Crab Pots
Submitted 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 else.

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.