Monday, June 27, 2011

A Scrawney Kid and the Waterman

I have always loved being on the water and fishing.  One of the highlights of my childhood was a two week vacation with my family at a lovely cottage on the Choptank River on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  While there my friend Earl Abey, a local blue crab fisherman, would take me with him while he was doing his crabbing.

Crabbing is a very cool, peaceful way to make a living, let me share how it is done if you don't know.  Earl would lay lines in a triangle a mile long each way.  Every few feet he would tie a chunk of salted eel for bait, these lines would lay on the bottom of the river, when they were all out he would hook the line over a spool off the side of the boat and as he slowly trolled the crabs would come up munching the bait.  He would take the ones large enough and sell them at the market and that is how he made his living. 

Earl was about 45 years older than I was and we had the best time together.  He would knock on my window at the cottage at 4AM, that is when the crabs bite the best, and I would jump up and off we would go on his work boat for several hours.  I would sleep on the engine box until it got daylight, then we would talk and laugh about the joys and challenges of being 8 or 10 years old, however old I was at the time, I would clean the boat up which he always protested telling me everything was just the way he wanted it.  Good thing I was there because I knew best. 

Earl Abey was a kind gentle man with a heart of gold.  I was a scrawny kid he told stories to and shared his love of the water.  I am telling you this story because today I might not have been able to go.  Child abuse is in all the headlines, kidnapping, sexual perversion.  I am glad I grew up in a gentler time when old men and young girls could share their lives and be happy in each other company. 

Director of Member Services and Smiles
OurHealth Co-op, Inc

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