Smokey was a good fish.
Okay, so "loyal" may be stretching it a bit. It's not like he had a choice who his owners were. However, he was definitely a friendly and resilient fish.
I never thought fish responded to people or showed any sign of personality before we got Smokey. He actually came out of his little fish-bowl house and appeared to wag his tail for us when we would walk into the room.
He was certainly a well-traveled fish, having made the trip to New Hampshire for summer vacation and most recently the 3,000 mile drive across country from Virginia to Washington. He proved his resilience more than once. The first occasion earned a Post-of-the-Week award for his tumble down the stairs.
Smokey's Travel Fish-bowl
The most recent occasion I now realize I forgot to write about. It was when we went on vacation in New Hampshire last summer. The boys and I had recently watched What About Bob, and they got the idea of taking Smokey with us in a glass jar like Bill Murray with his pet fish Gill. In anticipation of our upcoming PCS transfer to Washington, we decided to use the drive to NH as a test run for Smokey. He passed with flying colors.
Well... swimming colors I suppose.
There was a close call along the way though. When we stopped to tour the Valley Forge National Historic Park, we left Smokey in the car.
It got a little warm.
When we returned to the car, we found Smokey on floating on his side near the top of his water jug, periodically twitching one of his fins like a toy whose batteries were worn out. We manned battlestations-fish-resuscitation, cranked on the A/C and my wonderful wife held Smokey's jar in front of the vent to cool him off (but not so quickly as to put him in thermal shock). He seemed just fine a couple of hours later. No harm done apparently.
I suppose I didn't write about it so none of you would be calling the humane society on me for leaving a pet unattended in the car.
Along the way across country this month, he got to visit the Louisville Slugger bat factory, Mount Rushmore, and Yellowstone National Park. In hindsight, I am wishing we had taken pictures of him at all those places.
Well, Smokey has gone to to the big fishbowl in the sky now. This is a first time for my kids to deal with death first hand. My eldest son (ES) seems to be taking it harder than my younger son.
We asked the boys what they would like to do for a funeral for Smokey. We offered the burial-at-sea-via-the-toilet or the bury-in-the-back-yard options. ES didn't want either. The toilet seemed to undignified, and he said Smokey wouldn't want to be buried in Washington because he's a Virginia fish. We convinced the boys we should bury him here at our new home in Washington.
Actually, in order to calm ES down, my wife told him we would exhume Smokey when we leave Washington in a few years and head back to the east coast, and take him back to VA for a proper burial.
...Being a Virginia fish and all.
We're hoping ES forgets by then.
It was a spectacularly gorgeous day in Washington. Here my wife and son dig a grave for Smokey in our back yard.
So long, Smokey. You will be missed.