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crabbing

Save the Crabs?

by Amber on June 6, 2011

Fishing is usually my husband’s deal. And this vacation was no exception. While he was out on the dock, losing fancy lures and catching inedible creatures, I preferred to sit on the beach and commune with the waves.

But there was one fishing project the whole family got involved in—crabbing.

We found crab traps underneath the house on our first evening there, and couldn’t wait to put them in the water. On our first trip to the store, we bought packages of chicken—apparently considered a crab delicacy (maybe there really is such a thing as chicken of the sea?)—and excitedly dunked them in the water under the dock the second we got home.

From that moment on, “going to see the crabbies” was at least a thrice daily event. Tori loved to count them (although her math is a little off), and any time I wanted to avert a temper tantrum, I’d carry her down to the dock and haul ‘em up.

As the days went on, we accumulated more and more crabs.

The crabs in our crab trap

FIfteen crabs, crabbing in the trap.

Naturally, the conversation soon turned to what we should do with them. Or, more precisely, how we should cook them.

“You know we have to boil them alive, right?” Brian said to me.

“Oh, there’s no we in that. You will boil them. I will be somewhere I can’t hear them scream.”

“They don’t scream, Amber.”

“How do you know? Have you ever boiled a crab?”

“Well no, but…”

“Trust me, they scream. Wouldn’t you, if you were being boiled alive?”

As you may have guessed from this exchange, I was a bit hesitant to cook the crabs.

Because, the thing is…they’re kinda cute in a strange sort of way. And they were fighting so hard to stay alive (there may have been some cannibalism involved). I began to feel sorry for them.

Crab fighting to get free.

How can you not empathize with this little guy?

But, of course, I didn’t tell Brian he couldn’t cook them—that’s too straight forward for me. Instead, I presented him with “alternatives.”

“Doesn’t cracking all those crabs open and digging out the meat seem like a lot of work? We could just go get some from the store…”

And, playing off his insecurities:

“If you’re not sure you can cook them right, we could just go out to dinner instead. Way less stressful.”

And the trump card?

“You know, I don’t think Tori will even eat crab. And we’re all out of hot dogs.”

I’m not sure which of my oft-repeated reminders did the trick, but in the end, I got my way. We set the crabs free.

Crabs going free

I think they look grateful, don't you?

Of course I was supposed to pretend that we actually did cook them (to save his pride), but, well, I’m a blabbermouth. And I like to think that somewhere in Mobile Bay, a few crabs are telling their crab nieces and nephews about their adventures—and about the kindhearted woman who saved them.

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