My father and I have a thing. It's called lobster.
Now, before you jump to any conclusions, let me elaborate by telling you that lobster is more than a sea creature, a food dish, or even a memory. If you asked my father he'd tell you it's my thing- 'Jenna loves lobsters'. And, while I may have taken the image of a lobster and made it something special to myself it is undoubtedly a direct result of the special relationship my father and I have forged from the early days of my childhood. You see my personal celebration of lobster goes back to a single event, at age 5, but has continued through the creation of countless memories with my dad ever since.
Through the past few years my family has faced some trying times. It also happened that, during these trials, my father met and began dating a woman very special to him. After having my father to myself for over a decade, this daddy's girl had a bit of adjusting to do. I'll admit, I was a bit sad to see him lean on another for support, but equally happy for him to embrace someone who felt he was just as special as I do. While things have settled down in our family, we haven't been able to carry on one of our most treasured traditions quite as often as I'd like. So, for so very many reasons, I used one of our favorite restaurants, Red Lobster, and it's Lobsterfest® event as an excuse to steal a little time with my father.
We're not celebrities. We're not related to anyone at the chain, or restaurant location. We don't go in every week and order the same thing. (Though there are a few special events, such as Lobsterfest®, we can be counted on to stop in for.) But year after year we visit to celebrate special occasions, or even long over-due father-daughter dates, and the staff continually makes us feel ever so valued and special.
My father insisted we order the Seafood Stuffed Mushrooms as an appetizer, while I knew we had to try the New Chilled Shrimp and Lobster Cocktail. Shrimp cocktail is one of our favorite dishes, and this new lobster twist promised to be a real treat with the addition of sweet, chilled, lobster.
When I was a young girl my mother couldn't fly due to health complications so I'd visit my father's family, cross-country in New England, with my dad. It was a family tradition when we'd come into town for everyone to head on over to a local seafood hall for a grand feast- in particular an all-you-can-eat lobster feast. At the end of each brunch there would be a drawing where each participant would have a chance to have their ticket drawn for a basket of fresh live lobster to take home.
Around the age of 5-6 I drew my table's number. Then, on the next visit a year later, drew my table's number again. As you can imagine, being a New England family, this was widely celebrated both times, and well documented in family photos. That is the beginning of everything lobster for me (and my dad, even if he wont' admit it).
It's taken me 30 years and only now am I realizing that we, as humans, need to celebrate more. There are never too many excuses to enjoy a delicious meal, namely lobster, with friends or family. Lobsterworthy moments happen every day. I know my life is certainly the richer for moments such as this amazing meal with my father.
This was something that stuck out in my head so much that, as I grew up and was unable to fly back East for family visits with my father, I'd request he bring me back a 'lobster' as a memento of his trip. It didn't mean much in the beginning, really. But here, some 15 years later my father brings me back a lobster from every trip. And, it's so notorious of a request that when either of us vacation, regardless of the destination, we hunt out the 'lobster' of that region and bring back a memento as a gift. Sometimes my father gets pretty creative- he brought back a plush scorpion from Arizona once.
So, as I sat there milking the last few bites of our Lobsterfest® Bananas Foster Cheesecake, feeling a bit sad that I would soon have to hug my father and head home I also felt a bit of a warmth in my heart. As the server picked up the signed credit card statement, telling us to come back again soon I couldn't help but smile. Of course we'll be back. Lobster is kind of our thing.
Want to experience Lobsterfest® for yourself? Everyday is filled with lobsterworthy moments so choose one and head to your local Red Lobster soon, this event is for a limited time! Learn more and stay up to date with the chain on Facebook and Twitter. Do you have a #Lobsterworthy moment? Share your story on social media with the hashtag #Lobsterworthy.