February 03, 2008
Jawja blue crab
Originally published December 19, 2003
Jennifer's dad owned a place down at Midway, Georgia, on Sunset Creek, about a quarter of a mile from the Jerico River. He had an old, ramshackle mobile home parked on a beautiful piece of land there, with a dock and floating dock on the creek. All the furniture inside was naugahide cheap-shit that could take a wet bathing suit with no problem, and he had a nice screen porch overlooking the marsh out back, where we sat and drank in the evenings.
We often went there on weekends to run the river, fish for trout, cast for shrimp and water ski. I learned to ride a kneeboard there one Saturday. There were three wimmen watching from the back of the boat when I came out of the water on that board for the first time, with my bathing suit around my ankles. The water almost sucked me nekkid. I was riding that thing with my buns in the wind and my dingle dangling in front.
I gave them the pump-fist "keep going" sign while I held onto the rope with one hand and repositioned my bathing suit with the other while going about 50 miles per hour down the river. I was the object of much wittery and clever observations when we got back to the dock. Wimmen can be catty sometimes.
One weekend my brother-in-law, Gary, took his boat to the river and we went out at low tide. Sunset Creek was very shallow at low tide and Gary's boat almost drew too much draft for us to get out of the creek, even with his motor trimmed as high as he could get it. Quinton was three years old at the time, and I got him to sit with me on the bow to level the craft help keep the prop out of the mud. Quinton was eating a strawberry pop-tart for breakfast that morning.
He accidentally dropped the pop-tart in the water. "There goes your pop-tart," Gary shouted. "Quinton, the crabs are gonna eat your breakfast today."
We went out and spent most of the day on the river and we had a fine old time, drinking beer and enjoying the salt water. We came back to the dock around 4:00 PM and decided that a crab boil would be a really good idea. We pulled up the traps around the dock and discovered about a half-dozen crabs. We knew we needed more crabs than that for a good, Midway-style crab-boil, so Gary and I went back out in the boat to rob some crab traps.
I'll give you a piece of advice if you live around the salt marshes of southeast Georgia. Robbing a commercial crabber's traps can get your ass shot dead. They'll cut you up and use your lifeless body to rebait the traps, too. I can't really blame them, because they make their livelihood from those traps, and you're messing with the man's groceries if you mess with his traps.
In this case, we had some family crab traps to raid, all identified with a yellow float. They all belonged to one of Jennifer's uncles, and we didn't believe that he would shoot us if we invited him to the crab boil. He didn't crab for a living. We stole about a bushel of crabs from him.
On the way back, we had pissed-off crabs running all over the boat as they snapped their claws and gave us the hairy-eyeball-on-stalks that only crabs can manage. We ran into a tremendous thunderstorm and rain fell in buckets. The drops were the size of marbles, and as Gary drove that boat through the storm, I felt as if someone were beating me with a hammer or shooting me with rubber bullets.
"Got-Damn!" Gary said. "This is fun, ain't it?" He was NOT serious.
We made it back, the storm went away and we boiled all the crabs. Every time Gary would crack one and pick some meat, he told Quinton, "I believe that THIS is the crab that ate your pop-tart this morning." Quinton immediately devoured the crab-meat as payback. That boy must have eaten a pound of crab meat that evening.
All of a sudden, Quinton stood up from the table and started crying. A terrible stench filled the air. I asked, "Quinton, what's the matter?"
"Daddy, I thought it was a poot, but I doo-dooed my pants!"
He sure enough did. That crab meat went through his young digestive tract the way Sherman went through Georgia. He had shit running down his legs and puddling around his bare feet. He was humiliated.
He ended up being hosed off the the back yard for the second time in his life. He has never eaten crab again.
I hope that he outgrows that fear of eating crab meat. It's too good to pass on forever.
(UPDATE: This sounds like a true story to me. I still know lots of crabbers. AND their girlfriends.)
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