Sunday, January 29, 2012

QUICK REVIEW: "Cat Point and Them Dang Oyster People" - by Richard Edward Noble

by Richard Edward Noble

REVIEWED BY: David Fritz


In 1976 my wife and I decided to celebrate the American Bicentennial by taking a tour of the United States. We cashed out of our conventional lives and hit the road … Hobo-ing America. We landed in Franklin County on Seafood Festival Day in the early 80’s. We bought a boat and a motor and began our apprenticeship exploring the depths and the shallows of Cat Point and East Bay in beautiful Apalachicola Bay on the Florida Panhandle. We joined the ranks of them dang oyster people in the tiny town of Eastpoint. Whether they be homeez, mill hogs, townies, local-yokels or them dang oyster people the current indigenous population of a community always seem to rally under a banner of ridicule and snobbery from the la-di-da class of wherever it is they live. It has been no different here in Eastpoint, the oyster catching capital of Florida. Them dang oyster people have always been the maligned underdogs of Franklin Country which made Eastpoint the perfect fit for me and Carol. This book contains a variety of the stories that I wrote and published in a local Eastpoint newspaper. The stories were good enough to garner me a first place award for humor from the Florida Press Association.


In1976 Richard and Carol Noble cashed out of their conventional lives and embarked on a life-long "hobo-ing America" tour of the States. On Seafood Festival Day in the early 80's, they ended up in Franklin County, where they got stuck, up to today. They settled in Eastpoint, bought a boat and outboard motor, and joined the ranks of the local seafood workers, working the oyster beds in the area.

Meet Ronald the Redneck, a so-called country song writer who had never written a song, Jack Sprat, Fritzie Fred and many other colorful characters and enjoy Richard's refreshing descriptions. For example, talking about an old timer holding a straw basket in his trembling hand, Richard describes it as "his straw basket was giggling in his hand". Join Richard and Carol out oystering in summer and winter, or at the local eateries, bars, and later in their own ice cream parlor in Carrabelle.

This book contains a selection of award winning stories of their lives in Franklin County, first published in a local newspaper, and which earned Richard a first place award for humor from the Florida Press Association. Less than 200 pages and with short chapters, “Cat Point and Them Dang Oyster People” is a convenient and quick read ideal for doctors- or dentists waiting rooms, or to read on a long bus or train trip, as well as when flying. It will appeal to a wide audience of readers.

Living in times where hardly a new book can be found without profane language, this book is like a cool breeze on a hot summer’s day. A highly recommended 5 star read!



I was born in Baltimore, MD, raised in Lawrence, MA, and lived the last thirty plus years of my life in Eastpoint, Fl. I consider the tiny, costal, fishing village of Eastpoint on the Florida Panhandle as my second home.

My wife and I chose Eastpoint because we wanted to become a part of the seafood industry and make our living on the water as so many of America’s original settlers.

We had a unique opportunity to become a part of a tradition. We joined the fishing community and harvested oysters from Apalachicola Bay as has been done in the area for over a century. We fished, caught oysters, layed crab traps, tossed handmade cast nets, smoked mullet, learned to work on outboard motors, repaired wooden boats and joined in the native customs and traditions.

Compared to the rugged, hardscrabble mill town where I was raised, Eastpoint is a paradise. As tough and difficult as Eastpoint is my hometown of Lawrence, Massachusetts was tougher and considerably more difficult.

Eastpoint has been a picnic. Our time working on Apalachicola Bay has been a pleasure and a joy. Carol and I are both happy that we stumbled upon the Eastpoint community while on our “Hobo-ing America” adventure. It was our good fortune. And like the damn Yankees we both are, we’re staying.


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