Granny vs. The Fighting Conch
My mom is in Florida for a month hanging with one of her pals and putting her toes in the sand. That’s one of the benefits that comes with retirement I guess, something I won’t likely realize for quite some time.
As native Midwesterners, we have some hillbillies in the family tree. Although we have traveled a bit over the years and are no strangers to warmer climates and sandy beaches, we don’t have an ocean in Illinois, which I realize may come as a surprise to some of you. As a result, our rural upbringing did not provide us much in the way of proper Fighting Conch (pronounced “konk”) etiquette. We are, however, very schooled in all things stinkbug.
The Florida Fighting Conch — Strombus alatus — is essentially a sea snail in a decorative shell. The Illinois Vacationing Granny — Feistyius Oldladyius — likes to collect decorative shells. You may be able to see where this is going.
So during a phone call this week, Granny was telling me of her recent shell-hunting expedition on the south Florida beach near her condo.
“I put all the shells in the sink to clean them and one of them was moving,” said Granny. “So I got out my tweezers and tried to pull the dadgummed thing outta there, and boy did it start hissing and squealing at me.”
Fighting Conches apparently do not like being yanked from their home with a pair of tweezers, and in addition, they likely will raise quite a ruckus when someone tries to do so.
By the way, that’s all new information for me, my mom and the rest of the Corncob Crowd from Calico County.
Granny decided it was best to let nature takes its course and placed the highly agitated conch on the back deck. Her thinking was that after a few days in the sunshine, the critter would buy the farm and could then be easily tweezed from the coveted shell.
No such luck. After three days, the conch was still giving Granny seven kinds of heck for the armed and attempted home invasion, so she took it to the beach and tossed it in back the drink.
Since she still has a few more weeks of vacation, further beach expeditions are pending. No doubt with tweezers at the ready. I anxiously await her next report.