If you’re from the Mid-Atlantic, have traveled here, or are familiar with the area at all, you know that one of the area’s claims to fame is its Maryland Blue Crab. I was blessed, not only to be born in Maryland, but to be born into a family of master boat-builders and to a grandfather who was a waterman. I grew up with blue crabs as something we took for granted rather than as a delicacy. There weren’t big crab feasts for us where we invited all of our friends and neighbors and enjoyed the special meal. No, crabs for us were sometimes a regular dinner but more often an evening snack, usually accompanied by whatever the most popular prime-time television show of that night was. And it was pretty much a daily occurrence at Granddad’s house.
I knew that my grandfather was smiling down on me when I met my husband, a young man who had been working on the water since the age of 11, who owned his own boat, and paid his way through college by catching crabs all season. For most of our marriage, it was the seasonal crab haul that took us on our vacations and added a little more spending money to our pockets. For the past several years, Ken traveled extensively; and while his travels took him, and often the whole family, to beautiful and exotic places around the world, they also took him away from his favorite pastime–being on the water and catching crabs. That all changed in 2020.
Just as COVID was hitting the plant, the company that Ken worked for was going through a realignment. As the only non-Italian employee in an administrative position for a global energy company based in Rome, Ken had a feeling that his job was on the line. When the news came that his position had been eliminated, we were not surprised. Ken immediately began doing two things–looking for another job and looking for a new boat.
During the lockdown, Ken spent a good deal of time getting his old boat in working order and looking forward to getting back out on the water. The very first thing we did when we were all allowed to see other people again was take friends out crabbing. None of us could wait to get back out there and start catching crabs, and sharing that experience with others is often among the highlights of our summer.
Ken was so happy to be back on the water on a regular basis, but his boat was old and didn’t run efficiently. There was always some kind of issue with the engine or the pump or some other mechanical feature, and he was determined to have something better by this year. Thankfully, a very good friend of his decided to get out of the business and sold Ken his boat, a vessel that had only 9 miles on it since its owner found that he had less time than he had hoped to go crabbing.
Ken spent the entire spring getting the boat ready, and we took it for an inaugural ride about a month ago. Everything ran smoothly, and Ken was excited about what this summer of no travel and normal work hours would bring–his goal is to crab every morning before his regular job begins at 9AM. I haven’t seen Ken this excited about anything in a very long time. We took an early vacation, and Ken returned home with the mindset that this week would begin his first summer in many, many years as a true commercial crabber.
Of course, plans rarely go as we want them to. First, there was something wrong with Ken’s battery, so the week began with him tending to some small tasks on the boat while waiting for the store to open so that he could get a new battery. He bought the battery and rushed home to go to work. Yesterday, he replaced the battery only to find that the particular battery he bought did not fit into the space on the boat. He lost day two of his first week of crabbing waiting to replace that replacement battery! Then came this morning. Ken replaced the battery last night and came home assured that everything was ready for him to begin. He left the house at 4Am with the hopes of returning with a bounty of crabs to take to market. Instead, he returned in time for work with an empty bushel basket. Finding the right spot amid the other crabbers in a river he’s never crabbed before has turned out to be more difficult than he anticipated. Rather than feel defeated, he smiled, shrugged his shoulders, and said, “I just have to find the right spot” before he headed to his office.
I’ve never known Ken to give up or be defeated. He perseveres and trusts that God will lead him in the right direction. He has taught me many things through the course of our marriage, and one is to never be discouraged. This is a man who paid his own way through college and law school (with his crabbing money) and served for thirteen years as the youngest state delegate ever elected to the Maryland Legislature after being told over and over that he could never win. He battled party opposition when they tried to paint him as corrupt and unethical and was declared squeaky clean by the Maryland Ethics Board. He’s faithful to God and his family and works harder than anyone I’ve ever known. When he commits, he commits 100%.
It’s been a frustrating spring for me as far as my career goes. I’ve had trouble finding a narrator for the book that is to be released next month. Setting up the book launch has been met with one obstacle after another. The Nook book was accidentally sent to buyers a month early–completely unedited. The final proofing process has gone slower than normal, and I’m continuing to hit brick walls with the launch. Last night, Ken and I had a talk about whether or not I should push everything back, and we agreed that we will both work hard to do whatever we need to do to get the book out there as planned. I have a lot on my plate in the next several months, but I know that with Ken and God in my corner, there’s nothing I can’t do or accomplish.
I’ve come to realize that this is the key to a successful life–to have faith, to persevere, and to know that someone is always there to lift you up when life lets you down. Even when faced with hardship or when obstacles are thrown into our paths, we are to continue on with joy and confidence being steadfast in our ways and our convictions, and the Lord will make our ways perfect and give us all we need.
Ken and my grandfather knew this. They were cut from the same cloth. They both worked on or around the water their entire lives. Their family was/is more important to them than anything else of this world. They both looked/look to God for answers and followed/follow His teachings and the teachings of His Church. They both loved and love with great, unceasing love. Hard workers, diligent in all of their endeavors, and holding fast to principle, both men have received many rewards in life. I am so blessed to have had the most wonderful grandfather in my life for 18 years, and I have been just as blessed to have shared the past 28 years with Ken. I know that God has looked down on me with favor when it comes to the men in my life, my father included. They have all helped to make me the person I am today, and I will continue to strive forward knowing that I have their love and support on earth and in Heaven.
Attention Marylanders! Have your children or grandchildren read my book, Crabbing With Granddad? If not, buy it now, and read it to them this summer. Then join the “Support Indie Summer” Reading Challenge for children K-12! To play along and enter to win a stack of books from the challenge, you just need to earn ten points and then fill out this form to enter the drawing. One reader will win all of the challenge picture books, one reader will win all of the middle grade books, and one reader will win all of the young adult books! Only one entry per reader, but multiple readers in a household can enter.
My next book, The Good Wine, will be available on July 1, 2021 and is available for pre-order! More retailers are being added daily, so keep checking your favorite bookseller to see when you can order your copy. In-person special event launches as well as an online event are being scheduled. Subscribe to my Newsletter to get updates.
Want More from Amy?
Subscribe to my newsletter for information on upcoming books, cover reveals, and insider information. Do you know what my next book is about? My newsletter subscribers do!
Would you like Amy to speak to your parish, your women’s group, your reading patrons, or your book club?
Contact Amy’s assistant to schedule Amy’s visit–in person or via Skype or FaceTime. Now is the time to schedule a visit for this fall or winter!
Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s book is The Greatest Gift. The suspense novel, Summer’s Squall, and all of Amy’s books, can be found online and in stores. Her latest novel, Island of Promise, was recently awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, a finalist in the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Awards and winner of an Illumination Award, is based, in part, on Amy’s family history. The third book of Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Hope, was released in August of 2019.
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019), A Devotional Alphabet (2019), Desert Fire, Mountain Rain(2020).