Thursday, May 25, 2017

MAY 2017 - Lobstahs, and surfboards, and cars, oh my!

First Encounter Beach on Cape Cod Bay welcomes Spring visitors
May is the final wakeup call for businesses to open for the season, and one of Eastham's most popular, well-known and eagerly awaited openings is Arnold's Lobster and Clam Bar.  They combine the trifecta of beach resorts - seafood, mini-golf and ice cream, and get annual accolades and awards for each.  The big date this year is May 19th, and in honor of the revered crustacean, here is some lobster trivia for you:

A female lobster is called a hen.

A lobster that weighs about one pound is called a chicken.

A lobster with no claws is called a pistol.

A lobster's brain is the size of a grasshopper and they are sometimes referred to as "bugs of the sea".

Research suggests that lobsters keep growing forever, but scientists won't be able to tell how long they really live because traps aren't designed to catch the largest ones.  

Lobsters can regenerate lost limbs, but it will take a good five years for a one-pound lobster to grow a claw that's close to the same size of the one that was lost.

Lobsters taste with their legs and chew with their stomachs.

A lobster claw can exert pressure of up to 100 pounds per square inch.  Ouch!

Lobsters are banded because when they're crowded, they become cannibalistic.

Lobsters only turn red after they're cooked.  They're mostly green, although occasionally a rare blue one is caught.

Lobster meat is actually a healthy source or protein and omega 3 fatty acids, if you don't overdo it on the butter.

Lobsters were once so plentiful, they were served to prisoners and servants and they make excellent fertilizer.

The record holder for consuming lobsters is Sonya Thomas, who ate 44 of them in 12 minutes at a contest in Kennebunkport, Maine.

You can actually hypnotize a lobster by standing it on its head with it's tail turned inward and rubbing up and down on the carapace [upper shell] and between its eyes. Eventually, it might stand by itself, but no one really knows why you'd want to do this.  And, on that note, ALL HAIL THE MIGHTY LOBSTER!

If April was all about nature reawakening, May on Cape Cod is all about Memorial Day, the beginning of High Season.  In May, you are just as likely to be driving behind a boat as a car.  Or, if it's a car, there's a good chance there will be a surfboard or 3 bicycles dangling from it.  The Department of Transportation has been racing to finish repaving the main road after 2 years of digging it up to install water pipes for a new town water system.  Fresh, white stripes will finally replace the orange-striped barrels that residents have been dodging all Spring.    

Spring on Fort Hill in the National Seashore
Although Cape Cod is known for fogs that sometimes roll in and sheathe familiar terrain in gauzy camouflage, there's a different kind of cloud casting gloom over the usual anticipation of High Season here, and elsewhere in the country.  'Trump Slump' is the name attributed by travel industry experts to the murky fog that has rolled over the tourism industry this year.  Search engines reported a steep decline [26% according to Market Watch] in international travelers looking for flights to America immediately after his controversial order to ban refugees and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries in early 2017.   Industry experts report that the fall in travel to the U.S. is also thought to be due to political factors, which have made the country "an uncomfortable place for foreigners".  Here on Cape Cod, not only have we witnessed this unfortunate situation, but there are other factors impacting us, as well as other National Parks around the country.  Cuts to funding of the National Seashore are playing havoc with programs that guests have enjoyed for years.  And local businesses, who depend on foreign students with travel visas to help staff their restaurants, hotels and shops because of the shortage of local applicants, are finding that students are unable to obtain the necessary visas this year.  Compared to more dire world issues, this may seem like small potatoes, however, this has a very real ripple-effect on the economy.   Locals who depend on the tourism industry to support their families also support other local businesses, who support larger companies.  Considering the impact of all the funding cuts to every National Park in the country, the resulting repercussions as it travels up the chain to the top could significantly effect decisions on spending, hiring and investments.  The ripple-effect should never be underestimated for both undesirable AND desirable results.

And giving equal time to a story with Major Desirable Ripple-Effect, I'd like to tell you about Sarah Swain, the founder of The Cape Wellness Collaborative, which is funded by her Cape Cod Women's Music Festival.  A lot could be written, and indeed has already been written about this amazing woman, but here's the incredible short story:  Sarah is a very talented local musician, whose mother died at an early age from cancer.  In her honor, Sarah founded an organization on Cape Cod to help cancer patients pay for integrative therapies, which are not covered by insurance, to manage pain, nausea and anxiety, and to increase well-being during their illness.  The collaborative refers to what seems like an endless list of local practitioners for an equally impressive list of therapies to make the cancer patient's road to recovery a little less bumpy.  Approximately 1400 people are diagnosed with cancer each year on Cape Cod.  In this organization's first 18 months, it was able to distribute over $65,000 in wellness therapies to over 200 people, and they're just beginning.  Sarah's wonderful idea, with the support of an astounding network of talented and caring women musicians, created the best kind of ripples that affect whole families and beyond.     

Sarah Swain - center
For more on Sarah's personal story:  "The Big Decision"

After hearing last month that one of my photos was chosen for the cover of the Eastham Chamber of Commerce information booklet, life quickly returned to daily chores, putting pants on one leg at a time, and then totally forgetting all about it.  Until...the new copies were delivered this week and word started getting around.  I'm certainly in no danger of being stalked by paparazzi over this accomplishment, although one friend actually did ask me to autograph her copy.  Honest!  I warned her not to try to sell it on ebay, as it would be a very disappointing experience for her.  I really can't take too much credit, as the magnificent Fort Hill did all the hard work for me, but, here it is in all its glory, and can even be viewed online to read the bio and enjoy other pictures of our beautiful town!


[click the left and right arrows to turn the pages.

As my 8th Memorial Day as a Cape Cod resident looms, I recognize that it's feeling a little different from my first few here.  While I wouldn't consider myself an old-timer, yet, there is a quiet, knowingness from experience that expresses itself with more subtle anticipation.  It's a sharing of recognition with other locals of, "Here comes another one, are you ready?"  The answer to that is 'yes'.  I have my relaxation CD's in the car, ready to soothe my patience as I wait to turn left on the highway, and inch my way through clogged rotaries.  I will try to remember that parking at the back of the lot is good exercise.  Knowing how lucky I am that I don't have to leave after only a week will make room in my heart for visitors who maybe forgot to pack their manners with their swimsuits.  So, maybe I'm not that old-timer yet, but I feel that I've maybe graduated from pre-school. May these lessons please last through high season.

Let the season begin!

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