South Louisiana Pastime

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I need to tell you about my newfound favorite pastime.

If I’m honest, it’s not completely new, as I’ve done it before. But now that we are in September and the hottest months of summer are behind us, I can say my favorite pastime has filled our Saturday mornings more often than not over the past months of June, July and August.

My sweet family expects to sleep in on a Saturday, and this mamma has rigorously gone from bed to bed waking up all the people in the house. This has even included friends who are sleeping over for the night. (They come back, so they must not be that mad.)

“It’s 5:15 a.m.,” I chirp. “Let’s go!”

They roll their eyes, but they get out of bed. They know where we’re going before their feet even hit the ground.

It’s 5:15, and I want to be out of the house by 5:30. You have 15 minutes to wash your face, brush your teeth and grab a granola bar. Before long, the husband and I are ready, the children are groggy but gathered in the kitchen, and we look at each other and say “let’s go.”

We pile into our truck, pull the boat and head “down the bayou” to catch some crabs. It’s been the best part of this past summer. We’ve caught dozens of crabs before 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning more times than I can count. It’s been delightful to put a string with some chicken in the water and pull in crab lines loaded down with crabs.

It’s even more delightful to invite over friends and family to enjoy a crab boil later that day.

As the sun rises over south Louisiana on those Saturday mornings, I truly think there’s no place I’d rather be. These bayous have always been my home, and I’m thankful that a 45-minute drive puts me at the bottom of the boot where the Gulf meets the smaller waterways that curve into our landscape and dominate our state.

If you’ve never caught a crab on a line of string with some chicken at the end, you’ve not really experienced the greatness of our state. You might not agree with that sentence, but there’s something about it that elicits squeals of joy from even grown adults. I promise I’m telling the truth.

A few weeks ago, we were at our spot, and finished catching for the day, and the hour was a little after 8 a.m. Done before it gets too hot and ready to get back home, we were starting to pack up when a boat of four adults joined us. It had been years since they’d gone crabbing and they wanted to see if they could “catch a few” they said. (Because the number one bayou rule for you uninitiated is “when on the bayou you talk or wave to everyone else on the bayou”).

We told them they could use our lines and put out their own. The woman who pulled in her first line of crabs sounded like a 50-year-old turned 5 years old again when she pulled in the first line.

“Ya’ll!! There’s two on the line,” she shouted to the three other adults. It’s as though you can’t even help but get a little excited over the multiple crabs you’re about to toss into the ice chest. She laughed and then got serious about pulling in some lines, as her friends joined her. We pulled out of our crabbing spot and let them take over. There’s enough in the waterways to share.

We’ve shared our crab catch all summer. It’s been the best part of the weekends and what we talk about doing all week. Vacations are fun, but this is home-grown goodness that’s a short drive and boat ride away.

And the crabs are hot and always spicy and the conversation over crab peeling is always good. It’s south Louisiana at its finest. People at their best. And life at its loveliest. POV