Jacob and I went out on foot late this morning to run a few errands around the neighborhood—Enoch Pratt Library, the little Chinese grocery store next to Zhongshan on Park Avenue, and Regan’s in Lexington Market to get a couple of steaks.
Since it was about lunch time we headed to Faidley’s Seafood before we left the market.
Jacob doesn’t always join me at the oyster bar. He’s not a big fan of seafood. He did join me today. It had been hot, sweaty and humid on the street. We had a couple of beers while the shucker shucked. The oysters, as they typically are at Faidley’s, were icy cold, super-fat, and delicious.
A 30-something father came into Faidley’s with his little blonde-haired son. They came up to the oyster bar, found a place next to us, and the red-haired father ordered a dozen prime. He watched my dozen arrive and changed his order to a half-dozen—he said, “Wow, I didn’t know they would be that big.”
While I was busy with my oysters, the horseradish, the lemon wedges, and stuff, the father began talking up the oyster tradition with his little boy.
Having grown up in the midwest, I’d never been on the youngster-side of a father-son oyster talk; I listened. And, it was a loving, endearing and instructive conversation. It made my oysters all that much sweeter.
When their plate arrived, the father garnished and ate one, then asked his son if he would like to try one. He didn’t push his son. The young one said, “Show me how to do it.” The father put on a perfect oyster-eating performance as he slurped his second off the shell.
The little guy gulped the fat prime off of the end of his father’s plastic fork. He bit down and made a face. You know the face. That first oyster face.
He didn’t like it so much. But, he ate it.
A few of the locals were watching and one lady cheered when the son swallowed. She gave a thumb’s up and said, “You’re the MAN.” The rest of the crowd applauded. The son was proud, the father was proud, and I was proud to have seen such a wonderful moment. I was proud to have seen Baltimore at its best.