Lobster Capital of the World (and Gift Cards 7-10)

Trip Start Aug 21, 2010
Trip End Dec 31, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Maine
Saturday, November 20, 2010

Our work week was not complete on Friday. No, we had a Saturday evening show at a church in Rockland, Maine. We weren't disappointed to see that on the schedule. The work week hadn't been that strenuous anyway, and Rockland was right on the coast.

As we drove toward Rockland in late morning on Saturday, we tried to make plans for the remainder of the afternoon before the show. We had a "Coastal Maine" tourist book that my grandmother provided. Reading it, we learned that Rockland was the Lobster Capital of the World! Well what a coincidence. We had yet to eat lobster in Maine this week. And this seemed like the place to do it! We soon realized, however, that much of coastal Maine is tourist-driven, and many restaurants are simply closed in November. Hm. We would have hated getting into Rockland around 1:00 or 1:30, and finding all the good restaurants closed while our stomachs began to eat themselves.
Not wanting to run that risk, we made the quick decision to pull over to a restaurant in Wiscasset. From the outside, it looked cute. "Taste of Maine." It appeared pretty touristy, yet legitimate.  More importantly, they were open. We decided to forego the Rockland lobsters, specifically, knowing that this place probably got their lobsters from Rockland anyway. 

When we walked inside, it was as we hoped our first lobster restaurant would be. The place was heavily decorated with Maine paraphrenalia, memorabilia, and every other kind of -lia's you could think of.

With the help of our server, we decided to order the lazy-man lobster--served already out of the shell. We knew that part of the experience would be cracking the crustacean open ourselves... but... paying 40 dollars for lunch, I really wanted to get the most food possible. Ignorantly picking at an animal as it looked back at me just didn't seem the best way to do that. So we let the experts do the dirty work.

Our post-lobster-lunch conclusion? In our opinions, the tail is not so awesome. Kinda strange consistency, and not loaded with flavor. The claw meat was better consistency, and actually pretty good. But there wasn't enough of it. All things considered, we didn't love it. Lobster is supposed to be this elite delicacy, but we weren't really catching that vibe. We would probably have the meat as part of a larger dish, like lobster cakes or rolls, but on its own, lobster wasn't worth it to us. And we were very glad we didn't have to do the dirty work ourselves, or else we may not have eaten anything.

You know, lobsters were originally given by the rich people to the poor people and servants of colonial Maine. Why? Because lobsters were crawling everywhere in the harbors. They were practically pests. And frankly, if you haven't noticed, they're ugly. Who'd want to eat that? So they said "Have the poor people eat them!"

Well, the upper class apparently realized they were missing something. And now they charge 25 dollars a pound. And the poor people can't have lobster any more.

It's okay. We prefer chicken. But hey--we can cross "Eat lobster in Maine" off our list.

Kelsey consulted our Coastal Maine book again and found that the Breakwater Lighthouse was near the church in Rockland. So, we navigated there and were a little underwhelmed. Okay, we kinda pictured the tall, striped, tower-like lighthouses. Those aren't mythological, they exist, but Breakwater is not one of them. It was a lighthouse, with emphasis on the "house", out on a long stone "breakwater." This barrier is pretty impressive. Huge chunks of solid granite were placed at the mouth of the harbor to form a 7/8-mile-long wall. It took about 9 years to build, completed in 1899, and has been protecting the harbor from buffeting surf ever since.

Kelsey and I began to walk out toward the lighthouse, but we soon reasoned that it would be much more enjoyable, say, in July. It was cold and windy, and it made 7/8 mile look like an eternity. We wimped out and turned back about halfway. But while we were there, we took a few pictures, which are included.

But for now, we could cross "See a lighthouse" off our Maine to-do list, too.

After warming up with some Dunkin Donuts, we arrived at Grace Bible Fellowship for work. A couple guys on staff helped us set up, and we were ready in no time. The event was planned to be for Grace's church family and fellow area church members in attempts to unify the traditionally independant churches in Rockland. The pastor explained that though it's been a little better lately, the spiritual culture in Maine is very difficult. Most people feel too self-sufficient to want to go to church. And those who do attend church do so very infrequently. Pastor Mike at Grace hopes to bring churches together so that they can be a more powerful light in the community.

I wish I could say the evening was a obviously abundant success, but unfortunately I cannot. Sadly, not a single person showed up for the show. The only people in the room besides Kelsey and I were the pastor, his wife and niece, and three staff members who helped set up in the first place.

Pastor Mike expressed his apologies and embarrassment.

"No, please, don't be embarrassed for our sakes. Would you like to see the show?"

And so we did.

At the end, our friends gave high praise for the show. "Even better than last year!" We all wished more people would have come to see it, but we valued getting to interact with the people in the room anyway.

On a side note, I hope to have more sensitivity to church events when we're regular attenders somewhere.

We packed up, and the pastor then took us out to dinner. He was joined by his wife Becky and niece Myla. They graciously treated us to Applebee's as we talked about things trivial and substantial. Everything from the funny eating habits we all have to the various pastors they support in Cuba and Poland. When we got back to their house, it was well past our bedtime.

The next morning brought sun (the sun rises early in Maine!), and toasted English muffins for breakfast. We expressed our wishes that we could have stayed longer, as they were really a very pleasant family, but we had to move on to New Hampshire and beyond that evening.

Before we pulled away, we left a brief thank-you note along with some gift cards. Two for Applebee's to cover our dinner they so generously provided, and two for Walmart. Kelsey explained in her note that we hope these cards help free them to continue their support for those pastors they have contact with in other countries.

Sometimes that's another strategy we can take. We may not have the networks, resources and opportunity to directly help another ministry. But we can bless and provide for those who do.

Thank you Mike, Becky, and Myla for being such wonderful hosts. May God continue to bless your work in Rockland, and increase your ministry abroad.
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