Every Father's Day, we had a crab feast.
Granddad would drive to Rock Hall early in the morning to get a bushel of Number Ones. We would all go to the house in Worton and sit in the shade of the huge evergreen trees in the backyard. It was the only time I remember using the back door of my grandparents' house, and it felt special.
The picnic table was covered in several weeks' worth of the Kent County News and the Cecil Whig. There was a fancy dancy crab mallet holder in the center of the table. It even had a spot for the roll of paper towels, which is imperative. The grown ups drank beer. I have no idea what I drank. Probably ginger ale.
We would eat crabs until we were full. But you know, that's pretty hard with crabs. So, I'll say that we all ate crabs until we were tired of picking them, tired of washing our hands when we had to get anything other than a crab, etc. Tired of Old Bay getting into the increasing number of nicks and cuts on our fingers, because crabs, well, they get you. Even when you're from Maryland, born and raised.
Granddad didn't ever get full of crab. The rest of us would have cashed in long ago, washed our hands, gotten something fresh to drink, shaken off all of the Old Bay crumbs that had accumulated everywhere, and come back outside to hang out. Granddad just kept going.
He was methodical. He opened every single leg, even the ones that usually "aren't worth it" to me. He got every single piece of meat out of every crab. He enjoyed it. It was sort of Zen to watch him eat crabs, now that I think about it. He wasn't fast. It was not gluttony. It was thorough, measured, enjoyment.
At some point Mom and Grandmom would give in to the realization that they had to pick the rest of the crabs, so that someone could use the crabmeat. Someone had to make soup or crabcakes or something, and you know ... "those crabs don't pick themselves!" Someone would always say.
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This year for Father's Day, Durel, Jack, and I were in Houston. PapaDu and Dustin drove to Kema in the morning to get crabs. Then, the Bernard men boiled them with seasoning and "groceries" (sausage, garlic, celery, mushrooms, pure deliciousness) in the driveway. Then, we put our own spin on the Father's Day tradition and ate them.
|They're going to hate me for posting this.|
But it was so awesome.
D, I kept it small. Does that help?
It's a little different. Plastic on the tables instead of newspaper. Shrimp in addition to crab. Groceries in addition to just crabs. (I love that, maybe the most.) A new backyard. A new tree (or lack thereof) to sit under. A new back door to use.
And a new person to partake.
Jack did not pass Go. He did not collect $200. He sat down and started eating some serious crab. As fast as Donna and I could pick it, he would eat it. He easily ate 4 or 5 crabs' worth of meat. And that's really saying something.
Granddad was so proud. I could feel it.
Hope you feel some love from above today.