travels take you, remember to cherish the memories you make not with a cell phone but with your mind. Your mind is the best recorder of all.

Until next time.



Image courtesy of ken wilson lee (CC BY 2.0)

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