Friday evening, Rod and I were treated to Maryland hard-shell crabs, so fresh that they were still alive when they went into the pot. We tried to remember that last time we’d eaten them, and figured that it must have been at least 10 years ago.
My all-time favorite hard-shell crab moment occurred on the Outer Banks at a place called the Froggy Dog. Rod and I were vacationing in late September, perfect crab season. We arrived for their all-you-can eat hard-shell special at 5 pm, the first diners in the door. I believe I went into a crab coma, because when I finally looked up from my food around 7 pm, I was shocked when I noticed all the noisy diners enjoying their meals. “When did all these people get here?” I asked Rod.
I can get lost in the process of hitting with the wooden hammer, cracking with a nutcracker, picking with a tiny fork, making a small pile of the meat, and then dipping in melted butter, with a touch of lemon juice and salt. Right now my mouth is watering just thinking about it. The thing about hard-shell crabs is that it takes a lot of work to eat them. Fast food, they are not! Those who want to speed through the picking to get to the eating miss out on, and waste, some of the sweetest, most desirable bites.
There seems to be a lesson there about the ability to be patient, to delay gratification, to live in the present moment, to savor little things, to feast in the messy-need-a-bib-eat-on-brown-paper way that is this life, and the formation of our souls. And perhaps there is a lesson for me in this season.
Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see how good God is. (Ps 34:8) ~ Anne