Lobster Tales

Posted on June 13, 2015 under Storytelling with one comment


Banding together



If you`re a Maritimer, there is nothing that is more anticipated than the first feed of lobster as the season opens.

The date and time was set for the feast … a family affair.  The time was a key factor as this family was schooled on several principles; none more important than punctuality.  They were to convene promptly at 6:00 P.M.

Someone is always tasked with the job of procuring the lobsters.  A family member who had just arrived from the West Coast went to one of the local lobster vendors, only to find that it was now a distribution centre and no longer a retail outlet.  Because there was no time to go to one of the many area wharves, he decided to check one of the large grocery chains.  He had been told that the quality of product was every bit as good as if you cooked them yourself down on the beach.  And only a little bit pricier.

At 3 P.M. he arrived at the grocery store and placed the order at the fish counter: 20 market lobsters, hot and juicy.  The staffer assured him that they would be ready at 5:45 sharp.  He was soon to find out that business is conducted a little differently in small town Canada than in a major city.

At precisely 5:40 he was in front of the fish counter.  “I’m here to pick up the 20 lobsters that I ordered earlier this afternoon.” He announced.   “I’m sorry.  We only have the first ten cooked.  There was a staff change at 5:30 and somehow things got a bit mixed up” was the response.   Our trusty purchaser heaved a small sigh at the ineptitude and went out to the parking lot to bide his time.

By 6 PM he was once again in the now familiar spot.  Three plastic bags full of warm crustaceans were handed over and, all of a sudden, the fifteen minute delay didn’t seem all that bad.

Knowing that he would be transporting more than 30 pounds to the cashier, he had secured a shopping cart.  He had scarcely reached the fruit and vegetable section when he noticed that a trail of water was seeping from the bags onto the floor.  He did a quick U-turn and asked the folks tending to the lobsters to double bag them for safe delivery.

Meanwhile, back at the homestead, folks were looking at their watches as they fully expected the lobsters to have arrived promptly at 6:10.  When the clock turned to 6:11, all in the room knew that there was a problem.

He arrived at the lineup for the cashier.  Blessedly there was only one person in front of him.  The bad news was that, despite double bagging, water continued to drain from the bags onto the floor.  It was more than a trickle and suddenly there was a small puddle in the aisle, creating a hazard for any unsuspecting customer coming behind.  Thinking quickly, a trait he had honed as a corporate lawyer, he grabbed an adjacent candy bar rack and used it to block further access to the cashier’s counter.

The one person lineup quickly dispersed and it was then just our buyer, the lobsters and a slightly disinterested clerk.  “There’s a problem with these bags and there’s quite a bit of water on the floor.” His remark was met with indifference as he placed the three bags of lobsters on the counter.  “I think you should call somebody to clean up the water on the floor because someone could slip and fall.”  She picked up the phone and paged a colleague.  He was on break.

By now the water was starting to run over the counter toward the open till.  Alarmed, and growing more frustrated by the minute, he said, “Ma’am, I think you really need to get someone here immediately to deal with this.  Without looking up, she enquired, “Do you collect Air Miles?”   He was tempted to hand her a lobster to scan.

His ordeal finally over, he strode quickly to the vehicle that he had borrowed from his brother and dropped the three bags into the trunk.

It was close to 6:20, exactly 35 minutes later than planned, when he arrived at the family home.  He opened the trunk and, much to his chagrin, discovered that despite the double bagging (and a string of profanities); lobster juice covered the trunk floor.  It was sunny and 20 degrees at the time.  Only a Maritimer can describe the smell of fetid lobster juice.

He trudged up the steps and was met at the door with a healthy dose of ribbing for his tardiness.

He dropped the three bags of lobsters on the veranda, quickly checked his travel itinerary home, and started to hum a few bars of “Farewell to Nova Scotia”.

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