Sunday, June 27, 2010

Moving the crabs

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish  and you feed him for a lifetime.” ~ Proverbs

This Crisfield waterman is all smiles for the camera as he prepares to unload his bounty at a nearby crab house.

Every time I see crab boats coming and going, or waterman working the trade taught to them by them by their great-great grandparents, I can't help but think of all the boats and workers in the Gulf Coast affected by the BP oil spill. The oil spill has turned their smiles into frowns and their boats sit idle in harbors.

Many say that BP will pay the waterman in due time. But being a waterman is not all about money. It is about being a "waterman", and no one but a waterman can understand the joy of bringing in a truck load of crabs or oysters.

When the bounty is great, waterman laugh, smile, and celebrate together. When a bad season comes around, they find comfort in each other. Waterman are people bursting with pride, learned and self-taught knowledge, and camaraderie. To have their livelihood taken away is one thing; to take away who they are is entirely another.

I have talked with many waterman in the area, and I can say that their prayers and thoughts are with the waterman of the Gulf Coast, as well as with their families. The people of Crisfield also send their prayers to the waterman and their families, to the businesses, and to the citizens of the towns affected by this oil spill.

We wish a speedy return of smiles to the waterman of the Gulf Coast.