My summer ended with weather that would make ninety percent of the world’s citizens jealous.
I didn’t plan for it. Summer does what she wants. She’s a spirited girl in a light-colored floral sundress with a dainty nose dappled with a smattering of the sweetest freckles. Her dimples are often evident as she smirks. She smiles from ear to ear during pink and orange sunsets, and the dimples become much more endearing.
I count myself lucky to have been born here and even more fortunate that I found the type of long-term employment that would let me stay here. A high percentage of my old high school chums moved away. Many were very successful. Now, I see many of them returning to Maine. If Maine has infested your spirit, sooner or later, you feel it draw you back in; it’s always good to come home.
I like to see my friends return. It makes me happy to be one of the few who stayed. I’m one of those who enjoyed all the cold winters, slips and falls, minor fender benders on icy roads, and pulling three-foot snow drifts from the roofs of several homes over many winters. I also relished the summers. Oh, they missed the summers too. Poor rascals.
My co-pilot, Sammy, quietly opined that meteorological summer starts around September first, which he’s using as a baseline. I agreed, humming along with James Taylor’s Copperline on the adequate radio of the F-250. I looked to my left as we crawled along a winding road beside the Atlantic. The ocean was calmly bringing in the tide to our chosen destination, a beach where we could grab some cold seawater to steam a few lobsters.
Sammy lost a pet last week. That’s all I’ll say about that. I called him and told him to come down to camp, and I’d grab some lobster from Captain Matt and First Mate, Jen. He thought it was a good plan. He showed up about twelve hours later.
It seemed like a good idea to grab some lobster, especially after a west coast sea aquarium’s advisory board announced that the world should stop buying Maine lobster. They based their conjecture on lousy science about migrating right whales in the Gulf of Maine. The last good thing to come out of Cannery Row was the writing of John Steinbeck. I know Maine commercial fishermen; I’m related to some of them. They are true environmentalists. They need a sustainable fishery to continue to live here, so I am buying their product as much as possible.
They have taken expensive steps to avoid impacting the right whales in any way, shape, or form. It’s been successful. However, they remain under the gun because they are easy marks. There is zero proof, anywhere, that the Maine lobster fishery has anything to do with the slow demise of the right whales.
The same groups who attack the lifeblood of Maine are pushing to infest the Gulf of Maine with giant chain-tethered windmills owned by foreign interests. I’ve never taken advice from anyone on a board in California, and you can be sure their scolding last week guaranteed I’d buy and eat lobster as soon as possible.
We marched down the rocky beach with our lobster pot, and I talked Sammy into getting into the surf to get some of the better water. He was wearing new shoes, but he was a sport. He does love those Rusty Wallace special edition Skechers with a Goodyear sole. He is quick, like a cat.
Our display of water gathering amused a few folks on the beach, but we didn’t explain it because it was more fun watching them watching us. Most of them were from somewhere else and would probably be eating any lobster at Helen’s in Machias or other fine establishments that feature seafood and turf-based sustenance.
Frankly, it would be best to always steam Maine lobster in salt water from the Gulf of Maine. If you get the chance, do it. You don’t need butter, as the salty deep gives you more flavor than your amateur palate can accept.
After dinner, we ended up at the camp up the gravel road. Dolores showed up with a pot of Haddock chowder. I skipped it. I was too full of my salty revenge on Monterey, but Sammy said it was excellent.
Suddenly, another set of fine camp neighbors showed up with a bag of fresh lobster they determined could not be consumed by the clan camped out on the shore. Sammy gladly accepted the gift, knowing that I would be the one to cook it up. We were all out of seawater, and I had just cleaned up the huge pot and utensils.
I tramped eight lobster and about ten pounds of good mud clams back to camp and started the cooking process over again. By eight p.m., I started a campfire and goaded Sammy into helping me pick the lobster meat in the dark beside the fire. A hot hardwood fire will burn up the shells, and that’s what we did. Pick and chuck, chuck and pick.
Next, I steamed the clams and put them in the fridge for the night. The following morning, we delivered a bag of picked lobster meat to Dolores for a chowder. We made lobster rolls with the rest. Thanks to Jeanne and Paul for the bounty.
All in all, I saw none of my Mainers pay any mind to the words out of Monterey. I can’t be overly critical of people who don’t understand our way of life, but I can say that I am always willing to give them a bit of advice on how to live theirs. I’ll wait until they ask, though.
That’s because I’m from Maine and always will be
Buy some Maine lobster; you’ll be glad you did. I can’t send you any seawater, but we’ve got plenty if you want to grab your own.
That’s all I’ve got.
From the Jagged Edge of America, I remain,
Thanks for all the support for my writing in Buy Me A Coffee. It’s how I pay the bills now. You have been the best 18,000 friends a guy can have. Just thanks. TC