It's almost autumn. Oysters are on the way

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Fields of corn are being cut and the approaching months that end with “ber” are sure signals fall is on the way.

That includes a more-than-welcome cool down and an array of nature’s colorful wardrobe.

The months that end with “ber” also bring another favorite to many — fresh, fat and salty oysters ready for shucking.

A fresh, salty oyster shucked and dipped into one’s favorite sauce and placed on a saltine does not get any better.

In my early days, I always wanted to live at the beach, and did just that for four years.

I went to scout around for a week and finally went back inland four years later.

It places one as close to oysters as one can be, and I took advantage of the opportunity.

People in a beach community are a close-knit lot, and it is difficult for an outsider to be accepted into that circle. Becoming a local among the locals is quite an accomplishment.

I worked at it and made a lot of friends, especially in the fishing industry and those who harvested and sold oysters during the season.

I became addicted to the choice fat, salty and juicy singles, and to oyster dressing during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons.

I still can clearly recall a friend who was in the appliance business, but during the months of September, October, November and December, the “ber” months, he closed shop and spent endless hours harvesting and selling oysters — clusters and singles.

Every Friday afternoon he left a bushel on my back porch.

And every Friday evening I ate those fat, juicy and salty little fellows with the company of a good hot sauce, a box of saltines and a margarita with a salted rim. In my kitchen, none were fried and none were steamed. It was nothing but me, an oyster knife and a box of crackers — Zesta, if you please.

In those moments of cuisine craziness, I often sat around and wondered what poor folks were eating.

The real kicker, believe it or not, was the bushel of oysters cost $8. But I got a pretty good discount, because in those days I played a lot of pool.

The provider of the oyster did too, and we played nine ball to the best of seven. The bet was a weekly delivery of oysters during season on my back porch every Friday afternoon would cost $16 or nothing.

I won and my friend was a man of his word.

He never missed a delivery, but he sure could drink some salted-rim margaritas.

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