Every once in a while, we knew well in advance that steamed crabs, like Santa Clause, “were commin’ to town.” There were a handful of calendared events where we knew that steamed crabs would be on the menu.
My dad’s union had a “picnic” unlike any other picnic I’d ever known. It included streamed crabs, pit roast beef, fresh corn on the cob, every kind of lunchmeat that you could imagine. And to top it off, they gave away money to the kids.
We vacationed on the Chesapeake for a week or two in the summer. We crabbed every day and ate more steamed crabs, soft-shelled crabs, and crab cakes than the law allowed.
Once a year we hosted a crab feast for all of my dad’s family. This brought out all my aunts, uncles, cousins, from near and far. Steamed crabs were plentiful as we stuffed ourselves to the gills, all to the sound of The Polish Hour on the radio.
Knowing that steamed crabs were in our future wasn’t enough. We counted down the days on the calendar till the fateful day arrived. We lived, and could have sung Carly Simon’s smash hit(1), “Anticipation.” You may best know it for the Hintz Ketchup commercials(2).
Yes, we dearly anticipated eating steamed crabs. But there was more to it than jamming that succulent white flesh into our gaping mouths. There was always a festive atmosphere that accompanied the streamed crabs. There was a crowd of people we liked and had a good time with. It was more than a meal, it was a celebration of family, a celebration of fun. And not to make it too serious, it was a celebration of life.
Hope has been on the decline in our country, in our lives. Isn’t it time to turn the tide? And like the tide, we can anticipate it coming in, coming back. Yes, it went out, perhaps farther than anyone can remember. But we can anticipate it coming back, and coming back strong.
It’s time to anticipate hope.