Good Luck, Reggie

 One of the perks that comes with living in Maine is this
and these

Since no one else in the family really likes to eat lobster, Joe and I planned to have a special dinner together. We waited all week for ‘Lobstah’ night!

As is usually the case when we have lobster, the kids crowd around the sink and touch the lobsters’ hard shells, they pick them up and bestow them with love and kisses. They eventually name them.

Last night’s lobsters were dubbed Bob and Reggie. You can tell them apart by their rubber bands. Reggie is the dapper looking lobster in the background wearing mismatched rubber bands on his claws.

A few years ago Grandma, who loves lobster like a junkie loves a rock of crack, was visiting and bought Joe his very own lobster. He lovingly guarded the pile of crustaceans that crawled around in the sink waiting for immenent death. He made friends with one particular lobster and named him “Angel”.
My mother and I walked into the kitchen to find him lovingly stroking Angel’s shell and saying, “Don’t worry my Angel…it’s okay.” His hushed voice and far away gaze oddly resembled a scene from Silence of the Lambs.
Perhaps I was overeacting a bit, but I momentarily envisioned future-Joe and Buffalo Bill dancing before his mirror came to mind. “Shhhh…Don’t worry my Angel….”
A half an hour later, Joe ate Angel. With a horrifying lack of empathy, he watched Grandma, a/k/a Lobster Killer, plunge his Angel head first into the pot of boiling water. I chalked his indifference up to normal 4-year-old cluelessness, crossed my fingers that he wasn’t a sociopath and hoped for the best.
Fast forward a couple of years and thankfully, his preschool preoccupation with death and understanding of where food comes from have evolved slightly.
Last night he formed a bond with Reggie. I surmise that when I snapped this shot, he was beginning to question his ability to eat his new friend. Notice the semi-crazed look in his eyes. He’s forcing a smile. He’s not happy that ol’ Reg is about to be boiled, but hasn’t said anything yet.
Bob was already in the hotseat when Joe began questioning how much longer until Reggie was going to be cooked. The timer began beeping and Bob, who was wearing a lovely new shade of red, was placed on a platter.
Okay Joe, it’s Reggie’s turn…  Joe? Are you crying?
head nod
What’s wrong, buddy? Are you upset about cooking Reggie?
gulp. head nod. I don’t think I can.
If nothing else, I understand how difficult it is to eat your own pet. (click here to find out exactly why I am so ‘disturbed’.)

 Would you like to drive Reggie back to the ocean and set him free?


Get your coat! Hey, Daddy!!! We have to go for a while…we’re driving Reggie back to the ocean!

We put Reggie back in his white grocery bag and hurried to the car. Joe brought his plate of broccoli, refusing the chicken that everyone else was eating.

Mind you, the ocean is exactly 8.2 miles from our house, otherwise I might have told Joe to suck it up and eat the damn $12 lobster. We rushed to the beach with Reggie on Joe’s lap. We weren’t allowed to speak above a whisper or play the radio because “it might disturb Reggie. He’s not used to our kind of noise.”

We pulled into a surprisingly full parking lot at the beach for 7:00 p.m. on a Saturday in March. Then I remembered that it was the night of the Super Moon. Great. We would have an audience for our lobster release.

Like a man on a mission, Joe walked quickly and carefully, holding Reggie’s white paper bag before him. We pondered the best method of release and it was decided that we should “carefully throw” Reggie as far as we could so that the waves wouldn’t carry him back to the beach.

At the water’s edge, we opened the sack and poured a very limp Reggie onto the sand. I quickly removed his mismatched rubber bands, but Reggie didn’t make any move to pinch me. I dunked him into the water, hoping to revive him a bit and saw some slight movement.

Good luck, Reggie!

As gently as I could manage, I tossed Reggie into the Atlantic ocean. He was pretty floppy, but I didn’t say so. I just turned and looked at Joe who smiled then ran and threw his arms around me.

You did it Joe! You saved Reggie.

No. We did it, Mom.

Freezing, we ran back up the beach to the warmth of the car and hopped in. Joe laughed about the sand in his shoes and marveled at the boarded up snack shack as we pulled out of the parking lot.

You know…I bet Bob was a real jerk to the other lobsters. That’s why it was okay to cook him.

Hmm…Hey, when we get home do you want to eat some of the chicken I cooked?

No thanks, I’ll just have some chicken nuggets… I can’t tell what kind of animal those come from. I’ve decided that I want to be a vegeterarianan.

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  1. This is hilarious! Kids can be so sweet and innocent!
    I know what you mean about having your pets for "dinner". I grew up on a farm, I remember the name of one particular cow…"Roast Beef"
    My mom named him…there was no hope for kids like us=)

  2. That's funny… My kids think their food comes from the replicator.

  3. Aw…Crystal, I think our parents must be related. Emil was pronounced 'a meal'. Sickos.

  4. Slidecutter says:

    Funny and oh so sweet post. Gotta love Joe, the child has such a big heart.

    My spouse had a pet Chicken growing up named "Anthony"…(like what did you expect a chicken from an Italian family to be named?). He hand-fed that creature and the bird followed him everywhere.

    Use your imagination for the rest, combine it with Broccoli Rape, Roasted Potatoes, and a Tomato Salad….

    "Reggie" got off lucky compared to "Anthony"…

  5. Yeah, I definitely couldn't name my food and then eat it! I would feel too guilty.
    I am stopping by from Comment Love Day. Happy Sunday! 🙂

  6. What a horrible thing to have to do. Name your food and then eat it. Your son is so cute and you are a great parent, to take the time out, and let him take it to the ocean. What patience you must have wtih your children. You are what a ton of children need. Thanks so much for posting about this. I am a new folower and came by way of Commet Love Day. Have a Blessed Sunday.

  7. Oh I did the same thing to my dad when I was little! We were on a harbor tour in Portland, ME and they were serving lobster. My dad ordered the last one and I was horrified and cried and freaked out until he agreed to throw it back overboard. We named him Free Willy and even the captain came down to bid Willy farewell before we threw him back into the sea. Kids are so funny, huh?

    By the way, as you can tell, since that was about 20 years ago, you made a big difference to Joe. I bet he never forgets it. I never have. Well done, Mom!

  8. Rancher Mom says:

    Aww he is sooo cute! This is actually the reason I spent 3 years as a "vegeterarianan". (Bacon quickly ended all that though.)

    My kids were wary about their meats when we first moved to the ranch and started living off the land. I noticed that this was no longer a problem one night at dinner – We were eating Afghani kebabs and na'an, and my oldest step-daughter said "Man, Lola tastes way better than I thought she would." All the other kids nodded and yum-yum'ed in agreement.

    Yes, they may have watched her being delivered, they bottle-fed her, loved on her and watched her grow and have a goat baby of her own. But when it came time to eat her, they all had to agree that she was pretty darn good on a stick with some bread. :p

  9. Katie @ Chicken Noodle Gravy says:

    Ha! What a great little guy Joe is.

    Reggie the Lobster = $12
    The Gas it Took to Drive to the Beach = $Getting higher every dang minute.
    The Look on Joe's Face When You Saved Reggie = Priceless (I'm guessing :))

  10. Aww so sweet!

  11. Pennington says:

    I loved your story! Kids can say and do the sweetest things! I didn't click on your past story yet but judging by the picture I think I know where it's headed…so I will share my own. I guess I was around 5 or 6 when my uncle decided the "men" were going hunting for the Thanksgiving turkey one year. We watched them come down from the woods with this hudge bird in awe. We helped them pluck the feathers and even watched as my aunt got it ready to cook. I then about died when I actually realized they expected me to eat that! I still can't ear turkey!

  12. Great story!! I'm with Joe. I could never eat something if it had a name. Then again, I could never cook something I had to kill first. I prefer to have the animal-ness completely removed from my meat and have it vacuum-sealed before I lay my hands on it…Go Joe!

  13. That's a pretty cool story. I hope Reggie does make it, despite all evidence that the contrary might actually be true. You must so proud of Joe and so thrilled to find out he's not a sociopath! P.S. How did Bob taste?

  14. The Coexist Cafe says:

    … I'm probably the only person on earth who finds bacon repulsive. And therefore, I remain veget(er)arian(an). 😉

    This is SUCH a sweet story, though! What a wonderful child you have there, Kelli. 😀 I can't get over this, and hope that my own (future, distant, let's-not-think-about-that-yet) children are even half as empathetic.

    No thanks, I'll just have some chicken nuggets… I can't tell what kind of animal those come from. I've decided that I want to be a vegeterarianan.

    Okay, I totally died as I read this, as 1. he's SO RIGHT about the chicken nuggets thing (seriously, have you seen what those things are made of? Ugh ugh ugh), and 2. vegeterarianan, this kid kills me. Totally calling myself that from now on. 😉

  15. This is such a sweet post…so touching.
    I grew up in Maine and have been gone long enough that I would have thrown that lobster in the boiling water and had no regard for any sadness in the room. 😉
    And those clams? That picture is just cruel. Those are my favorite.

    Did I mention that this post is so sweet? 😉

  16. zach&katies crazymom says:

    joe is so great! what a big heart he has, must be he learned to love from a great mom and dad! it is amazing when our children come out with such deep emotions about things we take for granted as adults. they are just learning about where their food comes from and how all this meal prep happens and all of a sudden…their favorite food is not so appealing. my kids are very good eaters and have always tried everything, not picky at all, but when my son finds out how something is made or where it came from(and it grosses him out) he freaks. katie is not like that though, she just says, hmmm, i'll try it once but don't watch me!(like the 1st time she ate squid) she is funny!!!
    i love how you took joe to the beach and nurtured his sense of empathy and his bond for 'reggie'. i just love how you are so aware of the impact these events will have on your kids now and in the future-mom of the century for sure!!!

  17. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! How wonderful, sweet, and totally awesome of a MOM you are!
    What a sweetheart boy you have!
    I'm a new follower (because you were a featured blog I wanted to check out).
    Amy's Life @

  18. Mommy used to be so pretty... says:

    Oh, just awesome.

    I eat meat, but I have to admit, I was rooting for Reggie.

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