Apr 26, 2012

Spotlight: Rusty Ray

I think we will start with a little information for those of you that are not familiar with or live in our area.  This is Rusty Ray, he works at CBS Station WBTW-DT News 13.  Anchor 2002-Present Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  Join me today as I welcome him to Hibiscus House Spotlight!

Rusty has a Bachelor of Arts Broadcast Journalism from College Park, Maryland and currently lives in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
He anchors and reports news stories for the News 13 Morning Shows.  He says, "I work hard and is a serious person who likes to have a good time around those he knows best.  I take my work very seriously, and I've learned in my life to take pride in absolutely everything I'm involved in.  I love my wife and my family and there's nowhere I'd rather be than sitting around the supper table, laughing and telling stories with those I love most."

Can you tell that he really likes his co-workers Nicki Boone and Bob Juback?  I definitely think he could be a comedian!

Rusty Ray In His Own Words

When you live in the south, or when you move to a southern community from somewhere else, people always want to know: "Where are you from?"
I've had to explain a very complicated situation over the years, but here's the best way to put it: my family is from North Carolina, and I was born in Charlotte, but I grew up in Maryland, so I don't sound like my parents sound.

Does that make sense?

One thing that doesn't change is this: my love for seafood, and when I say "seafood," I mean oysters.

Oysters may be the most divisive culinary topic on the whole planet.

I'd argue that the world is made up of two kinds of people: people who love to eat oysters in any form: fried, steamed, raw, or any other way they can think to serve them....and people who thankfully leave more for the rest of us to enjoy.

As you may guess, I fall into the first category.

My grandmother said it best: God intended for us to eat from the sea. That's why He filled it with such wonderful bounty.

Personally, I like oysters raw or steamed. Fried oysters don't do much for me. That's painful for my parents to hear, since they swear by and cling to Calabash-style seafood. ("Calabash," in this sense, does not refer to those tacky, Walmart-esque buffets on the strip in Myrtle Beach. I'm talking about under-the-oak-tree, wood-paneled, old-school restaurants so close to the marsh above Little River you can smell it when you're inside in the air conditioning.)

No, give me straight-from-the-creek, big, sloppy, slimy oysters. My great aunt and uncle prefer "Topsail clusters" out of North Carolina. I'd say the best oysters I ever had came from Little River. They were huge!

One of my earliest memories is from Nance's restaurant in Murrells Inlet, when I was no more than 2 years old, as I chucked spent oyster shells into the little hole in the middle of the table, much to my grandmother's delight.
It was a lot of fun to return to Nance's with her when I was in my early 20's, when we could split a pot full of steamed oysters and some cold beer.
There may be nothing finer.

There may be nothing finer than standing over a steaming pile of clusters, prying them open, and letting the ambrosia of the salty sea fill your gullet with goodness. Give me some crackers, give me some cocktail sauce or some straight-up horseradish, but don't give me any static about the oysters being "gross," or "snotty."

It's also about the fellowship. Just like a crab feast in Maryland. It's kind of gross to smell like Old Bay seasoning for days after you spent hours prying through intricate blue crab, trying to pry out the sweet salty meat. But it's about the experience, the comradery, the accomplishment of actually working (a little bit, let's not be silly) for your food, and enjoying every bite.

So don't tell me how much you don't like oysters.

Just pass the sauce, and get out of my way!

That was very entertaining.
Folks all I can say is this, give him some room so he can eat his oysters.
This is a fun story.
Thanks Rusty!

The Morning Show
Martha Spencer, Erika Hayes and Rusty Ray


  1. Hilarious. Rusty has a good sense of humor and a healthy oyster appetite. I must confess, I have only had oysters cooked in chowder. I don't trust seafood out west here...

    My dream is to make it to New Orleans for Mardi Gras and have a bunch there someday, me and the hubby. I hope we get to do that once he retires.

    Have a great weekend Dolly.


  2. Hey Heidi, He sure does. I know you will make it to New Orleans and I hope you let us know all about it....Thanks for stopping by and sure hope you have a great weekend.

    1. You too Dolly. I am hopping over to your other blog to check out that hummingbird cake... I swear, I gain weight just reading your cooking blog sometimes. Lol. Don't stop! Your recipes are the best!

  3. Great story Rusty! For the record Dolly, I only do the fried ones, if forced. I used to spend many a Sunday afternoon driving to Calabash, NC, with my Grandparents, Bonnie and James Matuse for that wonderful seafood. It just wasn't quite the same any other place. Be assured that I will leave plenty of oysters for everyone else! ~Debbie Hayes

  4. Hi Debbie,
    He does tell a good story. Calabash seafood was always the place to go eat for all of us wasn't it? Great memories of you and your Grandparents! Good to hear from you..

  5. You know Dolly I understand when Rusty said he does not sound like his parents. Your cousin Terry born here moved to maryland, back last two years of high school and then to Charleston. People never believe he is a pee dee boy. Oh yah he likes oyster too.

  6. Hello,
    I do know all of the above but didn't realize that he liked oysters...Thanks for writing...It's true people have always thought that he was not from around here at all.

  7. Hi Dolly, it was fun reading about Rusty. He came to Lamar a few weeks ago to do a segment of Spotlight Carolina about the Veterans Memorial. There is nothing like Calabash seafood! I've got a real hankering right now for some soft-shell crab!

  8. I didn't know that.. That is good.