BlogPendant Automation Diary – Beautiful Swimmers

Pendant Automation Diary – Beautiful Swimmers

By Gary Stokes
July 19th, 2019

Like many companies, occasionally we push the stop button and turn off the business to have a little fun.  Today is one of those days. Not long after we publish this post, we’ll start Pendant Day.

Pendant Day activities vary. Past Pendant Days included things like rock climbing, a visit to the gun range, and other fun activities. Today will be more of a company picnic in our panel shop on what will be a very hot and humid day, with a distinctly Maryland flavor.  There will be cornhole games, presentations of the Pendie awards by Pendant’s version of Michael Scott (The Office Season 2 Episode 1), maybe some fake sumo, and plenty to eat and drink. A highlight of the day will be a Maryland tradition you can never get enough of if you “get it”.

Beautiful Swimmers, published in 1976 and written by William Warner, is a beautifully written love letter to the blue crabs of the Chesapeake Bay and to the people whose lives revolve around them, for which Warner won a Pulitzer Prize. It’s well worth the time, as is a follow-up documentary that Warner’s book inspired (Beautiful Swimmers Revisited).

Jason will take the lead today in setting up a sumptuous Maryland Crab Feast. He’ll start with a bushel of blue crabs harvested from the Bay (which is about a par 5 golf hole from our panel shop).  He will steam them in a pot like you see in the featured photo at the beginning of the post, layered with plenty of seasoning, and turn them into a delicious pile of meat that you have to work for (they turn red during the steaming).


If you have never been to a Maryland crab feast, find one and go. Study this video (picking crabs) or ask someone to show you how it’s done. But before you go, realize that the world divides itself into two types of people – those that get it and those that don’t.  If you don’t get it, you’ll make comments like these:

  • I’m just going to eat a couple.
  • I’ll just have a hot dog.  Picking crabs is too much work.
  • It’s just so messy.
  • I like them better boiled (this comment is grounds for immediate eviction – boiling blue crabs is a crime of such immense horror that it falls just short of warranting the death penalty).

To be counted among those that “get it”, avoid the following:

  • Wiping or rinsing off the seasoning before picking the crab. You should wipe seasoning from a shell only to wipe some of it on the piece of meat you are about to eat. In Maryland, Old Bay and JO seasonings go with everything!
  • Hammering the crab claw into submission.  Only hit the claw with enough force to crack the shell, not to obliterate it.
  • Sorting through the pile to find the heaviest or largest crab. Take what’s in front of you. You’ll get your fair share of the larger crabs eventually.
  • Using the “facilities” without first washing your hands.  Trust me, you’ll regret it if you do.
  • Getting worked up about getting some of the mess on your clothes.  If you’re going to a crab feast, dress for it and deal with it.
  • Being in a hurry.  A Maryland crab feast is a social event that takes time to enjoy.  While you’re picking your crabs, there is plenty of time for quality conversation with your friends and family, tons of laughs, and making memories.

Please be patient with us if you happen to call today while we’re celebrating. We may not answer because we’d hate to have to wipe the mess off our phones afterward.

If you do have something important to tell us, you can reach us hereEnjoy your weekend.  We sure will.