My Dad loved clams. He would enjoy them raw or steamed or even fried. But, as much as he loved them, he said, "Don't eat shellfish during months without an "R" in their name."

So, apparently, May, June, July, and August are not good months to eat clams, oysters, shrimp or mussels.

I wish I had been aware enough to ask Dad "Why?" But, I was young and dumb and didn't really think about what he was saying.

Fast forward about 60 years. Now we live near a clam farm that produces wonderful, succulent fresh clams all year round. And, yes, we buy them in months without an "R." I know that Dad would be nervous about that, but I would take him to the clam farm and let him see it for himself. He would be amazed.

The fact that the months without an "R" are also hot summer months must have something to do with Dad's warning. But, at the clam farm, the little shellfish are raised in climate-controlled buildings with water at the optimum temperature.

I know that both of my parents would be in awe of some things we take for granted in 2013. My Mom would not believe the cell phone or the laptop or the Kindle. Heck, she would giggle at the TV remote. And, the digital camera that lets me print out pictures in a heartbeat would have her shaking her head in wonder.

Dad would snort at our Honda's back-up camera and the way our car beeps if we get too close to a car traveling in front of us. He would love the clam farm, and he would hate the way bartenders are now using measuring spouts on their bottles. He was an excellent mixologist who knew just how much of everything went into each drink he made.

I have often wished that my parents could come back from heaven for a visit. I'd love them to meet our grandchildren. I would let Mom take pictures of them with the digital camera and print them out so she could take the photos back with her.

I would take Dad to the clam farm, let him drive the Honda, and make him a cocktail using his old shaker and measuring glass.

Someone once said that - when a loved one dies - our memories keep them alive in our heart. And, dear reader, that is all we have left. May your heart be full of love and memories.

As we look forward to 2014, I want to wish all my readers a very happy, healthy, productive New Year. Hopefully, I will still be writing. Take care and cherish your memories.

If you would like to contact Dr. Smith, e mail her at: or in care of this newspaper.