I remember, before we got married, Paul’s mother telling me that there will be some difficult times ahead for me, being married to a lobsterman. Their jobs require work that is riskier than the average 9-5 job, and the hours are long and it will just be harder than I think.
She was right.
Yesterday was proof of that.
He is gone off to work before I get up in the mornings. So after we say goodnight to each other, I don’t see my lobsterman again until around suppertime the next day. Once in a while he’ll get home earlier, but on average, he’s out there on the ocean, hauling his lobster traps, from around 6 a.m. – ish until after 3 p.m. or so. Then he slowly motors around and into the harbor, has to organize his catch, wash down his whole boat with a hose (interior), row in and every few days go down the harbor and sell his “bugs” to the retailer. That all takes time, and around 5:30 p.m. or so he rolls in here, just in time to sit down to supper.
Yesterday was no different, at least the first part. I did not see him in the morning, and all day I had no idea what he was up to. Fishing, I guessed. Which was correct, but he was having a rather perplexing day out on the water, trying to locate some traps that had mysteriously moved and he could not find them. Or rather, he found them in a spot where he did not deposit them! It was so perplexing that he missed having his lunch and never even looked at his watch all day, until it was 5:30 p.m.
He freaked out! He was still the other side of the town, around by the Swampscott/Marblehead area, and it takes him a long while to motor slowly around the neck and back to his mooring.
He tried calling me to explain about being really late but the phone was not answering.
He called twice and got very frustrated (we do not have smart phones).
Meanwhile, I am here waiting for him. I’d made a beef stew in the Instant Pot and it was on “Keep Warm” awaiting the return of the lobsterman.
5:30 came and went. Then 6 o’clock. He is NEVER home after 6:00 p.m. Never. He always makes it before then, even when he’s running late. I busied myself here and all of a sudden it was 6:30 and then 6:45 p.m. and no Paul!
I went into complete meltdown mode. I began to shake all over. I cried. I know something was terribly wrong. Finally I decided to call his buddy, Hugh B., over in Marblehead and when I did, I noticed there was no dial-tone on the phone. I checked the extensions and sure enough, one was off the button just a tad so I replaced it properly and got the dial tone. I called Hugh and told him my tale of woe and he left immediately to go over and see if his boat was there, and to try and find his truck. Within 10 minutes Hugh called back and said that Paul’s boat was there but he could not find his truck anywhere. He also said that he was pretty sure that Paul never even went out fishing all day! He was fishing out in the general vicinity and did not see Paul all day.
Now I was in full panic mode. What to do? Hugh said it’s probably nothing and for me to just sit tight and wait.
My whole life was flashing before my eyes. How was I going to handle this? When do I call the police? I was still talking/crying on the phone with Hugh at around 6:50 p.m. when I heard Paul’s truck come into the driveway, and I hung up with Hugh, sat there in stunned silence until Paul came rushing in the door where I was sitting. He was beside himself. I was in shock still.
We hugged a lot. He was almost more upset than I was (no, he couldn’t have been!), and so I asked him to get our dinner served up (the beef stew) and we could eat while he was telling me what the hell had happened!
And like I said above, he just was very busy all day and never ate his lunch and never looked at his watch! Simple as that.
Now don’t go saying we need smart phone because that ain’t gonna happen. If you know Paul, you’ll understand why.
So now here we are at almost 2 p.m. the next day and I have to start thinking about what I’ll make for supper in an hour or so. Then I’ll wait another hour or so and start listening for his truck to come into the driveway. Then I’ll welcome him home, ask him about his day, how many bugs did he catch, etc., etc. and all will be back to “normal” – whatever NORMAL is.
And this was what my mother-in-law warned me about.
Bex, a Fisherman’s Wife