Editor's Note: M.L. Faunce is the author of My Date With an Oyster and Other Stories of a D.C. Girl Discovering Chesapeake Country. She is featured above, in pink, along with New Bay Books publisher Sandra Olivetti Martin, at a book release party in June, 2021, near M.L.'s home in Gulfport, Fla. Because of illness, she was unable to join in the ongoing Calvert Library workshops analyzing Ross Gay's "Book of Delights" — and getting our own delightful moments in print. I was honored to read aloud from an M.L. essay advising how people can open the door to regular writing.
Uncle Willie's Oyster Roast
by M.L. Faunce
During the fall when I was young, my Uncle Willie would have oyster roasts on his and Aunt Mary’s farm in Indian Head, Maryland. Oysters were shoveled into a wood fire, then dumped on a long table just as they started to open. It was every person for themselves as my aunts/uncles/cousins scrambled for the hot oysters. Nothing thrills a kid more than a roaring fire under the stars—and then you get to indulge (tepidly first as a kid). Later, move over!
As close as I am to this evocative description, I want to be closer. I want a place at the table.
This scene, this experience, shaped young Mary Louise's future as she herself moved to Chesapeake Country, Churchton in southern Anne Arundel County, and found a new identity as a writer, covering oysters, crabs and Maryland life for New Bay Times/Bay Weekly. No surprise that her book of those writings, published by New Bay Books in 2021, is titled My Date with an Oyster and Other Stories of a DC girls discovering Chesapeake Country.