For weeks now, I've been meaning to get some goldfish for the fountain in the front yard. Friends and neighbors have told me that the fish will eat up all the algae and keep the base of the fountain clean. With all the gardening work that C has done in the flowerbeds for the past couple of years, I thought it would be nice to have those fish swimming around in the fountain, for nothing more than to keep it cleaner than it usually is, and to keep the frogs company.
Off to the fish farm I went, which isn't too far from where we live. Did they have goldfish? Small ones for a fountain, not steroid-sized for a lake? "Sure do, ma'am... take a looky right over here." And there they were, hundreds and hundreds of goldfish swimming around in a concrete tank shaded by an aluminum awning... and not a speck of algae in sight.
The man told me the fish were one dollar each, or 12 for $7.00.... well, a dozen seemed about right for the base of the fountain which is about four feet in diameter and a bit over two feet in depth. Out came the net, and the man tossed back the smaller ones and gave me the larger goldfish, each one about the length of my hand from wrist to finger-tip. The fish got put into a water-filled plastic bucket, and then got poured into a plastic bag, like we used to get at those church carnivals years ago.
"There y'all go..... you might lose a few to the egrets or raccoons that might could see them in your fountain, but just come on back and we'll catch you some more." I took the plastic bag and only just then realized that I would have to put them into my car to get them home. Live fish? In my car? Was the plastic bag thick enough? Would the bag of fish be better off in the truck (with the treasures I'd just bought at the shops in town) or should I put them on the floor of the passenger side? My car is a small two-seater which has never had anything spilled on the seats or the carpeting, and the last thing I wanted was slippery goldfish somehow getting out of that bag during the drive home.
I put the bag on the floor of the car in front of the passenger seat, propping up the bag with my purse and just hoped for the best. The ride down the main highway towards home was fine... straight path all the way. But then I got to our road and as I made the right turn, I didn't even think that the plastic fish-filled bag would move... but my purse went over on its side, and the bag of fish went rolling from one corner of the passenger-floor to the other. Thankfully, the goldfish gods were watching, and the bag didn't spring a leak and no goldfish were harmed in the turning process. However, I may have gotten six new gray hairs (glitter, really) after that turn.
As soon as I pulled into my driveway, I got the scissors from the gardening bin and carried the goldfish to the front yard.... slit the top of the bag and poured both water and goldfish into the base of the fountain. I did, however, make a quick stop on the back porch, put the bag of fish on the table, and snapped a photo of the captured fish. I sent the picture to my cousin F up on Long Island, and to my husband at work. (I told my husband in the eMail--- "Congratulations! It's a boy, and a girl, and more boys, and more girls... a dozen in all!)"
The fish are now happily swimming in the fountain, coming up to the surface to take a peek at their new location, and the resident frogs have also come up for air and are probably right now thinking "There goes the neighborhood..." One frog was perched up on the rim of the fountain base and when he saw me walking on the porch he dropped back into the water, so I guess he's okay with his new underwater neighbors.
I'm hoping that our outside cat Mickey stays away from the fountain and doesn't try to catch himself a golden snack. And the same goes for the local raccoons, possums, hawks and egrets.
As for that goldfish picture that I sent to my cousin F.... who believes that if you have a pet, or a stray animal that you're feeding on a regular basis, or any living breathing thing
that you're taking care of, it needs a name. A real name, not just 'that gray cat' or 'that goldfish with the white spot.'
Within ten minutes of sending F that goldfish photo, she shot back an eMail to me with the names for the twelve new residents of the fountain: Nemo, Orca, Jaws, Flipper, Chips, Shrimpie, Gortons, Schooner, Ferry, Arthur Treacher, Goldie, and Fluffy. I read her eMail and just could not stop laughing. By the way, Arthur Treacher's is the name of a fast-food fish restaurant up on Long Island, and as for Fluffy... there's no explanation for that one.