My daughters pleaded for years for us to get a pet. I had owned two dogs at one time and when one was sold and the other died, it took a long time to get over the grief. I still get teary eyed when I think of my dog, Boris.
I was so determined not to have pets. I purchased a stuffed parrot which we hung in the solarium and named, Cortez. The newness of the extraordinary pet wore off quickly and we were back to the children asking, “Can we get a pet?”
My younger daughter, Jessica, was given a snail in Kindergarten and she brought it home to die the next day. His name was “Kool” and we buried him in the garden.
I decided we would feed the birds outside. I purchased a bird feeder, and a female cardinal visited daily and banged against the window frequently waking us up in the morning with her rantings and ravings. I tried to convince the children that Lulu (the cardinal) was now our pet. She visited several times a day with her boy friend, Arthur. We whistled and she would whistled back. Lulu finally bit it when she flew into a front window and was found dead on the deck. We buried her next to the bird feeder. I still run to the window if a bird bangs there.
Our next pet adventure was with a gold fish. I named it “Fluffy” and swore my love would never die. I cleaned her bowl and fed her and even talked to her at times. The kids laughed at me. “Fluffy is a stupid name for a fish,” they told me. So in a couple of weeks when “Fluffy” died they laughed and told jokes about flushing Fluffy down the toilet. I dumped the bowl of water and the dead fish and flushed the toilet.
“So there is your stupid pet and we will never have another one.” I cried to them sarcastically.
Sure enough my older daughter, Addi, decided to bring home another fish. Her friend had a Japanese fighting fish and she wanted one too. She named it “Tolstoy”. (Now talk about stupid names for fish!) I proceeded to call her fish “Fluffy” and ignore their insistence that the fishes name was Tolstoy.. My Fluffy was dead but I could call her fish Fluffy if I wanted to.
Addi introduced her fish to her friends and laughingly told them that Mom was persistent in calling the fish Fluffy. (No one understands me; you know what I mean?)
Addi was off to college the next September and sure enough, Fluffy (Tolstoy) went with her. Everyone loved him and came to visit him but called him Tolstoy. When I e-mailed her I always said “hi” to Fluffy. She even slipped on occasion and called him “Fluffy” too.
Fluffy came home with Addi during breaks and spent Christmas with us. I ended up changing his water frequently. My husband, Rick, took to the fish being around and taught him a trick. Rick would rub his finger at the top of the bowl and Fluffy would jump right up to snap at him. Fluffy would only perform his trick for Rick and we all got such a kick out of Fluffy performing. Everyone who visited got to see Rick and Fluffy’s performance.
Once when I was changing Fluffy’s water, Rick helped me to transfer him to a safe container while I washed his bowl. Poor Fluffy jumped right out of the net, bounced on the counter top and fell to the floor. Rick was frantic, certain he had killed Addi’s fish. After crying and getting him back into safe water, Fluffy was in shock. We were certain he would die.
To our surprise, the next day, Fluffy was swimming around like a happy camper. His tail was a little crooked but he seemed fine. Rick was afraid to try the trick with him but after several days couldn’t stand not knowing if Fluffy would still do his trick.
The girls were gathered close and daddy started his finger circling the top of the tank. Sure enough, Fluffy jumped to Dad’s finger. We all were elated.
Addi went back to college and took our Fluffy with her. When I talked to her I usually asked about Fluffy even before I asked how she was.
Several months passed and one day the fateful day came. Addi called in tears. “Mom, Fluffy died.” I was in tears, she was in tears. She came home the next weekend and clutched in her hands was a small box that she had put into the freezer to preserve. Inside the box was our Fluffy. Addi and I went to the garden the next day. I dug a hole by the red raspberries while Addi unwrapped our frozen fish body. We took a last long look and exclaimed to the powers that be that Fluffy was, by no doubt, “the best fish in the whole wide world.” We left him to fertilize the raspberries.
Years later when I come across Fluffy’s little tank and accessories, I still get a little teary eyed. He was the best fish in the whole wide world.
Addi told me recently that she was thinking of getting another fish. I will try to call him by his own name. There will never be another Fluffy.
Not Fluffy. I don't have a photo of Fluffy. This is Bob and Marley. Another story to tell at a later time.