Embarrassing childhood tales of the Caribbean

Cinnamon Bay

Cinnamon Bay, USVI. Public domain image courtesy of John Kernan, Wikimedia Commons.

You know it’s coming. It appears when you introduce your boyfriend or girlfriend to your parents. Or it shows up during the middle of a family get-together at Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas or some other occasion.

Oh, no! Here it comes! (Theme music from “Jaws”: dunt-DUNT, dunt-DUNT, dunt-DUNT…)


I think all of us have at least one story like this. Our parents, aunts, uncles and/or grandparents love to tell these kinds of stories about the follies of our youth — the things we did as kids when we didn’t have the wisdom to know any better and didn’t realize the impressions that we were making on others.

You can’t stop this story once the storyteller decides it’s time to air it. About all you can do is grin shamefacedly, while inside, you’re rolling your eyes and thinking, “Oh, man, not that story again!” (I can almost see all of you nodding in agreement.)

For me, it’s the crab story that I mentioned in the previous blog post called “Stop! Or my mom will blog!”  A few people pleaded to hear this story, and since you asked so nicely, I’ll oblige.

For my 7th birthday, my Mom took me and the sibs to go camping in the U.S. Virgin Islands (at the time, it was a pretty inexpensive trip). We were on the island of St. John’s, a short walk from Cinnamon Bay, using the campground there.

We went swimming in the bay and I remember being amazed at the clearness of the water. We also had a guided tour around the island, courtesy of a friendly guide, Richard Penn. I’d love to know whatever happened to him. I remember chatting to people at the campground cafeteria, shopping in the little gift shop at the campgrounds and exploring a bit of Puerto Rico.

So one afternoon, one sib and I are lying down, reading, in our tent. (Mom was not there. I think she’d gone off to the camp store with one sib and left my other sib to babysit me for a few minutes.) I spied a big ol’ crab crawling across the campsite, and I got spooked. (Hey, I was only seven.) I tried to make my sib do something about it. No luck. My sib was of the opinion that the crab would go away on its own.

And meanwhile the crab got closer…and closer…and closer…

To my inexperienced seven-year-old eyes, it looked like a HUGE crab. (Crabzilla?) The closer it got, the more scared I got. I decided to go fetch help. I went away from the campsite (moving slowly so the crab wouldn’t pounce) and found an adult acquaintance (somebody I’d been talking to in the cafeteria). She took the time to listen. She couldn’t leave where she was, so she asked a friend of hers to walk me back and make sure I got back to our campsite safely.

In the meantime, Mom returned to the campsite and wanted to know where I was. Next thing she knew, here I am, walking back to the campsite, escorted by this kind man in his 20s. So she thanked him and assured me that the crab had vanished and I was safe. Whew! Guess the crab decided to go someplace else rather than mess with my Mom.

End result of story: Crab 0, Humans 1.



Filed under Writing

11 responses to “Embarrassing childhood tales of the Caribbean

  1. Hopefully you’ve sought your revenge on that crab and eaten his family several times over for scaring you like that. Yum.

  2. Yup. Those family stories. That’s a good one. Even today, I’m a real wimp about crabs and sea things (and stepping on an urchin isn’t at all funny). But with my mom gone so many years, I’d be glad to hear all of her stories again … just one more time.

  3. Crab was probably working for tips? The islands have strange ways….and creatures …it probably was huge…bigger than your shoe…it might have jumped..they crawl around with arms up – ready for battle. Smart kid!
    Great story.
    (Here. chocolate…too hot for campfire.)

  4. Love it! You were a very resourceful kid. I never had any trouble with crustaceans, but by the time I was seven I had developed a paralyzing phobia of butterflies (which I still have to this day) and I used to scream and run when I saw one. Erhm, I still do that. We all have our things!

  5. Impybat

    Watch out for the chilling new motion picture inspired by these events…Killer Krabs From the Deep! Seriously though, crabs are creepy…until you make them into crab cakes! That’s revenge.


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