Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Crabbing With Mom

Cooler of Crabs
This past weekend my two youngest children and I went crabbing off of our dock. If you've ever done it, you know what it's like: raw chicken (wings, in our case), string (cotton twine, like you use to tie up a roast is best, we had nylon, which is a tad too stiff), lead weights (we found out that something larger than a one ounce weight would work better), a net and a bucket.

My children are eight and four, so crabbing is quite an adventure. I tied the chicken on the lines, and put them in. Then I showed them one time how to pull the line in slowly, and quietly net a crab-- the net needs to be waiting in the water next to where you are pulling the crab in. That's all they needed, and they netted over 20 crabs in the next couple of hours while I drank beer (one) and read a book.

This all brought back a memory from when I was about four or five. Mom decided that we would have crabs for dinner, and therefore she would take me crabbing up the creek in the johnboat. So she packed up the necessary gear (see above), and threw in a lawn chair to sit on. She has a bad back, even back then (1969 or so), and has to sit a little higher than the boat's built-in seats. And off we went.

We arrived at our location, along a bend in the creek where a bunch of live oaks hang out over the water. (Most of the oaks are now gone, as the land around them has been developed, and the "dead" trees were cleared away to make room for the seawalls that have been put in. Pity.) After setting anchor, and throwing out the bait, the time came for the first crab. Naturally, I wanted to see too, so that meant that there was Mom, in a lawn chair, leaning over the side of the boat, and "Billy" edging in to see. It wasn't a very big boat. In fact, in few years later when I was 10, my buddies and I used to capsize it for fun. You know what happened next: flip.

We both ended up in the water, and I didn't have on a life jacket. Yeah, I know, shame on Mom, but back then people were used to having more than one child, so spares were abundant. I don't remember much after that, but clearly we were either rescued (I think so), or somehow managed to right the boat and get back home. I can't remember if we had crabs for dinner that night, but I think not.


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