The Great Darke County Fair is over, but the goldfish may go on for a while.
On Tuesday of Fair Week our 4-year-old granddaughter Laura came into the house looking for me. “Grandma! I won a fish at the fair!”
Remembering the good old days, I just smiled and said, “That’s nice!” (My grandchildren think I smile because I love them. My children think I smile because it’s the fulfillment of the mother’s curse which is uttered in moments of extreme aggravation. “Someday, someday, I can only hope that you will have children who are exactly like you!”)
“Nope, not nice,” Laura continued, “he died.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” I offered.
“Well, I was wondering if you could sing when we flushed him?”
It seemed that Laura remembered that I sing with our church funeral choir. She went to some practices with me when she was “taking care” of me when her mom went away for the day.
“You want me to sing when you flush the dead fish down the toilet?” I asked.
“Well you and maybe the whole choir, but not for this one. We already flushed him. I’m thinking for the next one. “I made a quick mental note to tell her Uncle Joe about this because this is the first indication that any of the grandkids might be willing to follow in his footsteps at Oliver Funeral Home.
Figuring she would forget about the choir by the time the next fish died, I agreed to talk to the choir. Then we had a funeral midweek, so I relayed Laura’s request to them. First they had a good laugh, then they celebrated the fact that we had our first offer for an outside gig.”
Two days later I returned home to find a message on the answering machine, “Call Laura right away!” I did.
“Grandma, my other fish died. When can you come sing so I can flush him?”
“Well, I can’t get the choir on such notice,” I told her.
“Oh. Well you just come yourself and sing.”
“I can’t come right now because I have company. How about you take the cordless phone; into the bathroom, and I’ll sing as you flush.”
She quickly replied, “I can’t right now. We’re eating supper. My mom wants to talk to you.”
Her mom took the phone to tell me she really wanted to get rid of the fish who was floating belly up in the fishbowl which was covered with one of her best towels… I agreed to stay home till I was called to the telephone solo for the fish’s funeral.
A little bit later the phone rang again. “Are you ready?” Laura asked.
“Yes, what do you want to sing? How about Amazing Grace?”
“Well I was thinking about just doing Bye Bye Fishie.”
“Okay,” I agreed. “You start it and I’ll join in.”
So as Laura and I sang Bye Bye Fishie, I heard the toilet flush and her mom yell, “Don’t drop it!”
I was a little surprised because I thought the whole idea was to drop the fish… I found out later she was concerned about the cordless phone Laura had clutched in her hand as she sang the song and flushed the fish.
Oh well, It was a great funeral for a fair fish.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate on Sept. 12, 1998.
Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her column Back Around the House II. She can be reached at email@example.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.