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Lobster enthusiast realizes dream to catch one

By RICK KOSTERJuly 1, 2019

NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) — Over her 93 years — and counting — Bunny Mishkin has eaten countless lobsters. It’s her favorite food.

She finally decided it was time to catch one.

As part of the “Living the Dream” program at Solstice Senior Independent Living in Groton, where residents get to realize long-held wishes, Mishkin went to sea Saturday in the waters off Stonington aboard the working fishing boat Restless belonging to Eddie and Lisa Emery. With Mishkin’s son and daughter, Mitchell and Bonnie Mishkin, and two young cousins along, the boat set off on a sultry afternoon that turned much more refreshing over open water.

It wasn’t long before Emery pointed out a trap and asked Mishkin if she felt like that might be the lucky one. She nodded and, moments later, Eddie Emery pulled a significantly large 7 1/2-pound crustacean to the surface, which caused the guest of honor to giggle with pleasure.

“Oh, that’s a nice one. Look it that! We’re gonna have a ball with that one,” she said.

Did that mean she planned to eat it?

“Are you kidding? Yes!” Mishkin said. She explained that, her entire adult life, whenever it was her birthday, she instructed friends and family she didn’t want presents. “I told them I just wanted a lobster dinner and a few hours to take my time while I ate it,” she said.

Was she planning on sharing her dinner?

“You’ve never seen her with a lobster!” Bonnie Mishkin said.

Solstice Vibrant Life coordinator Kelly Gentile and executive director Charlene Wisdom, who arranged the outing, confirmed that the creature would be steamed and served with drawn butter and corn.

“It’s just really rewarding to get to do events like this for our residents,” Gentile said. “Happiness is always important, and it was fun when we learned Bunny wanted to catch a lobster.”

Gentile was able to contact Emery, 41, through a mutual friend on Facebook, and the third-generation fisherman said he was more than happy to help out. “It was our pleasure,” Emery said. “When you’re part of a little community like Stonington — and the fishermen are part of it — we’re grateful to the members of the community who eat seafood and keep us going. So it’s a good way to pay back.”

He laughed. “I know or have known a lot of 90-year-old lobstermen, but I don’t remember someone that was 93 and just getting started.”

He and Lisa — and their two shipboard hounds — were able to “arrange” a sizable catch in a nearby trap earlier in the day, about the same time Mishkin arrived in the Solstice lobby — wearing an official Restless shirt with her name on it — a gift from the Emerys — ready to board a transport van to the docks.

Waiting for her ride, the lively and hilarious Mishkin, who works three days a week as a waiting room volunteer at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, shared a steady stream of funny anecdotes and jokes. At one point, she explained that she’s the third well-known Bunny after Easter and Playboy.

“I don’t consider myself old,” she said. “Age never dawned on me. The other day, though, I was at L+M and it did occur to me that most of the doctors and nurses were my grandchildren’s ages. But that’s OK. If I open my eyes in the morning, that’s a beautiful thing. It means I’m still here — and that means I’m happy.”

After the catch was safely placed in a cooler on Restless, Emery confirmed Mishkin was up for a bit of a cruise — out to the lighthouse near Fisher’s Island — and she sat happily, taking in the sights and enjoying conversation with her boatmates.

“I like having the wind blow through my hair,” she said.

As Emery at last turned Restless back toward shore, he nodded toward Mishkin and said, “You know, I don’t think you’ve stopped smiling since you got on board.”

“I was just thinking that,” she laughed. “My mouth hurts from smiling. Not so much that I can’t eat, though.”

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Information from: The Day, http://www.theday.com

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