Postnatal Lobster Love


by Crystal Kupper,
Crystal’s Cliffnotes
Salem Writer

My dad has worked at the same family-owned sawmill for years. The owner and his wife are some of the best people I’ve ever met. The wife especially has always been incredibly generous, her eyes constantly sweeping the room at parties and events just to see if there’s something she can do for someone.

I’ve been the recipient of this woman’s kindness many times. She has such a big heart. If she discovers that you like something, she often goes out of her way to make sure you get it.

You’d think I would know that by now.

 A few months ago, I was at an event with Nick, my parents and my dad’s boss’ wife. We chatted amiably about her upcoming trip to Maine to visit her family and how excited she was to see the New England coast again.

“I’ve always wanted to go there,” I mentioned, “and see how they catch lobster.”

She visibly brightened. “You like lobster?” she asked. When I said yes, she said she would make sure that Nick and I had a nice lobster dinner once the baby arrived.

How nice, I thought to myself. She’s going to give us a gift card to Red Lobster or something.

Think again, Crystal. And aim higher.


When Avinly was about 9 days old, I was in the shower after a run. Nick sauntered in. “A package came in the mail for you,” he announced, and lowered the box over the side of the shower door for me to see.

PERISHABLE, the box read. My first thought: ooooo, maybe it’s some fresh pineapple from Hawaii! Or chocolates from Spain!


Nick smiled very mischievously. “Can you hear them?”

Um, come again?

Suddenly, my hearing went supersonic, and I could hear something. 4 somethings.

“Your lobsters are here!” Nick chirped.

All at once, I became intensely aware of my nakedness. “As in, they’re still ALIVE?!?!” I screamed. “I don’t want lobsters anywhere near me when I’m naked! Get them out of here!”

Yes, my dad’s boss’ wife had 4 LIVE LOBSTERS next-day-aired from Portland, Maine just for me.

Terrified, I realized I would have to kill them before eating (yes, I know how absurdly stupid that sentence sounds, but hey, I’m sleep-deprived at the moment!). My maternal instincts went wild. Now, I have gutted my own fish, helped my brothers skin their elk and sent a grown 4H sheep that I raised from a lamb off to slaughter without batting an eyelash.

But back then, I wasn’t nursing!

Call the Alaskans.



When you need something killed and you don’t have the testosterone to do it yourself, it’s handy to have some Alaskan natives on speed dial (and there’s your mafia tip-of-the-day, folks.). Jason and Bekah were more than happy to help us out. And since we had FOUR lobsters, we were more than happy to pay them for loaning us their giant cooking pot — those suckers were WAY larger than anticipated — with a lobster feast.

Side story: as Bekah was pulling out lobster meat, she became puzzled over these little black balls inside one. We gradually deduced the lobster was female and those slimy things were her eggs; it’s considered a delicacy in many cultures. Of course, I would get an ovulating lobster…as if I wasn’t already hormonal enough.

But the Youngs weren’t the only helpers. Since I not only refused to dunk those puppies in boiling water but wouldn’t even go near the refrigerator where they were being stored (now THAT’S a handy diet trick), Nick started watching tutorial videos on YouTube. With Jack.

Yes, my 5-year-old has now not only helped a laboring woman, but has also killed his own lobster. Next lesson: opening a freshly-picked coconut with his own machete. Monogrammed, of course. We’re classy people.

Needless to say, the evening was memorable. Especially after my aunt informed me that lobsters “scream” while you’re cooking them. Thankfully, that turned out to be false. Although I wouldn’t know for sure, as I talked my poor neighbor’s ear off during the cooking time — completely on purpose. Sorry about that, Kevin.

So what did I learn? Nick would say I should be careful what I wish for — either that, or talk about Hawaiian vacations more frequently. But really?

I saw again how wonderful this world can be.

I remembered you can treat people, even those you don’t know very well, like royalty, just because it brings joy.

I learned the best memories are unexpected and slightly ridiculous.

I experienced a baby celebration like no other.

I remembered that Jesus, too, likes to give good gifts, just because that’s his nature.

I learned that blessings come in strange packages…with “perishable” marked on the side.


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