I was hooked before I finished the first paragraph.
“In the evenings and the morning when there was a rising tide sea bass would come into it and they would see the mullet jumping wildly to escape from the bass and watch the swelling bulge of water as the bass attacked.”
Oh, how I’ve seen those mullet and menhaden jumping wildly just off shore along the Grand Strand when being chased by larger fish. The big boys go crazy fighting for the same prey and the water’s surface becomes a choppy battlefield. Glorious.
The “it” to which Papa referred was a canal running straight to the sea, which he had described in the book’s opening sentence.
Reading about the canal reminded me of the Intracoastal Waterway, which runs not straight to the ocean but parallel to it as it circumvents our little Eden. The waterway empties locally just to the north of North Myrtle Beach and into Winyah Bay near Georgetown. Our section of the waterway was opened in April 1936 with dedication ceremonies held in Socastee. I think of the fishes that bigger fish chase “into” either end of it.
By the time I finished the second paragraph of “The Garden of Eden,” Hemingway’s trademark lean, tight prose once again had me mesmerized.
“A jetty ran out into the blue and pleasant sea and they fished from the jetty and swam on the beach and each day helped the fishermen haul in the long net that brought the fish up onto the long sloping beach.”
The Master tells a magnificent story in one sentence and he conveys images to the reader without using syrupy adjectives. Brilliant.
The beaches here on the strand are often long and sloping as is the sea’s floor as it drops gently for miles and miles away from shore.
Anyone meeting me on our beaches best not make the mistake of getting me started on Ernest Hemingway. “The Old Man and The Sea” has long been my favorite book and I love to talk about Santiago and the boy and the lions on the shore across the big pond.
Papa was one adventurous cat and he spent a lot of time in Europe. So, I’ll close this tribute to him and to the Grand Strand and to the ocean with a salutation that Hemingway surely used many times.