Memoirs, Or Shadows Of What Has Been
By Peter Landry

Chapter Fifty-One: Lobsters & Cherry Pits, 2000


So, into a new millennium we go, as we did into space: in a big way. It was later in 2000 that the International Space Station (ISS) was occupied. The ISS had been building, piece by piece, so to maintain men in space. Since then to the time I write this piece, 2019, man has had a continuous place in orbit, I imagine that this will continue - if not in such a station, then, in time on the orbiting moon. Because of the vast distances, man as man, will never reach beyond our planetary system.

The world wide events of 2000 that I recall: during April, in a predawn raid, federal agents seized a 6-year-old from his relatives' home in Miami. His Cuban father wanted him back to be with him in Cuba and had come to Washington to request the authorities to assist him, and, as we have seen, they did. By the end of June the young boy made a return to Cuba with his father.

That July, an Air France passenger jet, Flight 4590, crashed just after takeoff from Paris killing all passengers and crew (109) and others on the ground (4). That planes crash killing people, is not so much news to be recalled, as aircraft do crash to the ground with disturbing regularity. The plane was a British-French turbojet-powered supersonic passenger airliner operated from 1976 to 2003: "The Concorde." According to Wikipedia: "The aircraft was used mainly by wealthy passengers who could afford to pay a high price in exchange for the aircraft's speed and luxury service. For example, in 1997, the round-trip ticket price from New York to London was $7,995 ... more than 30 times the cost of the cheapest option to fly this route." The downside of the Concorde is that there was a constant sonic boom along the ground in its flight path. (We used to hear them at the cottage for a few years, as the air above Nova Scotia was one of its paths.) Between the sonic boom disturbance and the high cost of maintenance (in spite of the high ticket prices) brought the operation of the supersonic passenger airliner, to an end.

As for the deaths of famous persons in 2000, at least of those that I remember, were: Charles M. Schulz (b. 1922), the originator of the comic strip, "Peanuts"; Walter Matthau, the American actor (b. 1920); Alec Guinness, the British actor (b. 1914); Julie London, the American singer and actress (b. 1926); Victor Borge, Danish-born comedian (b. 1909); and, Pierre Trudeau (b. 1919), 15th Prime Minister of Canada, much loved and much despised (I was among the later group).


We start off our picture selection with what has become a tradition for Margo and I: lobsters on New Year's Eve. Rarely have we, through the years, gone out to join the bothersome crowds that collect up at various places on New Year's Eve; we prefer just the company of the two of us. We do invite over some new found friends and put them in a hot Jacuzzi - Well, actually a couple of live, preferably "lively," lobsters, after which we eat them. On the morning of New Year's Eve we travel along the sea coast of Nova Scotia to go to our favorite place that sells lobsters. We pick them out and get the server to pick a couple of 3 to 4 pounders (these are the big ones, the costly ones). They must be presented to us; they must be feisty with claws extended, ready to do battle. These we bring home, and that evening bring out our large pot, fill it with salted water (sea water is great, but putting a couple of teaspoons of regular salt will work). Bring the water to a rolling boil; then, plunge one of the protesting lobsters (one at a time for the larger ones) head first into the pot (remember to take the rubber bands off the claws beforehand). It should not take (even for the larger sizes) much more that 20 minutes. Then, fish the lobsters out (which have turned from sea-green to a brilliant red), lay them on a grate spanning the top of the sink (the grate in a typical oven will do); thus to drain and cool these delicious sea-creatures off for another 20 minutes, or so. Then sit down at the table and eat the beasts. We have at the table (covered with a layer of news paper and a large plastic bag cut down the sides under the paper): melted butter in a bowl, lobster tools, finger bowls and lots of paper towels - all at the ready. One can tear a lobster apart pretty much with their bare hands; we use our lobster tools (proper shears and a couple of picks) only to get at the claws and their knuckles. The tails, where most of the meat is, is easily dealt with: tear the tail off from the body, then hold the shelled tail, under side up, between both thumb palms, then squeeze; you will hear the back part of the shells crack. Then take the tail fins off and push with your thumb and the meat of the tail will slid out, ready for eating (do, however, remove the back vein leading along the tail meat). As for the body: some people throw the body away: I do not as the there is little lumps of sweet meat (especially on the larger lobsters) just where the several crawling claws join the body (as for these crawling claws, its probably not worth the trouble of getting at what little meat that is contained therein). Incidentally, we usually buy an extra lobster and "de-meat" it next day for the freezer; and thus, in the future, to be the main ingredient for Margo's wonderful lobster Linguine.

Our time at our cottage continued (every weekend and a couple of weeks throughout the summer). Just to be in the wild on a lake is enough, but the cottage has proven to be a great attraction for the family as you will see from the pictures. There is, of course, some duties to attend to, which in time we may expand on, such as: getting the water in, in the spring and disconnecting the pump & draining the system in the fall.

As for the top songs of the year (a regular feature in these memoirs) I have to say that there seemed to be quite a change in music beginning in 2000: a change, I did not much like. This music is all funky to me: rap, or punk, I am plainly not into. One was sort of catchy "Who Let The Dogs Out" by the Baha Men. Overall, there was one song I remember, and like - Breathless by The Corrs.

As for the top movies of 2000: there were quite a number which qualify, for, "I Like":
Gladiator Gladiator won two Academy Awards: Best Film, Best Actor (Russell Crowe).
Then there was Cast Away. One can not go too wrong with any movie starring Tom Hanks.
Another, What Women Want.
Another, The Perfect Storm.
Another, Traffic. Traffic won three Academy Awards: Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Benicio del Toro) and Adapted Best Screenplay.
Another, Erin Brockovich. Somehow I am not a fan of Julia Roberts, but her performance in Erin Brockovich brought her an Academy Awards for Best Actress.
And finally, Almost Famous. This was another Academy Award winner for Best Original Screenplay.

Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto no.2 (38min): this features the pianist Anna Borysivna Fedorova (b.1990), a Ukrainian concert pianist.

[Pictures, 2000 (1) (New Year)]
[Pictures, 2000 (2) (I - Cottage)]
[Pictures, 2000 (3) (II - Cottage)]
[Pictures, 2000 (4) (Ceramics & Xmas)]

NEXT: [Chapter 52: Goodbye Admiralty Place; Hello Waterford Suites, 2001]


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Peter Landry