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Who Ate My Lobster?

by Astrid Gibbs


t dawn, on a beautiful morning in May, all the boats left the wharf

for the very first day of lobster fishing. Today, my father’s wooden traps, newly repaired and weighted down with heavy rocks, would be dropped to the bottom of the sea. Then, the lobster, lured by the bait: mackerel or herring, would enter by a wee window to devour the fish. And, to our great delight, on Saturday,Dadwould bring us each a BIG treat! During lobster season, every Saturday, at suppertime, our whole family feasted on this delicious crustacean. Finally, Saturday afternoon arrived, and

my dad, with his sou’wester on his head, and his fishing clothes glistening with saltwater, presentedmymotherwith a huge bucket of lobster. Immediately, Mom took, from the pantry, an immense pot that she filled with water, and to which she added a cupful of salt. When the water started boiling, she carefully handled each greenish lobster by the tail, and submerged it, wiggling, in the boiling pot. Mom, then, sliced her freshly made bread, just out of the oven. During all this time, I kept very busy at the kitchen table doing my homework. In the big pot during the boiling period,

an amazing transformation took place… Yes! Lobsters, like chameleons, change colour. So, when the cooking was finished, all the lobsters were bright red. My mother then filled the sink with cold water, and placed each lobster on its back, in order to save the good juices while it cooled off. Before suppertime, each plate was then

filled with a red lobster. So anxious was I to have a taste of my

first lobster of the season that I asked my momif I could, please! putmy lobster plate outside on the stone curb of the well facing the ocean, so that the wind would cool it more quickly. And when my mother nodded her head back and forth, smiling, I hurried outside to put my lobster plate on the well. I then returned promptly to my French

homework, which was to be given to my teacher early Monday morning. The clock ticked off the half hour. I raised my head. Yes, it was time to go. I left in a hurry hoping that my lobster would be cooled off just right. Horrors! My plate was empty. Where

had my lobster gone? What had happened to it?Was it a vulture who had stolen it? Or could it be that villain of a raccoon again? The other day, when my mother put two pies on the well to cool them off, the little rascal came to taste them without an invitation. Standing on his hind legs, hewas stuffing himself with pieces of apple with one front paw, while with the other he was holding on to the well.With our big shouts, we finally chased the masked bandit away. Otherwise, he would have gobbled up our favourite dessert. What should I do? What should I do? I

dashed around the house looking towards the wharf, I saw nothing! I dashed around the barn looking towards the road, I saw nothing! But when I dashed around the hen house looking towards the ocean, believe it

or not, I saw him! Yes, the roly-poly raccoon, not satisfiedwithMom’s pies, had invited himself to the first spring lobster. There he was, sitting on his bottom by

the river, with a lobster tail hanging from his mouth, while his was wagging with pleasure. All by himself in his little world of nature, with his claws, he was cleverly tearing apart the body of the red crustacean. Amazed, stunned at this amusing

spectacle, I ran back towards the house to get the heel ofMom’s bread,which she had left on the kitchen cupboard. Inmy eight-year-old opinion, in spite of

his tricks and ruses, this crafty raccoon had at least earned a well-deserved meal. So I threw the heel of bread with all my might. Surprised, the raccoon dropped the lobster tail, and with his claws, grabbed the bread. I then came out of my hiding place. For

a few seconds, the raccoon looked straight at me. I think he was saying thank you ...

Astrid Gibbs, at the ripe age of 50 years old, went back to school for four years at the University of Ottawa. She received a degree in French letters. Returning home with a satchel full of poetry, in 2001, she was chosen Acadian Poet of the Year in Caraquet NB. Since

then, she has written two books of short stories, a child's book, une pièce de théâtre and a memoir.Astrid has lived inGermany,Ottawa, and now resides in her fishing village of Baie-Sainte-Anne, NB.

Bread ‘ n Molasses September/October 2010 • 9

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