First day of summer and shrimping in South Carolina

ShrimpBy Lynn R. Mitchell

So today is the first day of summer … and I was thinking about another first day of summer when I was in my early 30s when my husband and I took our 16-month-old son and visited with friends who were living in Charleston, S.C.

On June 20 of that year we all boarded their boat and headed out into Charleston Harbor to visit historical Fort Sumter, walking its pathways and absorbing the history of it all.

After leaving Fort Sumter, we pointed the boat toward the coastline and went into one of the delta inlets for some shrimping, a great pastime for our friends and something that was about to become a new experience for us. After anchoring the boat, we swam and waited for the water to recede as the time for low tide approached.

The delta flats have canals cut into them where the water rushes out with low tide … and that’s where we turned our attention. Jumping overboard with nets in hand, we stretched them across those canals to catch the shrimp being washed to sea in the ebbing tide.

As we loaded our nets, we emptied the shrimp into five-gallon buckets on deck, continuing until all buckets were full. Since we then had plenty of time to wait until the tide returned to once again float the boat, we worked at removing the heads before putting the shrimp on ice for the ride back to dock.

The experience made an impression on me because we commented several times throughout that day that it was the first day of summer, the longest day of the year, and it was HOT on the salt water — mid 90s — with barely a breeze. It was a memorable event that I recalled today while enjoying the present first day of summer in Richmond with the temperature close to 90 and sunny.

Both memories are keepers….

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