2017 Crab Fest in Review

Aug 14, 2017

(Following is the proclamation of the 2017 St. Mark’s Crab of the Year, as delivered by Doris Burton at the July 23 Crab Fest, as originally published in the Winged Lion Review, August, 2017.)

NARRATOR: Dear potential converts to crabbiness! The St. Mark’s College of Crustaceans welcomes you to its annual Fourth of July Crab Fest! This festive gathering is never held on the date identified in its title. There are two reasons for this: First, we take crabby delight in the confusion associated with the Fourth. Second, the corn is only knee-high on the Fourth, but this week is at its peak! We really don’t care if you appreciate this very rare thoughtfulness on our part.

Some of you may not know the history of institutionalized crabbiness at St. Mark’s. Here, begrudgingly offered, is a brief summary. The Crab Fest is a curmudgeonly annual celebration of political incorrectness, mercilessly publicizing individuals’ and organizations’ idiosyncrasies, foibles, whimsies, personal conceits and humiliating mistakes. The Crab Fest is hosted by the College of Crustaceans, composed of deplorable people who have, in the past, distinguished themselves by acts of crabbiness, insensitivity, clumsiness, or hugely inappropriate behavior -just standing their ground, or doing what they thought was right, despite a definite lack of support!

The College convenes in secret session to honor people for distinguished crabbiness. These nominations are shared with you today. One of the nominees is then chosen to serve as the new Crab of the Year.

There have been complaints that the process is somewhat casual and lacking in organization. Yes! We love complaints, especially if they’re delivered with unapologetic crabbiness, although we will ignore them.

Actually, there are a few rules:

First, some have mistakenly assumed the nominations are a “roast” of the nominees. No way! “Roast-ees” are granted an opportunity to reply in their self-defense. The College would never be so considerate.

Second, the nominations are offered by (and hopefully to) people with a good sense of humor and offered in the festive spirit of the occasion. 

Third, no amount of striving, competing, begging, or pleading to be nominated for or elected to the College will succeed. It will, in fact, disbar you from any future consideration to join the college. Instead, go forth and prove yourself worthy by doing something really crabby!

NARRATOR:   And now, the College of the Crustaceans nominations for Crab of the Year:

Our first nomination was the darling of our 2016 Christmas program: she created dozens of decorations from scratch, decorated the Nave by herself, thereby totally embarrassing the entire congregation with her amazing creativity matched only by her frugality, also displayed at Easter! Additionally, her numerous decorations overloaded our already limited storage space that the Vestry briefly considered buying a POD.  

The nomination for the “Diligent Decorations Diva Gone Gladly Mad” goes to Lisa Ramish!

This parishioner serves as “bell minder” for the St. Mark’s Bell Ringers, where she personally cares for each bell in the large inventory of major and minor tones, imparting a high degree of accountability while demonstrating anything but “tone deaf” responsibility. As coordinator for our greeters welcoming newcomers, this person demonstrated an uncanny sense of organization by focusing new greeters on her 1,500-page training manual (truthful hyperbole!) with instructions on how one should greet another! She has also been known to provide parishioners with 3 x 5 cards on which assigned tasks were listed, thus always ensuring a smooth and thoroughly admirable operation. Our nomination for the “Pitch Perfect” and Dutifully Detailed Director’s”goes to Katherine Anderson!

With an apparent fixation on dogs as life’s most treasured companions, at a recent church gathering, Rector Michele Morgan loudly proclaimed–with an apparent Freudian slip of the tongue–that the congregation “should stop barking at each other!” Thusly, the nomination for our “Priest Whisperer” goes to Michele’s dog, Rosy! Arf! Arf!

The College particularly She Crabs, went quite crazy, if not sideways, when recently reminded of the book of Genesis, quoted on July 9: “The daughter of Bethel Nahor’s son, whom Micah bore to him’ “So I put the ring on her nose and the bracelets on her arms.” We unanimously declare the reference to putting a “ring on her nose” to be both anti-feminist and anti-She Crab! In the latter case, however “ring on her claw” works! We give the “Let’s Get Real” nomination to The Old Testament!

A long-time member of St. Mark’s and stalwart of our Christian Education Pillar, our next nominee is in a category all by herself, having never failed to make her position known. Her laser-like focus has inspired and encouraged others to give of themselves to “the cause.” Her drive to “dive deep” like a crab to get to the bottom of a problem gave our lives more meaning, and may have come from the salty air of her seashore nest on the Chesapeake Bay! She has served on the Vestry and was a Christian Ed Co-director who never hesitated to strongly and firmly encourage others to assume leadership roles. Our “If you Dig It, Why Don’t You Do It?” nomination goes to Betsy Athey!

This group of earnest, late morning coffee drinkers has repeatedly demonstrated their unwillingness to assist with clean-up following the coffee hour.  Our less than prestigious “Great coffee, but Damn, Do I have to wipe up as Well?” nomination, goes to obviously indifferent members of the 11:15 congregation!

During the recent Claggett Retreat, following comments by Michele, the assembled group was asked to offer comments. This parishioner suddenly announced, in a very loud voice, “They’re out there! Everyone should wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts and beware! Beware! I’m warning you!” There was silence. The rector paused and responded, “No one here has any idea what you’re talking about.” This parishioner urgently replied, “TICKS! There are ticks out there!” The College of Crustaceans nomination for the “Watch Out for Those Terrible Tiny Ticks on Your Toes” goes to Linda Huntington.

A highly devoted and revered parishioner volunteered to serve as the 2016-17 Co-Director of Worship but soon moved to the Eastern Shore! Our nomination for the “It’s just a little “Get-away from my Responsibilities” goes to Linda Chandlee!

A true believer of Christian Ed, she produced an article for the Winged Lion Review that turned out to be a doctrinal thesis on a Christian Ed weekend retreat, writing with the apparent attitude: “Words simply can’t describe it, but let me try anyway…” For this monumental feat of self-driven creativity, the nomination for our “War and Peace (Unabridged)” award goes to Heather Powers!

While drawing away at least two crabs from our College, these 14 active members of St. Mark’s built their own nest together, at a relatively remote site, far from distractions of the Metro and DC politics. For their audacious choice to reportedly molt there by themselves, in what is now known as the “St. Mark’s East Satellite Campus”, the nomination for our “Forever Far from the Madding Crowd” award goes to the Collington Cluster!

During a church service, and following the peace, a member of the Vestry waited patiently for parishioners to stop talking and embracing each other so he could welcome everyone. When he was being obviously ignored, he loudly yelled to everyone, “Stop hugging!”–which must have certainly impressed newcomers. For this moment of desperate social divisiveness, our nomination for the “Henn Hates Hugs!” crab award obviously goes to Fritz Henn!

After a considerable effort was made to establish an orderly manner of making name tags immediately and easily available to all members, the name tag index boxes remain filled with unused name tags at each service. This is clearly unacceptable, particular for newcomers who often rely on the tags to offer an opening to a conversation. We, therefore, nominate all members of the church who refuse to use their name tags the crabby option of either using the name tags or allowing the College of the Crustaceans to tattoo their names on their foreheads. For our “Please don’t ask me Who I Am!” award, we nominate all noncompliant members of the congregation!

The College of Crustaceans pauses to recognize the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s posting of the 95 theses, in 1517. Our nomination for the “Extensive Abstention” or “You Nailed It!” crab award is conveyed, although somewhat belatedly.

And now, the moment you have all been eagerly waiting for, the announcement of the 2017 Crab of the Year!

You have probably noticed this person, who has an enviable reputation for a persistently congenial, cordial and otherwise highly sociable manner, and who invariably seems to have a “leg up” on all good things, both big and small, going on at St. Mark’s.  There is no known “dark side” of the individual’s presence among us, which has created a storm of heated jealousies among crab “wannabes,” who resent such a winning smile could be so likable. However, in the mindset of the College of Crustaceans, this parishioner is likened to the special crab species, the “Love Crab” of the San Juan Islands and Puget Sound, thus vaguely qualifying her for inclusion in our esteemed crab community. Known for promoting and managing Pub Lunch, a former Co-director of Christian Education, and organizer of dances, she has an earned reputation for “digging in” in crab-like fashion, when there’s important work to do! Though having repeatedly moved far away from St. Mark’s – on more occasions than anyone could possibly remember – to the extent that she delivered the Liturgy of Departure twice, we affectionately welcome the return, most recently on her scooter, of our revered Prodigal – “Prodi-Gal” parishioner. Our 2017 Crab of the Year is Heather Powers!