One of the very best things about working on the book, The Lobstering Life, was meeting the wonderful characters who make a living pulling “bugs”from the sea. One of the hardest things is wondering about those guys and gals now – wondering how is Andy Gove getting along at 83, how are Mattie and Chris out on Monhegan Island now that a new season has begun for them, wondering if Dougie Dodge finally has that boat framed up out on Beals Island, wondering if Butch in Stonington has the grandkids this weekend… These people and many more all shared their lives with us, they are much more than photographs on a page, and I hope we will have more chances to see them again over the years.
A few weeks ago when I was in Maine teaching I had the chance to catch up with two of my favorite Maine lobstermen, Capt Norm Closson and his Sternman Phil. I was driving down the road to Bass Harbor with David and we decided to pop into Gotts store. I do believe David really really really needed a chocolate chip cookie, and we wanted to leave a book at Gotts. So there we were, discussing Norm and Phil and how best to find them, and then low and behold there was Norm standing in the parking lot! More than a co-incidence. Here I was 3000 miles from home, on a random day, at a time not usually associated with lobstermen (as in late morning, not 5am), and there was Norm. It was so much fun to see him, hear about his season (record catches in Maine this year) and give him the Lobstering Life book. We had the pleasure of introducing him to our workshop group, as they probably wondered (or maybe not) why I was running across the parking lot to hug a seeming stranger in a tattered cap.
Then, our luck held out and the next week we stopped for gas, late afternoon, again at Gotts and ran into Phil at the gas pump! He’s been working on a road crew and is as jovial as ever. So I am happy to report that they are both well and if you are in Bass Harbor – or there abouts – stop into Gotts store, have a chocolate chip cookie, they are excellent, and ask them to point out Norm and Phil in the book- or in person – you are sure to get a smile.
I will try to follow up with more news about our lobstering friends this winter. I hope that they are all safe and sound, coming home with full traps on calm seas.