"What happened to the cracked crab?"

The Editor's Vineyard

In other stories about those early days of journalism in San Francisco, I have hinted that lunch often took longer than expected and consisted all too often of martinis rather than fine cuisine or even a sandwich.

Among other consequences this sometimes tended to play tricks with one's memory or so my Editor discovered one Friday afternoon. He was a suburbanite and lived in Millbrae. Sometimes he took the train into the City and other times he chose to drive.

On this Friday he also had orders from the Mrs. to bring home a couple of cracked crabs for supper. That famous Dungeness Crab is and always has been a great favorite in San Francisco for locals and tourists alike.

As it turned out he dropped down to the local market and got the crabs as ordered. Then went to a "luncheon" that lasted all afternoon in the cocktail lounge of the restaurant. Actually all was going quite well since he met a friend that lived close by so they journeyed down to Third and Townsend to the old SP Depot and caught the train to Millbrae where the friend's wife met them for the drive home.

However when he stepped into the house the first thing the Mrs. asked was "Where is the cracked crab?" And the second question was "what happened to the car?

At that moment memory returned and he had to lamely explain that both the cracked crab and the family automobile were still in San Francisco.

The next morning I received a call from my Editor (I lived in the City) asking if I could drop down to Millbrae and give him a ride back to retrieve his car.

This I did about Noon and since my Editor was still feeling the effects of yesterday's lunch a few cocktails were needed to get every one back in tip top shape.

So by the time we got back to the City and to his car it was well into the afternoon. Now San Francisco doesn't really have hot weather but it had been one of those delightful sunny days.

When he opened the car door and I was also standing close by the smell of crab was overwhelming to say the least. And that is an understatement. First order of business was to open every door and window. Second order of business was to get rid of that crab as soon as possible. Third order of business was to find an air freshener for the car's interior.

Feeling we had done as much as possible for the moment we left the car with all the windows opened. My Editor wondered if the car could be stolen but I assured him this was a very remote possibility.

So we adjourned to a bar that was conveniently located on a nearby corner. In San Francisco you are never far from a bar. Finally feeling the car interior had recovered at least somewhat, I got him on his way to Millbrae.

I never learned, or wanted to ask, what was served up at his home that Friday night in place of cracked crab. Crow comes to mind.

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Last Update:12/5/97

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