My husband gets up around 4 a.m. to go lobstering on days that the weather allows. By 5 o’clock, he’s down at the boat and headed out of the cove, well before I’m getting out of bed and getting the kids ready for school.

Once the kids are off, I head to work myself. I don’t worry about my husband constantly, but I do so sporadically throughout the day. A long time ago he told me that I didn’t need to worry about him on the bad weather days, it was the good days that I should think about him more, because those are the days that he might not notice things that are out of place; that he’s comfortable on the boat, not complacent, but secure.

“It must be so nice to be a lobsterman,” people say on beautiful summer days, “How lucky are you to work on the water! How lucky are you to have lobster any time you want it!?”

These comments come from a place of good intentions but are sometimes undignified and humbling. Like when someone visits and asks, “Can I go lobstering with you today? I want an authentic experience!” Again, from a good place, but a place without regard to the listener’s perspective: the fisherman who doesn’t always feel like hauling traps or leaving home for another day (or more) at sea. A fishing vessel is their office and the ocean though beautiful, is unpredictable and unforgiving.

As we approach colder months, freezing days, and driving snow there are many Maine lobstermen heading even further offshore to harvest Maine’s most iconic food. These are the days that people grimace rather than brighten when I mention what my husband does for work.

“When it’s cold and snowing?”


Yup, when it’s cold and snowing.

While visitors, tourists, and people less familiar with the lobster industry gaze at the water and romanticize about the life of a lobsterman, there’s a wife at home worrying about her husband, or a son or daughter missing their parent at a baseball game.

No matter the time of year, though, at the end of the day I will get a text message declaring, “heading to the cove” or “headed for home,” and I immediately feel myself relax a bit.

And then the next day, he will wake up at 4 a.m. to do it all over again.

Meetinghouse is a community storytelling project hosted by the Maine Sunday Telegram.

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