A tine to heal

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Send Gmail

If you spend any time at all raking clams, you will, inevitably, lose a tine. Maybe you hit a rock, maybe just a big clam, maybe regular use loosens an imperfect weld. Tines break, and when you don’t have all your tines you can’t clam as efficiently, so it behooves you to get them fixed.

We’d been doing a lot of clamming, and we’d lost tines on three rakes – one of our recreational rakes, our bull rake, and our friend Les’s bull rake, which he’d lent to us.

My rake, with all its tines

Time to make a trip to Ribb Rakes, which makes (and repairs) high-quality clam rakes.

I think you can tell a lot about a place by what sorts of businesses don’t have signs. When we lived in New York, it was the kind of after-hours clubs that served absinthe to supermodels. And there was this one restaurant in the Village, which I thought was pretty hip but, judging by the fact that I’ve been there, probably isn’t.

On Cape Cod, though, it’s the clam-rake repair shop that doesn’t have a sign. Only the cognoscenti get to rake with all their tines.

The Ribb Rakes web site has no address. The shop is on a little residential street, and there’s no indication that welding is going on, and clam rakes are being fabricated.

I don’t remember how I found out where it was (you can call, but they don’t always answer the phone). My first visit there was over a year ago, when I wrote an article on clamming for Edible Cape Cod. In it, I sang the praises of the rake Kevin had given me for by birthday – the Ribb “Snappin’ Turtle” model, a long-tined, mean-looking version that, in the article, I said looked like Freddy Krueger’s clam rake.

I hadn’t been there since, but I got us there with only one wrong turn.

We took the rakes out of the back of the truck, and the welder came out of the shop to see what we needed.

If your mental image of a welder is a big old burly guy in one of those Darth Vader helmets, you need to pay a visit to Ribb Rakes (I might even tell you where it is). The welder there is named Greta, and she’s young, and slim, and female. And although I’m no judge of a weld, people who are say she’s very good at what she does.

She does wear the Darth Vader helmet.

It was Greta who came out and said hello when we pulled into the yard. Kevin introduced himself, told her he was a newly minted oyster farmer cleaning clams off his grant, and then introduced me.

“You look familiar,” Greta said.

“I visited a while back because I did a clamming story for Edible Cape Cod,” I said, dubious that she’d remember something so far in the hazy distant past. I figured she saw me at Stop & Shop.

But I was wrong.

“That’s it.” she said. I remember you. You like the Snappin’ Turtle. Freddy Krueger’s clam rake.”

Now, a sure-fire way to make me your friend for life is to remember one of my jokes, especially if it’s over a year old.

“I can’t believe you remember that,” I told her.

“Usually, people take clam rakes much too seriously,” she said. “So I remember that.”

I like Greta. And she repaired all our rakes, overnight.

So, not only do I know where Ribb Rakes is, I have an in with the welder. From there, it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump to absinthe with supermodels.

Want to get notified when I post something new?

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Send Gmail

Comments

  1. I tried Absinthe – it would certainly take a spoon full of sugar to get that down. On the very first sip it was was so perfectly awful – bitter, acrid, burning and sour. It makes you rather eager to throw up – I guess that’s why it goes with supermodels.

    There’s a nice little video-history of Swiss Absinthe (in English) here:
    http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/multimedia/video/The_Green_Fairy.html?cid=667916

  2. Greta also makes amazing wreaths for the holiday season… so even if all your tines are intact, I would recommend a return visit after Thanksgiving!

  3. Isn’t absinthe supposed to be watered down? From what I remember learning about it, drinking absinthe involves special glasses that have the fill lines for the absinthe and the water etched into the glass, and then special flat forks that you put across the top of the glass that holds the sugar cube, and then you pour the water over the sugar cube to the fill line. Given that it was so popular at one time, it must have been half-way palatable.

    Personally, I think I’d rather have a bowl of chowder with the welder….

  4. I need an ‘in’ with a welder. I might have to start trawling the back alleys looking for sparks or someone in a Darth Vader mask.

    Most of our “go to” guys for repairs or machinery work or anything practical have no store front, no logo, no marketing department and certainly no on-line presence. I have a small box filled with cell phone numbers scribbled on scraps of paper scavanged from their vans. If I lost that box my life and everything in it would fall apart.

    Hip bars don’t exist in Dorset, and if they did I’m sure they wouldn’t give me their number!