My near-demise came in another form, triggered by a stale slug. It would have been nice if Prince Charming came along to revive me with a kiss, but I had to make do with an aged doctor pressing burnt toast to my tender lips.
Two days of our Maine vacation remained. We drove along the coast and stopped for lunch at a seafood shack along the roadside. Everyone ordered clams. Dad stole one from my cardboard basket.
“Mmmm, this is so good,” he said, making a big show of eating it in front me.
“Hey, that was mine.”
I stole one of his and swallowed it down. It didn’t taste good, but I made yummy sounds anyway. I guzzled my soda to get rid of the nasty taste.
We stopped several times before returning to our motel, so I could throw up. I lay in the back seat with my eyes shut. Dad carried me to the motel bed and Mom put a cold washcloth on my forehead. My legs were wobbly and I needed assistance getting to the bathroom, where diarrhea joined my heaving.
The motel owner diagnosed food poisoning and sent for a local doctor. He gave me a shot in my hind-end, fed me dry burned toast for its charcoal, and made me drink strong black tea without my customary three spoonfuls of sugar. The doctor prepared to send me to the hospital, when I turned the corner and stopped heaving.
I was weak, but able to continue our vacation. With zapped energy, I mostly sat around enjoying the scenery.
I haven’t let another clam pass my lips during the fifty years since. And I’ve never tried an oyster, since they look like clams. Guilt by association.
The poison mollusk came from Dad’s plate. I saved him. And I’ve never let him forget it, after all, I almost became extinct.
Lesson learned: When food you normally love suddenly tastes bad, spit it out.
Now it’s your turn: Did you ever have trouble with a clam or with food poisoning?
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