A story in the Washington Post reminds me of this painful memory by introducing readers to Ted Scheer, the keeper of the racing crabs of the U.S. Virgin Islands of St. John and St. Thomas. Scheer collects the crabs at various places on the islands and organizes several kinds of races for the boozy patrons of area resorts. In the most common scenario, crabs race on a beach track made of concentric circles, starting in the center. The first crab to breech the outermost circle wins. Patrons who bet on the crabs win prizes like a day sail on a party yacht.
Another type of crab race popular in bars has the critters crawling up a two-foot wire mesh cylinder. The winner is the one whose shell makes it over the top and points downward on the "free" side of the wall. Happily for all involved, the crabs are returned to the wild after their servitude.
So after more than 30 years, I finally know what I missed on that fateful vacation. But I won't have closure until I get to witness a crab race in the flesh. I'd better start planning a
Virgin Islands Caribbean island vacation today, to start the healing process.
[Photo: La Tortugas Villa]