Painting ©2018 John Clark III
Grilled hot dogs and hamburgers; fresh, sweet Hempstead, Texas watermelon; homemade chili con queso and chips; lots of cold drinks and assorted gourmet Jello shots; old friends and new ones playing marathon volleyball games and rounds of redneck golf under partly cloudy skies, with the Gulf of Mexico providing a soothing backdrop throughout the day.
Top it all off with watching fireworks from the hotel room balcony and it couldn't have been a much better 4th of July.
My friend and brother, Bobby, hosted a big holiday shindig at his beautiful beach house on Galveston's west end, and it was an excellent day.
On Friday, we had dinner with another childhood friend, Craig, who lives on the other end of the island. Bobby and I have known each other since at least 1st grade. Craig and I met at track tryouts in 7th grade, and ran together on a helluva good little 220-yard relay team.
We won district in 7th grade, and qualified for the regional championships, at Houston's Delmar Stadium, I think it was. We were naturally excited, and then when they called for our event, we headed over to take our positions on the track, and watched as the other team members lined up, as well. Every one one of them was six-feet tall, with bulging muscles, huge afro hairstyles, sideburns and beards. Craig and I -- who ran first and second legs on the relay team -- looked at them, then at each other, and started laughing.
We slapped each other five, then got ready for the gun.
Sure enough, we got smoked. Never stood a chance. Those other guys took off like greyhounds after a rabbit, and we came in dead last.
Good times. We love telling that story to whoever will listen.
We'll be heading back down to Galveston in a couple-three weeks to do some crabbin' with ol' Craig and his wife, Angie. Talk about fun and good eating. If you've never done it, you gotta try it sometime.
All you need is some kite string, a package of chicken necks or wings, and one of those long-handled nets -- a small net. Not the big, deep nets that are used for hauling in fish. If you use a fishing net, you'll never get the crab out after you catch him.
Just about anywhere along the shores around Galveston Bay -- there are other places, too -- is a good place to catch as many blue crab as you feel like catching. Apparently, nowadays you have to have a fishing license, and the crabs you keep have to be at least 5 inches across. Also, they can't be an expectant mama crab carrying eggs.
Anyway, what you do is, take about 10-feet or so of string and tie a piece of raw chicken to one end. Now, about two feet or so from the chicken, tie a little loop in the string. Anchor or tie the other end to something, and toss the chicken in the water. Put out a half-dozen lines or so and wait. It shouldn't take long, before a line straightens out or starts moving around. When it does, there's probably a crab on the other end.
Grab the net and slowly pull in the string. If the line goes slack, let go. The crab will likely find it again and pick it back up. If it stays taut, keep pulling -- slowly -- until you see the little loop coming up out of the water. Then, keeping the line taut, take the net and reach about two feet or so past the loop, coming in behind the unsuspecting crab, and scoop him up. That's it -- you got one!
Chunk the chicken back out in the water. Dump the crab in a cooler half-full of ice, being careful not to let one of those claws latch onto a finger (I've done it, and it's not fun) -- and you're on your way to an amazing meal.
Along with boiling your catch, cracking open the shells and enjoying some of the finest stuff known to man, here's a great thing to do with crabmeat. Get some fresh mushrooms and break off the stems; fill the upside down caps with crab; top with cheese; bake until browned. Good grief ...
Continued happy summering, y'all ...
A few reviews of John's books
The 30-Day Optimism Solution:
“Part memoir, part informative text. You get both when reading 'Depression Blues' by John H. Clark III. Mr. Clark shares his struggles with depression in an honest and real way, and as the book progresses, so does his hope. Woven into the story as jumping off points are bits of information about depression and ways to "conquer" the sadness, loneliness, and despair that comes with it.
Mr. Clark becomes more than an author in this book; he becomes a friend who understands the pain of depression and provides light. I recommend this book to anyone looking for light or to anyone who knows someone with depression and wants to learn more.”
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