WP DAILY PROMPT: BRIEF ENCOUNTER WITH A STRANGER
HOW DO YOU DETERMINE THE SEX OF A CLAM?
The WordPress daily prompt for April 20th was Have you ever had a random encounter or fleeting moment with a stranger that stuck with you?
Most certainly, I have. Many of them. I call them brief encounters.
The ice storm of January 1998 affected 17 million acres of forestland in northern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, including parts of the Green Mountain National Forest and the White Mountain National Forest. Portions of eastern Canada were also impacted. The weight of accumulated ice caused trees to snap off or bend over to the ground. Large branches broke within crowns and debris littered the landscape.
On January 1, 1998, my husband was on the telephone making airline reservations a flight from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Bangor, Maine. My mother, Nancy Briskay Cornell Lipsius, was in the hospital seriously ill, and he was arranging for me to be there with her. I was to fly on January 2.
After arriving early in the evening I talked with her briefly, expecting to spend some time with her on January 3rd. Unfortunately, she unexpectedly passed on before I left my room for breakfast.
Several family members who were also at the hospital drove to Presque Isle, her retirement location. While there a severe ice storm hit the northeast. I couldn’t delay leaving, so another family member drove me to the airport. I recall sitting in the back seat of a sports car, terrified, as we headed back to Bangor.
In the airport I went to the coffee machine. Another woman was also getting coffee. I asked her if she wanted to join me, and so she did.
During a pleasant conversation I asked her about her work. She (I’ll call her Meriah) was a medical researcher who traveled between Rhode Island and Maine to do research on cancer in female clams.
I’ve worked in medical research. My subjects were the typical: white mice. I knew how difficult it was to determine the sex of these creatures, so I asked the obvious question: (more…)