Funeral for a fish

Today is my brother’s birthday.  In honor of this day I am publishing a story I wrote several years ago.

  I loved my red betta. His name was Red. I kept him in an aquarium on my desk and we were good friends.
Red was a birthday gift from my brother.  Dennis brought him home from the store in a plastic cup. A goldfish bowl,smooth rocks, glass rocks, fake greenery, fish food and de-chlorinator were plopped on the counter along with my then unnamed fish with a “Happy birthday, baby sister.”
“Great Dennis,” I said. “What am I going to do with a fish?” (I didn’t exactly say it that way, but I cleaned up my language for this post.)
He said, “I found a little fish net out by the neighbor’s trash can and thought it would be useful if there was a fish to scoop in it from time to time. Let’s sterilize it and then you can use it for your new fish.”

That’s how my brother thought – find a discarded piece of trash and buy a fish.
I had never owned a fish in my entire life, so Dennis helped me arrange the tank. He taught me how to feed and care for it.
A week later, he came home with his own betta and two new larger tanks. He told me that he didn’t want my fish to get jealous in his small goldfish bowl and had to buy my fish a new tank to match the one that he bought for his fish.
My fish was beautiful and RED. And, so I named him Red. Dennis’ fish was a rainbow sort of color and he never did name him. He called him Gringo and Guiseppe and Titan and whatever other name came to mind. His fish seemed to really like him, though, and would swim to the side of the tank to greet Dennis whenever he walked into the room.
I was jealous, because Red just seemed mean-spirited. He would flare out his gills and puff his face at me everytime I got near his tank.
We eventually moved out here to the country, but my brother and his fish stayed on the beach. Eventually, his fish died. My fish and I started becoming friends.
Red would come to the edge of his tank and watch me work on my computer.  He would come to the top of the tank and wait for me to drop food in for him.  If strangers stopped to gawk at him, he would flare his gills and puff his face. How funny, I thought, he never does that to me. He brought me many hours of joy.
When my brother died way too young and very unexpectedly from a heart condition, I was even more glad that I had Red. I had a very special gift from my brother. This brother had flown into my life after years of mutual neglect. And, he and I had a great time becoming friends and camarades.
Red was my living connection to my brother. He bore this awesome responsibility very beautifully, but died the other night night.
I woke up the next morning and checked his tank to make sure he was still dead. Maybe he just had a terrible sleep and would be swimming about, happy as a fish.  I knew it would be unlikely, but was a little hopeful that the impossible could happen.
It hadn’t and so, we found a tiny spot in the yard to bury him. 

“Take care of Red for me, big brother.” 


Are you giving anything up for Lent?

I normally do not give much thought to Lent, although, I have, in the past “given” up something important to me for the required 40 days.

My most recent memory of “giving up something” is when I gave up cussing for a friend that thought I sounded trashy when I talked!

It’s been several years ago now. I remember it being hard in the beginning, and then, getting easier as the days progressed. She helped me see that being clever did not require adding the “f” word to my conversations.

So, I have been good about the cussing for quite a while now.

Somehow, the 40 day Lenten requirement to change a behavior worked for me and I have decided to do it again.

Ok, having said this, let me forward to 2012 Lenten Eve.

I’ve decided to add a prayer to my morning ritual. I know that those of you that really know me know I am not one to say prayers!

But, there is power in prayer, no matter what god you pray to.

So, beginning on the first day of Lent,and extending to the very last day, I plan to say this prayer:

Dear Supreme Being, God, or my internal self,

Help me to stay focused and work on my home business.

Help me to be kind to everyone I meet, even if their actions make me angry.

Help me to prepare meals that are heart healthy for both of us.

Help me make my home a place that people like to visit.

Help me make the best decisions.

Help me smile at every stranger I meet.

Help me censor my words so they inflict no harm.

Keep my husband safe from harm.

Help my husband do the right things at his job to stay healthy.

Keep him safe while travelling the roads to and from work.

Help him heal his body by taking better care of it.

Help me take better care of my body.

Keep my extended family safe from harm and happy with their lives.

Thank you for giving me another beautiful day to enjoy.


And, every morning I will say this prayer.

Will it make any difference? What do you think?






Day Trip, Savannah

And of family, fish sticks, junk and hookah bars.


Brian and I made a day trip to Savannah on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to visit Carrie and Steve. It is always wonderful to see our only child, and her husband, who is quite charming and witty.


This light Pilsner was an excellent choice for fish.


We had lunch at The Distillery, a watering hole in the Historic District. It was my first time there and I liked it, but it had way too many beers to choose from – over 100 beers with at least 21 craft beers on tap. I wanted something light since I was having fish sticks. And, what awesome fish sticks they were!

Light, crunchy cod.


Then on to the shopping. We traversed Bull Street, Broughton Street, and streets in-between perusing numerous antique shops and since my mind is in its “renewed” mode of salvage, re-purposing and shabby chic décor thinking, I had my eyes peeled for unique finds. I bought two small tins. I’m going to drill holes in them and make some kind of homemade wind chimes.

Taking a little rest at City Market.

We stopped at Starbucks on Broughton Street for a refresher and while the gang went in for our orders, I stood outside and had a cigarette.  A woman, sitting at a Starbucks outdoor table on the corner, asked me for a “light,” which in smoker lingo means, she needs a “light.”  She was wearing a bright green babushka, and holding a dark brown cigarillo, and I lent her my lighter. After she lit up, she asked me for a dollar. It’s Thanksgiving, I thought, so I reached in my pocket and gave her the money I had.

We passed at least two Hookah bars in our travels.  This is super significant in that after I got home and did a bit of internet research I saw just how naïve I was. You see, I thought Hookahs were illegal in the states. I envisioned Hookahs as these illicit Turkish wacky weed, getting high, kind of places that were only legal in other parts of the world. I thought hookah was just one degree shy of marijuana! And, when I saw these Hookahs on the streets of Savannah, good ole USA, I sorta flipped about it!  I reckon that maybe inhaling special Turkey blends of tobacco through a water pipe while lying around on pillows and listening to sitar music gets you high, I dunno.  But, yeah, I’ve added doing this to my bucket list.

No one wanted leftover turkey for dinner, so homemade spaghetti and a fresh lettuce salad before heading home.

The two heaping pasta filled plates closest to camera belong to the guys!