Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Fish Soup

I have no idea what brought this story to the front of my exhausted brain, but here it is...

When my younger brother Lucas was much younger than he is now, we lived in an "established" (read: not new or fancy or suburban) neighborhood. A nice little house with a backyard just right for make believe adventures and plastic splash pools.

Being an older house, it was hot in the summer and cold in the winter. One winter, we had goldfish. Well, we probably had goldfish over more than just one winter, but this is a story about a particular instance of having goldfish in winter, not a log of goldfish-having experiences. This particular winter, Lucas was old enough to be really mobile, and to really think about things. One of the things he spent a good deal of time pondering was the goldfish bowl and it's occupants. To be fair, we all spent at least part of the day thinking about the fish as their bowl resided on the kitchen counter.

Our regular babysitter had also given some thought to our fish. She gave us a small heater for them. It perched on the lip of the bowl, and dangled into the water. We kept it's dial set between one and three, and it kept the fish water at a nice lukewarm temperature. One night, it got really cold. The kind of cold that we just don't get down here very often. The kind of cold that grown ups talk about all day. The cold became something that a small boy was giving a lot of thought to. Something that worried him mightily. By the time night rolled around, he was worried how the cold would affect the fish. He made a plan.

He crept out of his warm, snuggly bed and padded his little footed sleeper clad way into the kitchen. He carefully pushed a chair up to the counter, and contemplated the fish. He decided that yes, indeed, they were cold. He decided that this observation required action. He reached his tiny fingers up and turned the dial of the fishbowl heater up and up and up again. He may or may not have turned it all of the way to eleven. Then he maybe (just maybe) gave the bowl a satisfied pat or two and (definitely) climbed carefully down. Then that sweet, thoughtful, sleepy boy made his way back to his bed.

We woke up the next morning to a fishbowl of roiling, boiling water, and two very warm fish.


On a completely unrelated fish note, we went to the zoo yesterday. Alec D is as much in love with petting goldfish as his big sister is. He holds as much of his arms as he can reach into the pond and waits for the fish to come up and lip his fingers gently. When they do, he hoots excitedly, bounces like crazy and splashes like mad.

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