Monthly Archives: July 2012

Journey of the Crabs / What Grandparents Will do for Their Grandchildren

Notes from the Cape

We are on Cape Cod and I set out with my dad and the boys to go clamming. We wadded into the waters of Jackknife Beach* on Pleasant Bay with our clam rakes and bucket. We raked the sand, felt for tell-tale scraps against the metal tines, and inspected the roiled water, but no clams. We did, however, scoop up six crabs. 
The crabs were smallish but sizable enough for us to decide to cook them. I envisioned blanching them whole in white wine, picking out the meat and sauteing in garlic, parsley and butter. Adding some turns of cracked pepper, a pinch of sea salt, a squeeze of lemon and plating with some fresh greens and good olive oil. My father probably had in mind a more straight-forward approach of boiling in water and dipping in butter. I think Adam and Jack just liked the idea of eating something we caught. 
The crabs went into a bucket with sea water, and into the trunk of my dad’s car.** We drove home and showered. The boys and I drove to Michael and Merle’s (Jessica is still in Basel). My parents came a little later, with my dad carrying the crab bucket through the living room and out onto the deck. We barbecued and ate, and completely forgot about the crabs.***  At dessert, somebody mentioned the crabs. I said I would release them into the bay on the way home. But it was late and dark and I wanted to get the boys to bed. So my parents stepped up and said they would set the crabs free.
The boys were asleep and it was close to 10 pm when my parents returned home. They had pulled off Route 28, carried the bucket of crabs down a sandy path winding to the bay, navigated gingerly around the ankle length creepers, walked across the beach and came to the sea’s edge. They lowered the lip of the bucket into the silvery moonlit water and watched as the crabs scurried towards the sandy bottom, only a hundred feet or so from where they had been snatched up early that day. 
*My parent’s dinghy had been anchored on this beach, but the dinghy is now missing and presumed stolen. Adam has renamed the beach Lost Ship Beach.
**Which for the crabs probably felt like being 2000 leagues under the sea. The trunk is the Mariana Trench of trunks: Deep, black and crammed with mysterious, undocumented, scary, and theoretically potentially unknowable stuff.
***Or were tired and just didn’t feel like going through the process of cooking them.
Crab Journey:
Total Distance: 8 miles
Time: 6 hours
Gain: A lifetime of memories, plus bragging rights to their crab friends