From the Editor’s File: A break from the rain in California


By Paul Rhodes, publisher and editor

My son Bill and I were able to patch together one nice daytrip following the flooding at Bill’s home in Sacramento two weeks ago.
If you missed my column last week, here’s the recap: It rained – like a hundred inches in 30 minutes. Bill’s house flooded – like pretty bad in his family room and laundry room. And we worked together to save the rest of his house – like trapped miners tunneling our way to freedom.
The day after the flooding, we decided we needed some kind of break. After all, I had flown to California to travel up the coast with Bill on an awesome father and son trip. Instead, we ended up babysitting Bill’s house in Sacramento as the rain kept coming down and the flood waters started rising.
Once we knew that our coastal trip had to be cancelled, Bill had done a little research on daytrips out of Sacramento. One idea we both liked was the beautiful drive to Tomales Bay and the Hog Island Oyster Company located there.
The drive was beautiful, but it was hard for me to relax. With all the rain, I was worried sick about washed out back roads and mudslides. I wasn’t a pleasant passenger, but Bill got us there safely…and back to civilization again.
All of that was worth it to experience our visit to the Hog Island Oyster Company. This place rents a little over 160 acres of Tomales Bay, where the owners grow, harvest, cook and serve the most amazing oysters I’ve ever tasted.
Bill and I got there just in time…it was late afternoon, and because the crowds had been thin as of late, the proprieters were wanting to close up shop for the day. But we were in luck…the fire was still hot and we were able to place two orders of grilled oysters.
They served the oysters with a large loaf of homemade whole-grain bread and butter, and we just dove in. We got our fill, wiped the butter off our faces, and headed over to the “store” so Bill could take some oysters home to have later.
No, it wasn’t a week-long trip up the coast with my son, but we can do that another time. What was important –from start to finish – was that we got to spend some time together, just the two of us. In the end, it didn’t matter whether we were chowing down on fresh oysters or bailing water out of his house.
But the oysters were really, really good.
The next day Bill and I were back at it in his family room. The flood waters had receded even more, and we were able to start hauling debris out to his dumpsters. Our goal was to get the room to the point where Bill could start tearing up his ruined flooring, and that’s exactly what we were able to accomplish before I drove to the airport the next morning.
Oysters had been eaten. A house had been saved from what could have been a disaster. And a father and son had worked through it all, elbow to elbow.

Publisher Paul Rhodes and his son Bill at Hog Island Oyster Company on Tomales Bay, California.
A plate of freshly-grilled Hog Island oysters