Saturday, March 8, 2008

more than a load of abalone

recently a friend asked me to make a memory piece using her deceased husband's St. Christopher ... something fun and reminiscent of the sea and surf, since he'd been a surfer in his youth. My friend appeared truly pleased with my final creation, which is always a treat for me! But ... during my search for special beads for this sentimental project, I was reintroduced to that most beautiful of all shellfish shells, in my opinion, abalone. I always buy some whenever I find it at bead stores and fairs, and have since made other sea-themed pieces, including the one pictured above, which is a simple, small pendant combined with freshwater pearls.

it seems to me abalone used to be easily obtained and I even remember my Aunt kept one beautiful specimen as an ashtray, no less! I've never eaten abalone, but I've been told it's heavenly. Over the years, it seems abalone has been over fished. You just don't see it anymore except on the menus of some very high class restaurants. How sad we humans can't seem to leave a good thing alone.

i remember an aquaintance who came to visit me in San Francisco in the early 80's when I lived with a houseful of roommates out on the avenues. This aquaintance was not a close friend, or friend at all, really, but rather the friend of a friend. Still, I met her for dinner. She was on vacation with her boyfriend ... they'd been abalone diving up and down the California coast, which to me, at the time, seemed terribly exotic. I don't remember much of that particular dinner party except that the "aquaintance" fell asleep at the table, mid-sentence, cigarette in hand, while I looked on in disbelief. Apparently, diving is a good work out!

tomorrow's my birthday, and I recall the days my mother always baked a cake for such occassions. Us kids were rarely satisfied with one piece of course and were always clamoring, dish in hand, for seconds. My mother used to say, "You're eating that stuff like it's going out of style! Tomorrow's another day!" Sage advice! The truth is, we can always make more cake. But abalone?


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