While on spring break on St Simon’s Island, we took to the beach one night to search out the sand crabs. The two adults in our party who had grown up on the island swore that after the sun went down we would see so many crabs on the beach at high tide – we just needed to take a big flash light so we could see the crabs in the dark and avoid stepping on them. We thought the kids would love it.
We strolled along the beach, sweeping the light to and fro, searching for the elusive crabs. We kept walking… and walking… and walking.
“Where are the crabs?” one little girl cried. “Why can’t we find the crabs?” whined one of my sons. “Where are the @#% crabs?” asked a parent.
“I thought you said there would be hundreds of crabs out here,” a wife said to her used-to-be-an-islander husband.
“There are, there are, we just haven’t gotten to them yet,” he said. The rest of us adults just rolled our eyes in the dark and kept walking while the children jumped and leapt with excitement.
Further on, one of the “former residents” stopped the light on a dark mass (which turned out to be a piece of wood) and the children huddled around it. Out of the corner of my eye I spied something to the side of the crowd… could it be? I stared hard, willing my eyes to sharpen their focus in the dark. “Hey! Over here. I think I found a crab.” They shone the light on my discovery and sure enough, it was a CRAB! The children danced and the adults high-fived while one gingerly picked up the crab and put him in a large beach bag (we released him at the end of our walk). We whooped and hollered (as us Southerners do when thrilled with life in general) and exulted in our success the rest of our walk. We likely scared off all other crab wildlife (although we found a dead horseshoe crab, but being dead he didn’t seem to mind our noisemaking) as we didn’t see nary a one after that.
My children were so proud that THEIR mommy was the celebrated crab finder, that they felt the need to tell all others we encoutered the good news.
My youngest shouted “My Mommy got crabs!” in the condo courtyard as we made our way back from the beach. Some whooping and hollering came back in response from the late-night revelers on their balconies.
My husband, trying to cover his laughter, told my younger son that we should say instead “Mommy found a crab on the beach,” as this was more correct. He told my older son that saying “Mommy had crabs,” wasn’t a nice thing to say – he would explain later.
We left our friends at their condo and I felt secure that the proud announcements and strange looks were over. I was wrong.
The next morning at breakfast my younger son told his Grandma (who didn’t come with us on our beach adventure) that Mommy was on the beach and got crabs and that Daddy was trying to hush him because it wasn’t nice to say but that he thought it was really cool that Mommy had crabs. He ignored our efforts to shush him as he proudly offered this up to his Grandma. Once finished with his proclamation he beamed at me, pride spilling over in his eyes.
My mother-in-law raised an eyebrow and gave me a look as if to say “I suspected as much all along, missy.”