This week we mourned the passing of Vicki the Fish. Many of you who are parents can relate to the trauma caused in households of small children when a family pet dies, even as mundane a pet as a goldfish. This fish, however, has been a remarkable pet for two reasons: first, this fish was at least 14 years old. Second, this is the last fish whose presence has frequently given us reason to tell this story, which has grown in these years to legend-status in our home:
When Matt and I were in our junior year of high school at Michigan Lutheran Seminary, the decorating theme chosen for the Junior-Senior Banquet was supposed to reflect an "oriental" mood. To accomplish this, the dedicated banquet committee chose to furnish the tables with goldfish housed delicately in ivy bowls. Surely it was unanticipated that as the tables were excused to go through the buffet line, pranksters from other tables took to skewering these live decorations with the toothpicks from the appetizers so that the students would return to the grisly sight of their run-through and now deceased fish. (Who ever thought up high school, anyway??)
Matt saw that this was going on and wanted to protect the fish at their table from an untimely end. He took the fish in its well-appointed ivy bowl through the buffet line and kept it outside with him during the fire alarm portion of dinner. (Anyone else remember that? I think I was in the buffet line and we decided to ignore it...) At the conclusion of the dinner, Matt mooched a plastic cup from one of the cafeteria ladies to further house his charge and at the end of the night he took the fish safely home in the cup holder of his mom's Miata. (Other versions of the legend have this being a plastic baggie carried home in the ashtray - no one is really sure anymore) Then, some weeks later, he and his mom bought three friends for the banquet fish. Vicki (so named by Cymbre when she was 2 and named *everything* Vicki) was the last of these friends; the banquet fish and the other two friends having died at various points in the last 10 or so years.
And so ends an era. Cymbre has finally stopped crying and now wants a new fish that looks like Vicki... and I am celebrating here one man's desire to save a helpless creature from forces bigger than himself.