When I was still a squirt, my parents rented a house in Rehobeth Beach next to friends. Both familes had thrown caution to the wind in the reproduction department. There were 6 kids in our family. The other family had about a million. The two houses pulsed, rocked and swayed as children rocketed around them, ran up and down stairs, screaming and jumping. I believe the door did not stop slamming until 10 pm and started bright and early with the dawn as yours truly has awakened before sun up since babyhood.
One day, my father and the Collins’ mom were away (probably in hiding) and Dr. Collins announced that he would feed the Evil Hoarde aka The Kids himself. “Crabs. I’ll make crabs”. Mother knew nothing about cooking crabs and even less about having a man in the kitchen, but Dr. Collins was in fine fettle. He threw some of us in the car and bought 2 bushels of crabs. They came in baskets that seemed huge to a toddler and it fascinated me that they came with a seaweed covering that moved gently.
Back at the beach houses, it was decided that the crabs would be cooked in our kitchen and Dr. Collins started boiling an enormous pot of water and he relaxed with mom in the living room with a cocktail. Exactly how the crabs escaped has remained a mystery, but my brothers and the Collins boys are likely suspects, although they maintained total innocence. Long story short, the house that was already a study in chaos exploded like a summer blockbuster movie. The screaming of children, the pounding of feet and shouting of unhelpful advice reached such levels, I’m surprised no one called the cops. It was so bad that Dr. Collins became alarmed for my mother’s sanity and put her to bed, assuring her that everything was under control. Crabs were being thrown all over the house, back into the baskets, at the girls, at the boys. Dr. Collins tossed them finally into the pot. At that point a different kind of screaming started, one that shocked us into silence. At that point, all the kids took off, anywhere but the house. I hid in the dark in the yard, crying. Dr. Collins had yet to feed us, as you will see tomorrow.