Posts Tagged With: lobster

Lobster Tales

I was exposed to lobster tales when I was knee-high to a grasshopper.

I guess Dad’s loyalty to the industry came from his days of patrolling the Northumberland Straits during World War II.  He and his buddies, when on break, would often be invited to visit lighthouses where a feast of lobster would be served.  Some of the lighthouse operators had daughters, and, Dad would explain to me that pilots in those days were considered a pretty good catch themselves.  I guess Dad was no exception.  (He only had eyes for my beautiful mother at that time and so the lighthouse “Dads” were out of luck before they even knew it!)

In any case – it was here where Dad learned the fine art of cracking and consuming lobster.

There was no part of the lobster spared when Dad was through – other than the eyes and the shell.  Even the legs and the material already digested by the lobster itself was “succulent”, as Dad would describe it.

I remember Dad recounting a story about how he and Mom went to dine with their friends Floyd and Francis in Dundas one time.  On the “all -you – can – eat” menu was lobster.  I guess it wasn’t really all you can eat as Dad’s feast was halted after 13 lobsters.

And it wasn’t just the fact that he ate the pre-digested green stuff that had people stunned, it was that he was given everyone else’s carcus with pre-digested material too.  So – imagine at the end of the feast there would be over 20 lobsters waiting for Dad to “enjoy”.

Lobster – which is why Red Lobster was our dining choice after Dad’s inurnment – has been an important meal to the Duff family.  It would be served to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and the arrival of special guests. Of course, accompanying the lobster would be Dad’s home-made wine – the body-builder.

Dad always said the best part of the lobster is the tail – but I’ve always liked the lobster “tales” better.  Grin.


Categories: Duff History, Life After Dad, Life's Lessons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Red Lobster: A “Vital” Dining Experience

I danced with Martin yesterday to Anne Murray’s Snowbird… played on my nephew’s iphone… in Red Lobster.

The waitress said, this is one of the nicest celebrations I’ve ever seen… with a tear in her eye.

David, our host, towered above the eclectic crew of 14 who had gathered in the restaurant’s back room to honour life.  Nay a tear was shed there – it just could not happen.  There was too much to be thankful for.

We were all eating food that we knew Mom and Dad – Bill and Paula – Nanna and Poppa – Grandma and Grandpa liked.  It was as though eat mouthful tasted better than anything I had ever tasted in my life.  It had to.  The food represented Mom and Dad’s lives: succulent, flavourful, rich, well-done, elegant, timely, well seasoned.  I could go on.  Suffice it to say – the meal nourished our souls.

How can one capture the essence of what had just happened only an hour previous to these dining and dancing delights?

Food has always been a big part of our lives.  Growing up, my brother would always ask for the same thing from Mom for his birthday dinner:  escargots, fondue, pineapple delight, and garlic bread.  The escargots at Red Lobster were almost too much to take.  I must confess they almost brought a tear to my eye – our connection to food appears to be one of the last “senses” to go – if that makes sense?  Jamie, Martin and I had to order lobster (not grilled, but steamed) for Dad, and scallops for Mom (count how many are on the plate!).  Fantastic.  Megan ordered the coconut shrimp that Mom had always ordered when she and Megan and she and I and my kids ate at Red Lobster.  Fantastic.  Again – the shrimp almost brought a tear.  I could go on.

Food is memories.  And every memory associated with food is happy.  Who wouldn’t be happy eating Mom’s roast beef and Yorkshire Pudding?  Well, again, to be honest – we were not all such big fans of the Yorkshire Pudding, but were all too ashamed to not eat these works of art so carefully and lovingly prepared for dinner by Mom.  She had a special pan that still sits almost religiously in the pantry – untouched since the last time “she” used it.  “No soap on that pan!”, she would insist.  The soap would affected the taste of the puddings.

Food is comforting.  All 14 of us walked into Red Lobster yesterday not knowing how to feel.  We were slightly lost and although we knew each other very well – we were all slightly uncomfortable with the newness of this unlikely new family we had formed.  Here we were – how had it come that we all were gathered together?  We all sat – our new family – to enjoy a meal together.  How Mom would have celebrated.

And then there was the wine.  I could go on.

Yesterday’s meal brought a group of people together who represented all ages in life, all walks in life, all sizes, shapes, and colours… as a family.  It had been a “vital” dining experience for all of us.

Dad:  You done good kid!

Mom:  Wonderful.  I just love those coconut shrimp, but I can make escargots better!

Stacey:  It was sure nice that you could join us yesterday, Mom and Dad.

Jamie (to the other 13):  On behalf of Mom and Dad, I’d like to thank-you for helping us to celebrating the lives of Bill and Paula Duff.

All:  TTFN

Categories: Duff History, Family and Friends, Life After Dad, Life's Lessons | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Lobster Air


When Dad told me this story – just a few months before he passed away – I was shocked.  Of all the stories I had heard growing up, this one had been kept a secret.  Maybe it wasn’t a secret but it had certainly slipped into the back files of his mind.  Dad didn’t really think this was a story at all and “It isn’t really worth repeating.”, he said.   Writing the update to the story, I did some research about the Straits and lobster there – found an article from the Toronto Star which puts another layer to the story about lobsters.  Kind of interesting read for those of you who are lobster fans!  (–new-brunswick-lobster-fishermen-fight-for-higher-prices)

“Oh, my goodness, Dad.  This is funny!”  I replied.  I must confess that I didn’t understand a few aspects of the story since I didn’t really put the story into the context of World War II and the fact that fishermen didn’t have access to much needed fuel.  After a few questions and a bit of research, however, this is the story that emerged.  Enjoy!

Lobster Air (in Dad’s words)

Yes – lobster can fly – at least they did in Prince Edward Island during World War II!   Truthfully, the crustaceans were assisted with their flight and it wasn’t that the pilots were particularly welcoming of their aerial hitch-hike either.

We, members of the RCAF Squadron, were on patrol in the Northumberland Straits watching for German Submarines.  The Straits are located between Prince Edward Island and the “Mainland” – mainly New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.  Today, the Confederation Bridge New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island makes the trek between the two locations a little easier.  But, during World War II, the only way to “access” the area was by plane and air surveillance.  Although there had never been sightings in the Straits,  Germans had surfaced and were even so bold as to buy fish in Montreal.  I never did confirm that was the truth, but the rumor was pretty exciting.  Our mission was to criss-cross the Straits to watch for “enemy” subs.  (Funny how some of my best friends today are German.  Was sure is a strange thing!)

The Straits were well known for lobster.  Since my favorite meal was lobster I felt I was not only defending my country, but also my palate!  During lobster season, the fishermen were out in full force – not like today – but still there was many of them.  Since fuel was rationed during the war, the fishermen had to use sailboats to fish.

Some of the pilots – to conduct their patrol- would fly close above the water.  This would make a “slip-stream” behind the aircraft.  This slip-stream would unintentionally (or not) cause the  lobster farmers’ sailboats to tip over.

Oh boy, the fishermen became quite upset but it seemed there was little they could do.. until they figured out how they could retaliate.  When the low-flying pilots flew too low, the fishermen threw lobster up at the aircraft.  Some of the lobsters would become lodged in the wings.  This wasn’t really too much of a problem.  The fishermen felt they had had their “say” and the pilots were still able to fly without hazard.

The funny part of the story happened, though, when the pilots arrived back at base when the pilots took their planes to the maintenance crew for inspection.  The crew were quite surprised to find lobster stuck in the aircraft.  I guess for a while they figured the lobster jumped out of the water.  No one could figure out how the lobsters managed to hitch a ride.

Finally, the story emerged.  The low-flying pilots and their craft had unintentionally become, “Lobster Air”.  I guess we may have been the first to ship lobster into PEI!

Categories: Duff History, Life After Dad, Life's Lessons, World War II | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

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