Several years ago, I needed a new life. I was getting out of a manipulative, emotionally abusive relationship. I chose a city that was near my son’s and consequently, my grandsons’ home. I moved. My desire? To be the best grandmother ever. I wanted to attend ballgames, school plays, lunch with grandparents day, book fairs.... I wanted it all. My new home? It is the secondary love of my life. The architectural design was my decorative taste, and I fell in love with it at first glance. Most important, my new home had a Koi Pond surrounded by palm trees near the entrance of the house. And in that Koi Pond? There were no Koi. The previous owners had stocked it with catfish. My just-beginning-elementary-school grands fell in love with these huge, ugly catfish.
Those who know me well, know that I’ve always been spoiled. When I was first married at the age of eighteen, I couldn’t understand why my new clothes dryer stopped drying my clothes after the first month. It seems I never had to learn about cleaning out the dryer’s lint. My father bought me a new car when I was sixteen; I never had chores; I had charge accounts around town; I flew to Hawaii after graduating a year early from high school. The list could go on and on. I was totally spoiled.
On my own many years later, I have had to learn how to take care of myself. I’ve done that pretty well. I found the best yard company and the best handyman. I’ve even learned what a breaker and rpz are. I can drain my hot tub , refill it, and put chemicals in it. What I didn’t find was anyone who knew how to teach me how to treat this Koi pond with chemicals.
Three months after I moved in, I walked out one morning and all of these gorgeous , ugly catfish were floating dead in my pond. I called my daughter-in-law bawling and squalling. She thought someone had died. I finally was able to tell her about my deceased catfish. Bless her heart... She threw my grandsons in her car and made a twenty minute drive to my house turn into 10 minutes. Amber is beautiful, smart, and classy, but she’s got a touch of tomboy in her. Grabbing trash bags, she scooped the ugly, dead fish out with her bare hands.
My oldest grandson (then about first grade) looked at me sadly and said, “CC, you killed George Washington!” He had named the biggest, ugliest catfish. He had fed him and had loved the snot out of him.
Five years later...
This grandson, Jackson, went fishing with his dad, my son, Christian. They pulled up to my home after dark and put Jackson’s first fish, a Crappie, in my Koi Pond. Jackson said, “CC, let’s name him George Washington, Jr.” I replied, "Let’s wait and see if he lives first.”
Three days later...
I go out several times a day and check on that darn fish. I’ve found a bait shop and bought minnows and received other instructions for feeding him. I’m very careful with the chemicals. Mr. Crappie is still alive.
I can do this. Right? Perhaps Jackson and I need to wait just a little longer before we name him, however.
Two days later...
Rest In Peace, Mr. Crappie.
Am I a quitter? No. I called the Arkansas Game and Fish today. I’m just going to find out where I can buy catfish for my pond.
I think my father used to tell me that I was as stubborn as a mule. I consider that one of my finer qualities.