Oyster Sandwiches?

β€œA loaf of bread,” the Walrus said, β€œis what we chiefly need: Pepper and vinegar besides are very good indeed.”

Remember the story of the Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Carroll? These two slippery fellows decided to take a stroll along the beach one night when the moon, as well as the sun, were shining bright. They grieved and commiserated about the vast quantities of sand along the shoreline. The Walrus spotted a bed of oysters. Feeling magnanimous, he invited them to come along for a walk. They walked briskly and talked about many things.

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”

So they had a grand discussion about all of this, resting a bit because the over-weight oysters are out of breath. That’s when the guys begin talking about bread. Suddenly it seems that this party is out for a midnight oceanside picnic! How nice! The poor oysters turn blue and start to think that they’ve possible made some poor choices recently — maybe they should have listened to the older oyster who shook his head and went back to bed at the initial invitation.

The Walrus changes the subject and shows a vital interest in the lovely view at their picnic site. The Carpenter asks for some more bread and complains that his last slice had too much butter on it. They realize that the oysters have been very quiet — they just aren’t saying much anymore….

My favorite stanza of the poem:

“I weep for you,” the Walrus said:
“I deeply sympathize.”
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.

And, of course, the unhappy ending of the poem:

“O Oysters,” said the Carpenter,
“You’ve had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?’
But answer came there none–
And this was scarcely odd, because
They’d eaten every one.

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March 2023