Susan Neder


In Play with Your Food on February 28, 2011 at 6:00 pm

I’ve been thinking about some of the unusual gifts I have received since the “Battle of the Netherlands” began. I think the winner of the Oscar for the “Most Unusual Gift” has to go to the hermit crabs.

Yes, you heard correctly…. hermit crabs. My granddaughter, Alessi, insisted upon buying me two hermit crabs, complete with a habitat (plastic box) filled with sand and a plastic palm tree, because she knew that “Ya-Ya” loves the beach and misses it, so this gift would give “Ya-Ya” some of the beach while she was sick. Hmm…how can you argue with that? I will admit that I was completely stunned when I received this gift; I was actually speechless. Alessi’s excitement  was all that pulled me out of my dumbfounded state! Had I really been given pets that are one of my favorite food sources? Okay, we don’t eat hermit crabs, but their larger relatives, certainly.

I peered suspiciously at my vegan daughter to be sure she wasn’t behind this – she’s been trying to guilt me for eating meat since she turned vegan. However, she seemed as shocked as I was. My other daughter, Cindy, whose turn it was to watch me that day, took one look at me and one look at the crabs, and went into high gear. She apparently decided that I was incapable of caring for my new pets ( I may not have been as good a mother as I thought I was, judging from her lack of confidence in my care-giving abilities). What did she do first? She “googled” them, of course! Why didn’t I think of that? What she learned on the internet was that these things are pretty easy to kill if they aren’t cared for properly, so off we went to Petsmart to buy a larger habitat, more sand, another palm tree, a water dish complete with a sponge for them to hang onto when they are drinking water ( I guess a number of them accidentally drown while drinking water – sounds like they are about as dumb as sheep, doesn’t it?), a calcium block for them to chew on and a book entitled “Hermit Crabs For Dummies”.

All I was allowed to do, other than pay for all this, was to name them and look at them while Cindy gave me instructions. Frankly, I think that was probably all I was capable of doing at that point. Based on being told that hermit crabs are very active and love to race about and play, I named them “Scooter” and “Wheelie”. Perhaps in a warm climate at sea level they are more active, but in Colorado in the winter at this altitude, all they do is sleep. They are the most boring pets I have ever had. I don’t even see them eat anything. Once a week I submerge them in warm water (their bath) and see if they move, so I know they aren’t dead. This must be what it is like to be a guard at a sperm bank – your only job is to be sure the damn things don’t die on your watch! Oh well, sometimes life lessons come from odd places we don’t expect. As I look at these things sleeping in the white sand under their palm tree, next to their pool, complete with a float, next to a fully stocked buffet table, I realize that as good as it sounds sometimes, that isn’t a great life either. In fact, it is so…oh..oh..boring….. life has to have purpose. So even though running off to the Keys sounds like a wonderful idea, it can only be a temporary break; you can only sit in the sand and stare at the ocean for so long. Rats!

Oh well, hopefully  the hermit crabs haven’t ruined me for one of my favorite restaurants, “Joe’s Crabshack”. On the other hand, maybe I’ll just stick with shrimp. Please, no one give me any pet shrimp!

  1. Hi Susan,
    This is Peg talking…

    Well, I received 15 pet shrimp for Christmas. We buried this group sometime ago – but hands off their replacements!

    I call them my little hairy creatures or furry creatures. They are neither hairy nor furry, but that is what I call them.

    They live in an ecosphere that sits on my kitchen island. I cover them up at night with a tea towel to help them stay warm for this harsh winter we are having in Houston 🙂

    Love you,

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