Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fire Trucks and Goldfish

The girls and I went to a fireman's carnival last night. There is something about those that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside-especially when we gathered at 7pm for the parade down main street which consisted of several fire trucks from surrounding towns and counties. The pride these people have in this just amazes me. I have so much respect for these folks who take time out of their busy day to make these events possible. In this day and age when life is so fast paced, its just refreshing to stop for a couple of hours to experience life in a small town. Although I only recognized a few people , I can tell by most of the faces they are hardworking, uncomplicated folks that put their heart and soul into everything they do-they have so much love for their community. And they love their families and spending time with them. I am in even more awe as I watch my girls stand on the corner and wave to the firetrucks. They are at an age where they are so innocent and unaware; the only thing they worry about right now is what flavor of sno-cone to pick, or what game to play at one of the fundraiser booths. They are not self-conscious or obsessive about things the way young girls can soemtimes be. They are just having fun being kids, and living in the moment. Again, I have that feeling of wishing time could just stand still for a while, so they will never have to feel bad or worry about anything more important than what to eat or how to win a goldfish at the local fair.

The parade procession takes a turn down the street and the girls jump up and down with anticipation. "Lets go to the carnival!" they shout, jumping up and down with big smiles on their faces.

The first game we play is the one with the spinner. M and E place their dollars on the table, choosing their numbers carefully. E's number is a winner. The choice of prizes are huge stuffed animals of which E chooses the largest one (of course!). M tries her hand again, but no luck. This doesn't seem to phase her in the least. She takes my hand and drags me over to the goldfish toss where she proceeds to win not one, but two goldfish.

Unfortunately, the weather is not cooperating, and we are forced to cut our evening short. M decides to give her fish to a friend to put in a pond at their farm, where they will have a much better chance at survival than with us. You see, we tried this last year, and with perilous results.

Flashback to last July. Almost exact scenario, except we arrive home from the carnival with two fish. The girls decided to call one Hillary, and the other one was Bill, (I think) You'll have to forgive me, the facts are not so clear a year later. You know how it goes. Fish go in small bowl; mom decides that they need some place bigger to live; one trip later home from Walmart and we now have a 10 gallon aquarium complete with gravel, filter and of course, decorations! And, they must have the proper food! The fish that cost us twenty five cents has now become
a hit to the pocket of at least thirty five dollars.

Time goes by, and Bill and Hillary appear to be the happy couple, until one sad morning when we find Bill floating lifelessly at the top. After a few fitting words and proper burial, life resumed as best as it could. M and E were very concerned about the well-being of Hillary, though. "She needs a friend," E says, with a wrinkled brow. M agrees. We decide to make yet another trip to Walmart.

Hillary's new companion arrives home in a signature plastic water-filled bag. He is a small, black moor with protruding eyes-pretty comical looking really, and he was carefully chosen as the perfect friend for Hillary. We carefully introduce (pour) our new addition to his new home. The two fish regard each other quietly for a moment-Hillary is much larger than he. "What should we name him?" M wondered. We all sat for a moment, just like the fish, and thought.

"I know!" E laughed. "Lets call him Obama!"

I had to admit with all the recent political coverage, my eight year old's choice seemed quite logical and fitting. Ahh, a child's innocence. How sweet it is.

At that moment, Obama, recovering from what must have been the initial "Nemo" like shock of being-in-some-nice-pond-somewhere-then-in-a-tank-in-Walmart-to-some-crazy-woman's-house-in-a-fishbowl, decided he was mad as heck at the hand he had been dealt and became hell-bent on taking it out on Hillary. He began chasing her around the tank. this went on for about an hour, until Hillary retreated into a little cave purchased on our recent Walmart excursion. (I swear she was panting.) "Oh, they're just getting used to each other," I said. Little did I know that this was going to be standard operating procedure in fishworld.

Some days were better than others, and I actually thought that things were starting to look up for Hillary, that is, until one rainy night......

We came home from my parent's house in Maryland where we had been visiting and having dinner. E, upon entering, always checked the fish tank. This evening, something was terribly wrong. Hillary was nowhere to be found. We frantically searched on the floor, questioned the dogs and tried to see if they looked guilty. They just stared back at us innocently-(and trust me, I have enough experience with them to know if they are guilty or not.) Baffled at Hillary's disappearance, we all retired to bed.

In the morning, my youngest woke up with a theory. "I think Obama chased Hillary and made her jump out of the tank," E said. "I think she was trying to jump into the kitchen sink so she could get down the drain." (Because all drains lead to the ocean, right?) Except, sorry to say, our drain was also a garbage disposal, and as I quickly made some rough calculations, I decided it was time to get my husband involved. There was no way I was putting my hand down that drain! I dragged him down the stairs, briefing him like they do on CSI so he would be completely up to date on the dire situation at hand.

He bravely reached his hand into that gaping hole. "Yep," he nodded his head. "E was right on." He pulled Hillary's lifeless body out in his cupped hand. Thankfully, I had not run the garbage disposal as I originally thought I had.

"I wonder if this will be any indication of how the real election race is going to play out?" he mused with a grin.

So, in summary, when you go to a fair or carnival and let your kids play that game where you win a goldfish, beware! Have a back up plan or you may just get more than you bargained for.

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