Would this event in my adulthood be a traumatic memory for a child? Not if I had anything to do with it!
We had friends who were going to be in Boston for one month. They asked me to sit for the two gold fish belonging to their young sons. One fish was named Kelso and the other was nameless. All went well at first. The shiny round fishbowl took up residence on the coffee table in the living room. Nice homey touch, I thought and if all went well, we might consider getting a gold fish of our own.
Late one night I was sitting on the couch, grading papers. A closer look at Kelso revealed a very bright red spot on his side. He seemed dazed and was swimming lopsided. I didn’t want any fish dying on my watch. I could just imagine the boys thinking I had killed their fish and done damage to their well being.
So I laid hands on that bowl and prayed over that fish. This was a first for me. I don’t ever recall even hearing of someone having a fish at a prayer altar. Well, obviously, I didn’t pray long or hard enough because before too many minutes, Kelso was floating dead on his side at the top of the bowl. I was horrified!
Before giving this fish a proper burial, I lifted him out, put him in a baggy, and then into the freezer. The next day the frozen fish and I went to three different pet stores in search of a twin. The clerks all had a good laugh and tried to help me find a perfect size and color match! No luck! A new shipment of gold fish would arrive later, so I would return.
The next day was sunny and hot. When I opened the car door, one whiff and I realized Kelso lay forgotten, no longer frozen and still in his baggy! It turned out well. I aired the car and later that day I found a perfectly matched gold fish and Kelso II never told on me. In fact, it was years before I told the family my fish tale.
And my lesson? I do not fish sit. I never added a fishbowl in our living room. But several times, I’ve considered adding the screen saver app with tropical fish swimming on the monitor. Mmmm…maybe not….might cause me to relive that fateful day!