Sebastian the Crab

This one if from “Notes To My Kids”. A daughter’s love of pets, including crabs.

To Jane:

You always loved animals of all types—from big ones to little ones, from dogs to cats, and even crabs; Hermit crabs, that is. Specifically, one in particular you called Sebastian.

How you got Sebastian is a story. When I was dating Denanne, you kids went with us on a short vacation to see her parents at Port Aransas near Corpus Christi. We went to Padre Island and swam and played on the beach. Roger had a seizure, as you recall, and scared us all to death, prompting your mom to fly down to be by his side. On a happier note, we ate freshly caught blue crabs and other tasty seafood. And other good food at that small BBQ joint on the way there—the famous Luling City Market. All in all, a very good time.

One afternoon, we toured the small nautical museum in Port Aransas. That was for me, being a museum fan, not so much for you kids. We walked around inside and looked at the exhibits, which was fun for me, but probably boring for you and Roger. However, that did not last, at least for you. That change in outlook came from the gift shop. Besides books on ships and other seafaring knick-knacks, they sold live hermit crabs and the related items to feed and care for them.

Seeing the little creature and prompted by the lady who worked in the gift shop, you were instantly enthralled by the creatures and begged me to buy you one. I feared it would die after purchase, but the ever-informative lady chimed in to counter that. Hence, I decided to buy you one, its habitat, and the related food and care items.

We loaded the crab and its stuff in the car and left. I think you had the stuff in your lap or by your side. That physical closeness to the crab showed what was to come. You really cared for the crab and truly enjoyed it. You quickly named it Sebastian after the crab in The Little Mermaid Disney flick–which you loved.

We returned home from the coast, and you took Sebastian home to The Colony and set him up in your room. He was in a little aquarium with gravel and a little castle-like thing in it. With his food nearby, his new home was now carefully set up for his safe existence far from the predators of the sea. And exist he did—for a lot longer than I thought he would; about a year.
Each time I came over to The Colony to pick you up, you mentioned him. Many times you took me to your room to see how he was doing. You would pick him up, gently pet him, and explain how crabs actually liked that. Apparently so, he never appeared to be in stress when he poked his nose out of his shell. I think you even brought him to my house a few times and showed me how he liked being petted even more. You really loved that little crustacean, and you cared for him daily and dearly.

Even so, Sebastian met his end. Not from a lack of care or being devoured, but most likely from a disease that came from the other crab you bought to be his roommate. Pearl was its name. Soon after Pearl moved into “Crabville,” Sebastian died. You were very sad and missed him. Pearl did not last long either. You were crabless then, and “Crabville” forever remained empty—you never had another crab.

As I mentioned, you always loved animals, all animals as far as I knew. That love for the fauna around us is still with you today. Not just for animals that are pets—like your beloved dogs Jewel and Tonk—but for animals you will deal with in school and in your future.

Majoring in marine biology is an outward sign of that inward passion. Maybe I should have foreseen you pursuing such a career then. In retrospect, Sebastian’s time was just an early hint of what would become your dream. Your care for a little crab showed how you would be interested in such animals as an adult. Regardless of how such things may have led to your chosen profession, how that little crab made you happy. Here’s to hoping that the crabs and fish you work with after college will make you smile as big, and as much, as Sebastian.

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