Monday, March 19, 2012


 I went home last weekend to attend the funeral of my high school sweetheart's Mom. She was a very sweet lady with the most beautiful southern accent you could ever imagine. Our small circle of friends have remained close through the high school angst and the distance of adult life in other states.

I share this because after the funeral, I went home to my parent's house and worked my butt off all day Sunday renovating Mom's pond, running errands, and generally giving her some break time from caring for my father.

I was beat when it was over, but I kept thinking how lucky I was to be working in my childhood yard with both of my 83 year old parents sitting on the deck giving me directions.

It was a fine day, blue sky, no clouds, low humidity ... perfect for yardwork.
This hideous beast is perhaps part catfish, since he's apparently got 9 lives.
About a year ago, Mom was walking out to the compost pile and found this fish lying on the ground about 20 feet from her goldfish pond.
She stooped to pick his "dead" body up, when suddenly he flipped and flopped. Amazed, she ran him back to the pond where he recovered from his otherworldly adventure. 
Perhaps a cat or owl had dropped him, we will never know.
How lucky can he be to have her walk by while he was still alive out in the lawn.
It boggles the mind.

He developed a huge bloat and cancerous looking tumors over time, had trouble swimming, and looked ridiculous, but somehow he carried on.

Last year she pronounced him dead, because she could not find him in the small pond. 
Neither could I.

Later, she called me up and said she had found the rascal alive.

About 3 weeks ago, she again  told me he must have gotten eaten by a predator, because she had not seen him for weeks.

Sunday, as I drained the pond to renovate it, I saw his lifeless form lying sideways on the bottom. I reached down to scoop him out, dreading the stink of dead fish, when ... yup, you guessed it... he flipped and he flopped.

Just for the record ... he is currently alive. 

Mom's amaryllis from the family farm up in Pennsylvania are at their peak right now. I have these on my place too, so the heirloom connection is intact.

About midway through the process.
I drained the pond, scooped out goo, divided iris plants, cut back the advancing horde of shrimp plants, gravelled the surrounding area, replanted the iris, and planted a blue-eyed grass.

When it was over, it looked something like this.

Mom was pleased, Dad was pleased.

So was I.


Vicki said...

I can see why. Nicely done.

edifice rex said...

What a bizarre little fat fish! I can't help but root for him now after reading those stories! Kinda reminds me of Goober the chicken I have here. I keep expecting to find her 6 toes up any time now but she presses on.

Thunder said...

Awesome job! That fish will become a legend! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Hi FC,

Poor fish. What a face. I started out with four goldfish. Lucy, Ethyl, Fred and, you guessed it, Ricky. My niece named them. Fred was a SOB. He kept knocking Ethyl out of the pond.

The folks pond looks nice.

I love blue eyed grass! Used to have it over in Gnvl.


Floridacracker said...


LOL! Animal daredevils! I wish your chicken luck.

Thanks! ...legend or frankenfish?

Home depot carries blue eyed grass now! Glad you like the pond.

threecollie said...

Good son, good man. I too often reflect how incredibly fortunate I am to have both parents...
We had one of those toughie goldfish too although I did buy him, not find him. Cats kept taking him up to the horse barn, out to the garden and he just kept recovering...alas one finally ate him and he didn't come back from that.

Deb said...

That has to be about the ugliest fish I've ever seen. But hey, he's a survivor!

We're enjoying some Florida-like weather here in MN. Very unusual.

robin andrea said...

That is one cool, crazy-looking fish. He sure found himself a good home. Don't you just love when a fish tale is true?

Wonderful work on that pond.

Robert Sobczak said...

Good days work. Interesting about the fish. Coincidence makes it connections.

Ericka said...

wow! great job!

lol - that fish reminds me of one of my mom's fish. it was a bully and killed her favorite fish, so we flushed it down the toilet. and it came back. twice. i am still convinced that it just got too big to fit thru the pipe...

Island Rider said...

We are pondering some of the same things over here. We are at that age. Our parents are practically next door so it makes it easier. You are a good son. I know your mom was happy.

Floridacracker said...

he was bought,but she found him in the yard once after some critter snatched him :)

I read about your FL weather in the news!

LOL! Most fish tales are questionable. Thanks!

Robert, one lucky fish!

That fish earns points for tenacity.

yes, mine are a two hour ride. Count yourself lucky.

Anonymous said...

"I was beat when it was over, but I kept thinking how lucky I was to be working in my childhood yard with both of my 83 year old parents sitting on the deck giving me directions. "

............wise man. Treasure yore time wif' Mama an' Daddy while it lasts.

Floridacracker said...

Great advice Jaunty.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Yes, you are lucky, and sweaty, too, to be able to do such wonderful things for your folks. And they're lucky to have you. I used to love doing my mom and dad's gardens and planters and trimming their hedges. Only problem: I wound up working on the neighbors' hedges, too... "While you're at it, dear..."

That poor goldfish is a good example of the improvement man feels he must visit upon his domestics. Surely a humped, twisted spine and bloated abdomen are superior to streamlining.
Goldfish can live into their 20's and 30's--imagine how much easier it is if you aren't deformed...

Kat said...

Hello FC,
I just found your blog today but have been browsing the last couple of hours. If you redo her pond or have an urge to bring her plants or want some more for your home let me know I'd be glad to donate to you. I'm not sure where you and Emma teach, but wherever it is the children are blessed to have you and I'd be glad to donate some plants to you for your home, your moms or for the school :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi, hope your goldfish is still ok! He is a RYUKIN goldfish based on the picture. And at that large size, would cost between $75 to $120 in specialty hobbyist petshops. Thanks for sharing this awesome story!