Oyster Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 76 quotes )
The most extraordinary thing about the oyster is this. Irritation gets into his shell. He does not like them. But when he cannot get rid of them he uses the irritation to do the lovelist thing an oyster ever has the chance to do. If there are irritations in our lives today, there is only one prescription: make a pearl. It may have to be a pearl of patience, but…make a pearl. -In the Treasure Chest, ed. Charles L. Wallis
The oyster was an animal worthy of New Orleans, as mysterious and private and beautiful as the city itself. If one could accept that oysters build their houses out of their lives, one could imagine the same of New Orleans, whose houses were similarly and resolutely shuttered against an outside world that could never be trusted to show proper sensitivity toward the oozing delicacies within.
Centuries ago, sailors on long voyages used to leave a pair of pigs on every deserted island. Or they'd leave a pair of goats. Either way, on any future visit, the island would be a source of meat. These islands, they were pristine. These were home to breeds of birds with no natural predators. Breeds of birds that lived nowhere else on earth. The plants there, without enemies they evolved without thorns or poisons. Without predators and enemies, these islands, they were paradise. The sailors, the next time they visited these islands, the only things still there would be herds of goats or pigs. Oyster is telling this story. The sailors called this "seeding meat." Oyster says, "Does this remind you of anything? Maybe the ol' Adam and Eve story?" Looking out the car window, he says, "You ever wonder when God's coming back with a lot of barbecue sauce?
Jane remembers those years, though, as if they had been [a movie]--in part because her friends...always talked about everything as if it was over ("Remember last night?"), while holding out the possibility that whatever happened could be rerun. Neil didn't have that sense of things. He thought people shouldn't romanticize ordinary life. "Our struggles, our little struggles," he would whisper, in bed, at night. Sometimes he or she would click on some of the flashlights and consider the ceiling, with the radiant swirls around the bright nuclei, the shadows like opened oysters glistening in brine. (In the '80s, the champagne was always waiting.)
There are stories that are true, in which each individual's tale is unique and tragic, and the worst of the tragedy is that we have heard it before, and we cannot allow ourselves to feel it to deeply. We build a shell around it like an oyster dealing with a painful particle of grit, coating it with smooth pearl layers in order to cope. This is how we walk and talk and function, day in, day out, immune to others' pain and loss. If it were to touch us it would cripple us or make saints of us; but, for the most part, it does not touch us. We cannot allow it to.
Memory in these incomparable streets, in mosaics of pain and sweetness, was clear to me now, a unity at last. I remembered small and unimportant things from the past: the whispers of roommates during thunderstorms, the smell of brass polish on my fingertips, the first swim at Folly Beach in April, lightning over the Atlantic, shelling oysters at Bowen's Island during a rare Carolina snowstorm, pigeons strutting across the graveyard at St. Philip's, lawyers moving out of their offices to lunch on Broad Street, the darkness of reveille on cold winter mornings, regattas, the flash of bagpipers' tartans passing in review, blue herons on the marshes, the pressure of the chinstrap on my shako, brotherhood, shad roe at Henry's, camellias floating above water in a porcelain bowl, the scowl of Mark Santoro, and brotherhood again.
As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.
Nothing that had ever happened to him, not the shooting of Oyster, or the piteous muttering expiration of John Wesley Shannenhouse, or the death of his father, or internment of his mother and grandfather, not even the drowning of his beloved brother, had ever broken his heart quite as terribly as the realization, when he was halfway to the rimed zinc hatch of the German station, that he was hauling a corpse behind him
i have had my ups and downsbut wotthehell wotthehellyesterday sceptres and crownsfried oysters and velvet gownsand today i herd with bumsbut wotthehell wotthehelli wake the world from sleepas i caper and sing and leapwhen i sing my wild free tunewotthehell wotthehellunder the blear eyed mooni am pelted with cast off shoonbut wotthehell wotthehell
The minute you land in New Orleans, something wet and dark leaps on you and starts humping you like a swamp dog in heat, and the only way to get that aspect of New Orleans off you is to eat it off. That means beignets and crayfish bisque and jambalaya, it means shrimp remoulade, pecan pie, and red beans with rice, it means elegant pompano au papillote, funky file z'herbes, and raw oysters by the dozen, it means grillades for breakfast, a po' boy with chowchow at bedtime, and tubs of gumbo in between. It is not unusual for a visitor to the city to gain fifteen pounds in a week--yet the alternative is a whole lot worse. If you don't eat day and night, if you don't constantly funnel the indigenous flavors into your bloodstream, then the mystery beast will go right on humping you, and you will feel its sordid presence rubbing against you long after you have left town. In fact, like any sex offender, it can leave permanent psychological scars.
I am not tragically colored. There is no great sorrow dammed up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes. I do not mind at all. I do not belong to the sobbing school of Negrohood who hold that nature somehow has given them a lowdown dirty deal and whose feelings are all hurt about it. Even in the helter-skelter skirmish that is my life, I have seen that the world is to the strong regardless of a little pigmentation more or less. No, I do not weep at the world—I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.
It was strange to stand there in front of the mirror and see myself like I was my own best friend, a kid wanted to hang with forever. This was a boy I could travel to the seacoasts with, a boy I'd like to meet up with in foreign cities like Calcutta and London and Brazil, a boy I could trust who also had a good sense of humor and liked smoked oysters from a can and good weed and the occasional 40 ounces of malt. If I was going to be alone for the rest of my life this was the person I wanted to be alone with.
The banquet proceeded. The first course, a mince of olives, shrimp and onions baked in oyster shells with cheese and parsley was followed by a soup of tunny, cockles and winkles simmered in white wine with leeks and dill. Then, in order, came a service of broiled quail stuffed with morels, served on slices of good white bread, with side dishes of green peas; artichokes cooked in wine and butter, with a salad of garden greens; then tripes and sausages with pickled cabbage; then a noble saddle of venison glazed with cherry sauce and served with barley first simmered in broth, then fried with garlic and sage; then honey-cakes, nuts and oranges; and all the while the goblets flowed full with noble Voluspa and San Sue from Watershade, along with the tart green muscat wine of Dascinet.
Methinks we have hugely mistaken this matter of Life and Death. Methinks that what they call my shadow here on earth is my true substance. Methinks that in looking at things spiritual, we are too much like oysters observing the sun through the water, and thinking that thick water the thinnest of air. Me thinks my body is but the lees of my better being. In fact take my body who will, take it I say, it is not me.