by Connie Holloway
When I was a child,
we would drive thirty miles west to Crisfield, Maryland. to visit Father's
oldest sister Betty, affectionately know as "Beppy." Crisfield
was right on the Chesapeake Bay and residents owned boats like most
people own cars. My Uncle Earl was no exception.
Fishing and crabbing
were huge industries in Crisfield. Crabbers would set out crab pots
- baited underwater wire cages marked by a floating device. To harvest
crabs, the crabbers would pull up the cage, dump out the crabs, rebait
the pot, and drop the pots back into the water. And so could anyone
Off we would go
in the boat looking for a group of markers and a stretch of water unoccupied
by other boats. Uncle Earl eased the boat along side a pot. Father would
lean precariously over the side to grab the floater and pull the pot
into the boat. If the pot had captured just a few crabs, back into the
water it went. But if it was brimming with crabs, we figured the crabbers
would not miss a few of them.
Father and Beppy
would open the cage, dump out just a few crabs into a large lidded basket,
and toss the crab pot and remaining crabs back. When the basket was
full, we'd head back to Beppy's where the crabs were boiled and served
up for supper.
Did I mention that
there was usually beer involved? On one successful crab pot excursion,
there was a lot of beer consumed. When Beppy got ready to dump
the crabs into the boiling water, she accidentally tipped over the basket
sending crabs scuttling all over the small mobile home.
The adults grabbed
weapons - brooms, mops, kitchen tongs, anything that could entice a
pissed-off crab to grab hold of. So there they were, Beppy, Earl, Father
and Jackie, household items in one hand and beer in the other, chasing
crabs through the mobile home while we children sought refuge on the
bed making note of curse words we had not heard before.
The crabs were eventually
caught, boiled, and enjoyed with drawn butter. And it was a long time
before we robbed crab pots again.