We had a terrific wet spring. It was a real soaker for our area. On my way home from taking the kids to school I made a great discovery. I had just turned on to Vincent Rd from Sante Fe. I noticed the road had a lot of red spots on it. I slowed the car and noticed the red spots were moving. It was hundreds, if not thousands, of crawdads. One side of the road had an open ditch that turned into an underground tunnel. It must have been the perfect circumstance for crawdads in the underground tunnel that spring. I don’t know if the tunnel had flooded that morning or what but there they were literally covering the road.
Not knowing if they would still be there later in the day, I turned into mother mode. I don’t know why but we had a big aluminum wash tub in the car. I park, grabbed the tub, and started scooping up crawdads as fast as I could. Within two or three minutes the tub was well over half full. I couldn’t have lifted it to the car had I put more in it. I was afraid any if I put the tub would be so full they could climb out.
This was years before I had a cell phone. I couldn’t call anyone to come see what I was seeing. I was taking home proof. I started the car. The road was crawling with crawdads. Slowly I made my way towards East Avenue. I could hear constant crushing and popping sounds as my wheels rolled over dozens of the crawdads.
When I picked the kids up from school that day Charlie had a crawdad! He was so proud! He’d found it on the playground and kept it all day at school to bring home. He was so excited! When he shared it with us I acted all excited too. When we got to the crawdad place on our drive home most of the crawdads were gone. The road was red with dead ones. I showed the kids and told them my story. I didn’t mention I’d collected a huge tub of them.
I stopped the car. The boys got out and began investigating. Adam started searching in the pasture next to the road to see if he could find where they were coming from, Justin caught a couple and put them in the jar with Charlie's, and Charlie started poking at the squished ones trying to get them to move. The girls also got out of the car but they just watched. One minute laughing because it was quite a sight and the next near tears for all the squished little bodies. Heidi and Robin got out of the car and looked but they stayed right by the car afraid to take a step for fear of stepping on one.
There were six or seven cars parked along the road. Men and women were filling containers with crawdads. I know when we go camping and the kids catch crawdads they are brownish but turn orange when cooked. These were a very pretty orange alive and quite a sight. When we got home the kids ran to the kitchen to add their crawdads to my catch of the morning. The kids played with, studied, and watched those silly things until bedtime.
I learned the other people collecting the crawdads were collecting them to eat. The next day Charlie and a friend of Heidi’s took them and put them in a pond somewhere where they should be safe.
I had never seen crawdads anywhere except up in the mountains. I was surprised to find the thousands in the country but when I thought of it later I was just as surprised Charlie had found one on the school playground! Although I watched every rainy season after that, I never saw a single crawdad again.