Friday, April 11, 2008

The End of an Era

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.


Anonymous said...

Serenity, thank you for taking me down memory lane and into the halls of our high school. I do remember the legend, however, I thought that the goldfish pulled the alarm to make a safe escape and stayed to rest of the time in a puddle of water outside of the Miata, anxiously waiting the return of his master to then be placed in the cup and subsequently, the cup holder. --Lisa

Anonymous said...

So, I can tell you this in person:) but I will respond here.
That is pretty amazing that Vicki lived so long. I remember it as a plastic baggie in the cupholder of the Miata. And yes, I very much remember Matt rescuing the fish during the fire drill. Good memories:) We had a goldfish named Clyde for 18 years...My dad took care of him for most of those years, but when he died, he was a full pound and nine inches long. How big was Vicki? Tam

Serenity said...

Wow - Vicki was no match for Clyde! She was maybe 6 inches long but nearly two of that was tail I bet. She also had lost all her color some years ago but after a coule of years of eating Cichlid color food (because we had african cichlids in another tank and I only bought one kind of food) she got her color back. So I would hypothesize that cichlid food is a superior food to goldfish flakes.

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes...sounds that way. Clyde was also color-less.

Lydilos said...

I had no idea a fish could live that long. I can manage about 6 months. Good for you and your fishy. Sorry for Cymbre. :o(

Anonymous said...

Wow... was I even at Junior/Senior Banquet ?? Oh wait, I was dealing with Jeremy drama.... :) I remember none of this fish-saving - but do remember the fire drill. That IS amazing that Vicki lived so long! I didn't realize it was possible. I'm happy to report that our betta is over a year old! Woo hoo! Long live the fishy! - Christine