The kitchen table was covered with old newspapers. A five gallon plastic bucket, teeming with freshly caught blue crabs, sat on the floor. Captain Rob was on the back deck steaming the first pot of our late night repast. We had all gathered around the table, adults and children waiting with knives, and melted butter, and paper towels, and bowls of water for our fingers. Cold beer and soft drinks completed the menu.
Soon enough the bright red, steaming crabs were plunked down in the middle of the table and all hands reached for one. (Actually, we then let them sit for a while because they were too hot to handle.) When they cooled a bit we began dismantling them and extracting the delicate, tasty white meat from the main body and from the claws.
We picked, ate, drank, picked some more, and told stories until well past midnight. It was definitely an island kind of evening. Lou Ann had never picked crabs before. Let's hear what she has to say about it:
It was late..after the Oprey...when Sundae and Rob realized that a large bucket of crabs was waiting for them on their front porch (now I never had that experience before either!)...so at the spur of the moment Sundae invited all of us over for the midnight feast. The bucket was placed dead center on their kitchen floor, and I could not help but stare at the blue crabs clicking their claws against the side of the bucket. It was void of emotion as Rob just dumped them into the pot on the porch!
It took a while for me to get the hang of pickin' the crabs (a lot of work for so little meat)...but it was fresh and tender and absolutely delicious. One of the stories told that evening was of a champion woman crab picker from North Carolina...75 pounds in one day...I can't even imagine!
When we were finished, well past midnight, the table was heaped with shells...crab juices had dripped down to our elbows and beyond...beer bottles were empty, and I had one more wonderful Ocracoke experience.