Crab Traps

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Memory… is the diary we all carry about with us. ~ Oscar Wilde

The car was packed and ready to go.  All the essentials were in place: crab traps, bait, weighted lines, net, lunch, four sleepy kids, and two tired parents. We set off before the rising sun was even beginning to think about peeking through the night sky.  By dawn we exchanged our station wagon for a weather-worn rowboat and carefully set out on the Chesapeake Bay.

It seemed like an eternity before Dad had the wire basket crab traps set – each one carefully tied to a bobbing gallon milk jug. Then he’d rev the engine, and we’d glide over the water like an airboat in the Florida Everglades.  He would find the perfect spot and quiet the motor.

Each of us had our own space at the side of the boat.  In turn we would cast our lines overboard hoping for a bite.  The whole family sat quiet and still (which was VERY unusual for us) and waited and waited and waited – baking under the noonday sun.  At last someone had a nibbler on their line.  Slowly, very, very slowly they’d pull up the line.  Mom or Dad would stand poised with the net ready to capture the prize.  Everyone stopped, holding their breath until the crab was safe inside the bushel basket.

On occasion the net keeper would have poor aim and miss the basket sending the crab scampering around the boat’s bottom.  This caused some of us to scream and rock the boat. We’d eventually fall into giggles when the catch finally reach its intended destination.

All too soon it was time to collect our loot and return to dry land. Once on terra firma the car was pack with the essentials: crab traps, weighted lines, net, and dinner.  Four sleepy kids and two tired parents headed home with another memory traced on their hearts.

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