Since my high school days at Avon Old Farms School in CT a small group of friends have been traveling to Nantucket Island off Cape Cod. Adjacent to Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket holds a special place in my heart. My dear and close friend of 46 years Bob Applegate and his family have owned a beautiful New England home near downtown. Located on Darling street the home is filled with countless memories for me made over the years. Bob, Jane and Lee are the children of Bob and Carol Applegate. Bob Sr. unfortunately passed a few years ago. Carol is the matriarch and continues to allow her Avon boys to visit every October for the opening of scalloping season. She joins us too! Around the beginning of October each year the island allows its residents to harvest bay scallops in the shallow waters, best during low tide, before it is opened up to the commercial companies. It is during these 2 weeks that a scalloping trip is organized, and the invites go out to the close knit group of Avonian’s and other willing types to work hard to “push” for scallops during low tide, spend hours shucking, cleaning and freezing, and on occasion set aside a couple of cleaned pints for a meal or two. On an exceptional year I’ve seen 50 or more pints of cleaned bay scallops harvested. THAT is a lot of work - but if you love bay scallops there is nothing like them. Imho, they are way better than sea scallops - juicier and far more flavorful. Since my injury I have made the trip east a few times. I can’t push and shuck, but I do make the effort to go everywhere with the team, and watch, cheer and photograph from the shore. Shucking time brings out lots of stories, memories, yuks and plenty of ridicule. These are the unshakeable bonds formed over almost half a century. It’s frankly mind-boggling to consider that. I have known Bob, Jason, Don, John and all of the Applegate family longer than I have known anyone else sans my immediate family. Traditions matter. I’m glad that I can still join in when my body is able and willing to make a long, cross country trip. Cocktails at 5pm are also a tradition and there is nothing like a chilled Gin and Tonic with my comrades as we sit on the porch and recount the day’s activities. There is something about the ocean air and friendships that is so good for the soul. (In the picture, front to back, is myself (pre-injury), John, Jason, Bob, Don.)