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Chapter 021 It's alive

In November, 1965, I brought my girlfriend of five months, Barbara, to camp for the weekend. We stopped in Waterville to shop for food, and as a special treat, we bought a couple of Maine lobsters.

Barbara grew up about 90 miles north of New York City in the Catskill Mountains – not a place known for its local seafood. She’d had lobster and enjoyed it, but she’d never cooked it. I gave her instructions on how to do it: boil salted water, add lobsters, and cook for 15 minutes – nothing to it. While I was starting a fire in the big stone fireplace in the living room, she went into the kitchen to cook the lobsters.

I opened the fireplace damper and packed the fireplace with balled up newspaper, kindling and some seasoned birch logs. Just as I was about to apply a match to the paper, there was an absolutely ear shattering shriek from the kitchen. “IT’S ALIVE!” I jumped up and ran into the kitchen. Now if this had been a 1940’s horror movie, I would have expected to see Barbara, with her forearm in front of her face, palm thrust outward to ward off Frankenstein’s monster or the Mummy. But instead, what I saw was Barbara, standing by a pot of boiling water, face ashen, hands shaking, clutching a lobster poised precariously above the pot. Turns out she didn’t know lobsters are bought and cooked alive, and when she pulled one from the bag, and was about to put it into the pot, it began to flap its tail vigorously, generating terror and ear shattering shrieks. After she calmed down, I explained the process in more detail. We both laughed about it, finished cooking the lobsters, and enjoyed dinner and our time together.

Within two years we were married, and in another 10 years we were divorced. We’d gotten together relatively young, and just grew apart. Mercifully we didn’t have kids, so our parting was easy and relatively painless.

I don’t know how it works with other men, but for me, the process for getting a woman to like me enough to want to marry me, involves bringing her to camp and inadvertently scaring the unholy crap out of her. More on this process in a later chapter…