Season 1: Episode 70
It has happened. I kind of expected it, after all it has been four years since he walked through our front door. Still, I had hoped we could have skated by this stage in life with Noah in total feigned ignorance. I was completely committed to the inevitable fallout twenty years from now, when he and his family would come to gather around our holiday table and in front of his 2.5 kids and very very patient, tolerant, and saintly sound wife, accusingly ask me why he never got to. I was ready to look over my forkful of turkey and stuffing and calmly reply in my most motherly June Cleaver voice, “Why Noah dear, you never asked.”
Well, yesterday he asked. Noah wants a fish. Immediately my mind raced through all the fish this family have laid to rest in the past 18 years. I’ve had my six year successes (Mr. Fish…who was purchased on the same day OJ Simpson was acquitted because I was just so frustrated with the legal system so I hauled two year old Hannah down the pet store and bought her a 7 cent feeder fish who ended up living through Monica Lewinsky, the demise of Charles and Diane, and Paris Hilton’s sex tape scandal) and I have had my one day floating failures (Their names…they escape me at the moment) . And in between I have had a whole lot of covert flushes. I guess I had hoped my sweet Ethiopian would never make the connection that fish can be pets too, but then he went to a birthday party on Saturday and all thoughts since then have been locked on one thing, and one thing only, obtaining a fish as a pet.
One of the last fish that swam through our door in a palm sized plastic bag died four months before Noah came home. His name was Hottie. He was a red beta and…well…instead of trying to recall his impact on our family, I’ll share with you his obituary and some other post life memories of pets who have gone to the great beyond.
. . .
Sadly on the 4th of July Sam’s beloved fish, Hottie, passed away. He was surrounded by the bedlam, mayhem, and the general loudness of thirteen family members celebrating our country’s independence. Hottie loved water and spent every moment of his life surrounded by it. He began his humble life in a fish tank at All-Pet Pet Store in Orchards, Washington. On October 18, 2006 he relocated to Hockinson, Washington where he spent his days watching the family open and close their refrigerator. Hottie is survived by his best friend Walkie the Aquatic Frog, his faithful feeding friend Sam Barclay and Julie Barclay who without complaint or fail cleaned his habitat religiously while multi-tasking raising her four children, feeding the family cats, petting and combing the family dog, and arranging for the adoption of a fifth child from Ethiopia. A private burial was held July 7th at 12:42 pm or sometime there about. Memorial contributions are not expected nor will they be accepted at this time. Rest in Peace Hottie.
SO…we have experienced the death of another pet. Sam took this one very hard but is doing better now that we found the perfect replacement fish, Calvin the Golden Beta. He’s a bit translucent. If you can get past that he’s kind of…cute… I guess. : >) Sam loves him and that’s all that matters.
I’ve learned from past pet funerals that secret internment’s are the best way for this family to cope with the loss. We’ve had some irreverent ones over the past years, mostly caused by comments by my brutally honest Korean, Sam, that send those who are exceptionally emotional over the edge and crying all the back up to the steep slope from our pet cemetery to the house. I don’t know how many times Jeff and I have walked back up the hill to our house dragging our shovels behind and sarcastically shaking our heads saying, “that went well.”
For our beautiful Golden Retriever Jack’s funeral we asked Sam if he had anything kind to say about Jack and he took the moment when all the family was listening to his words to say Hannah’s breath smelled like potatoes. That’s it. Not, “he’s a great dog” or “I liked how he cuddled up with me.” Nope! He chose that moment to comment on Hannah’s breath which on the record DID NOT smell like potatoes that day. That didn’t go over too well, not with Hannah at least.
For Zak’s hamster’s funeral, Zak got so distracted by a snake that crawled through the grass on the way down to Izzy’s resting place that he dropped her shoe box casket and the corpse of Izzy rolled out for all of us to see. Little FYI, even stiff little hamsters make a thud when they hit the hard summer ground. While Zak chased the snake I quickly scooped Izzy back into the casket before our dog Duncan made hamster jerky out of her and continued the funeral procession down to the grave site.
SO, when my cat Murphy died I kind of pulled a Howard Hughes or Marilyn Monroe kind of funeral event. I didn’t invite anyone to the burial. A private internment attended only by ME. You can’t blame me, really, you can’t blame me.
. . .
I know I can’t deny Noah a fish. The concept of a pet in Ethiopia is so very far removed from what we refer to as pets over here, so for him to feel the need to want to care for something beyond himself is HUGE. When I was in Ethiopia, I expected to witness human suffering on a grand scale but never in my wildest imagination could I have prepared myself for the scale of animal suffering we saw daily on the streets. The visions and sounds haunted me long after I was home.
Noah’s going to get a fish. He asked and I really have no reason not to let him. He said he is going to name it Flipper. I’m looking ahead twenty years, when he and his family gather around our holiday table, and how we’ll probably be laughing about the life of his fish Flipper. But then again, with my family, we will more than likely be laughing about the unavoidable last rites of Flipper instead.