He felt that his potential was being limited.

July 6, 2011

Some birthdays you remember forever.

On my fifth birthday, I received a goldfish.  It wasn’t a surprise, but rather an event that had been built up for several weeks.  My Grandparents lived in town (we lived on a small farm at the time), so they brought the fish with them when they came for the party.

My Grandpa was in charge of the whole process.  He explained how we had to let the fish float in it’s plastic bag inside the fish bowl for 30 minutes so that the water temperatures could equalize.  He told me that we would add the water from the bag to the water in the bowl so that the fish would feel at home.  He even showed me the fish food and how much to use when the time came.  When it was finally time to let the fish out of the bag my Grandpa slowly emptied the bag into the bowl.

The water came out, but the goldfish did not.

It had somehow managed to get stuck in the bag.  I was starting to worry, but my Grandpa assured me everything was okay.  He gave the bag a few gentle shakes.

The fish still did not come out.

At this point I was whimpering, all the adults were offering advice, and Grandpa was starting to feel the pressure.  He gave the bag a much harder shake.

The fish came out.

However, it didn’t go into the fishbowl.  It landed, with a wet smack, on the tile floor.  I was now crying, the adults were shouting, and my Grandpa was so surprised that he jumped into the air.

And landed right on the fish.

Everyone froze.  We all stood there for a few heartbeats just staring at my Grandpa’s shoes.  Then he quickly said, “Whew!  He almost got away!” while scooping up the goldfish and plopping him into the fishbowl.  I tried feeding the fish, but he didn’t seem very interested in eating.  He just wanted to float upside down.

Some birthdays you remember forever, whether you want to or not.



  1. I don’t know if i should laugh or not… you grand father obviously had more wit than wisdom. Do you have fish now I wonder?

    • You should laugh! It was a LONG time ago and I wasn’t really (too) scarred by the incident.

      I don’t have any fish. My daughter received a fish from a friend, but I did my best to avoid it completely.

  2. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed

    • Thanks!

  3. Although ultimately sad, you say it in an entertaining way. Did you get a replacement?

    • I’m sure my parents must have replaced the fish, but I can’t remember for sure. It’s funny what we do and don’t remember from our childhood…

  4. I love how this story is told. It makes me think of what Charlie Brown would be like as a senior citizen.

    • Ha! Thanks for the comment. I think Charlie Brown would probably have a lot of partly depressing and partly humorous stories!

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