I just got back from a short trip to Hebron, Kentucky. Hebron is a small community that is about fifteen miles from Cincinnati. The reason I went there is because my best friend, Lynn, had to attend a two-day training session for her company and she asked me if I wanted to go with her. Since I have some free time on my hands, I said, “Yes.” We left out on Tuesday morning and her training began on Wednesday. So we had Tuesday night to do something together, and the remaining time I would be on my own. Before we left for our trip, I had done some research on the internet and I had picked out two things that I could do while I was there. I was either going to the Cincinnati Zoo or I would go to the New Port Aquarium.
We arrived in Hebron about four o’clock Tuesday afternoon. After we checked into the hotel, I talked to the hotel concierge, and he gave me map to help me find my way around. I took the map back to the room and studied it for a few minutes. If you read my story “The Official Driver and The Official Navigator”, then you are well aware of the fact that I am not good with directions. Since I would be traveling by myself, I decided that I had better stay away from Cincinnati, so I decided to go to the aquarium instead. Lynn and I traveled to New Port later that evening to get a bite to eat. I didn’t have any idea where I was going, but by some miracle, I drove directly into New Port. I was pretty impressed with myself, and just when I was trying to find a place to park, I took a wrong turn and ended up a one way street and crossing the bridge that connects Kentucky with Ohio. Lynn looked over at me and said, “Well, you were determined that we were going to Cincinnati tonight, weren’t you?” Once we entered Cincinnati and got off the bridge we had to stop at a traffic light. Something caught my eye and I looked down, and I’ll be damned my gas light wasn on, and I knew there wouldn’t be a gas station in downtown Cincinnati, so I began to get nervous. I said, “Crap! My gas light’s on.” Lynn said, “We’re lost.”, and I said, “I’m not worried about getting lost, I’m concerned about running out of gas.” The light turned green and I turned left and not wanting to go into Cincinnati any further, I did a u-turn right in front of the Cincinnati Red’s stadium. I laughed and looked over at Lynn and said, “We’re not lost. I know exactly where we’re going.” Lynn said, “I hope so.” and she just shook her head and held on. After we went back over the bridge, I found a parking spot. We had a nice supper and then we returned to the hotel.
Anyway, I made it just fine the next day on my trip back to New Port and to the aquarium. I love going to different aquariums, because you can see some very unusual fish and some of the most beautiful fish. My favorites parts are the tropical fish section and the coral section because they are absolutely stunning. It was a perfect day to visit the aquarium because it was the middle of the week and there was only a hand full of people there. I spent nearly three hours looking at everything and taking picture after picture and talking to the other people I ran into. On the way back to the hotel, I started thinking about how beautiful the fish were and how much I missed not have an aquarium at home.
LP and I use to have a 33 gallons hexagon aquarium that sat on a beautiful oak stand. It was hard getting the aquarium started at first because it seemed like every time we bought a new fish, it would either die or another fish would make a meal of the new comer. After about six months of trial and error, we found the right balance of fish and they all seemed to get along just fine. We had three blue colored Tetra; one named Fred, one named Ethel, and the other was named Eddie George (named after the Tennessee Titans football player). We had three Angelfish named Sarah McLachlan, Patty Loveless and Alanis Morissette. We had five Black Skirt Tetra named “The Five Skirts”, and a half a dozen Neon Tetra, which we never named. We had the aquarium floor covered with colored marble rocks and there were three plants positioned close to the edges of the tank and some fake coral in the center of the tank. It was a very beautiful aquarium and every night after I got home from work, I would sit and stare at the tank for a while because it relaxed me so much.
We had this balance of fish for almost two years and then one of the fish got something they call fish ich. I am not sure how the fish got ich, but I think it was when we put a new fish in the tank. As soon as we realized that one of the fish had ich, we went to the fish store and bought some medicine to put in the tank. The new fish died and then Ethel got ich, and after a few days of having ich, she died. When I got home from work, LP told me that Ethel had died and I was so sad. I thought, “What’s Fred going do without Ethel?” We continued putting medicine in the tank each day, but Fred came down with ich next and he died. Two of “The Skirts” died and every one of the Neon Tetra died; now only Eddie, Sarah, Patty, Alanis and three skirts remained in our tank. The aquarium looked so empty and I was depressed because all the fish had been dying off one by one. We continued giving them the ich medicine and after two months they all seemed to heal and they seemed to be doing fine. We didn’t want to buy more fish because we were concerned that it would infect our now healthy fish with some other disease. So, we keep the fish we had, and they grew bigger and bigger, and I grew more and more fond of each surviving fish.
About six months after the ich epidemic, I got a phone call at work. Darlene, the receptionist, buzzed my office and said, “CJ. LP is on the phone for you.” I picked up the receiver and said, “Hey! What’s up?” LP said, “Are you sitting down?” I said, “Yes. Why; what’s wrong?” LP said, “I don’t know how to tell you this except just to tell you. Eddie died this morning.” Immediately I started crying. LP said, “I was afraid you were gonna take it hard.” We talked for a few minutes and after we hung up, I sat there and cried. I suppose that Darlene must have heard me crying because she came into my office and asked, “CJ? What’s wrong?” Through my sniffling, I replied, “Eddie George just died.” She looked shocked and I thought she was going to cry too. She said, “What happened? How did he die?” I replied, “He had ich.” She said, “Ich? What is that?” I said, “It’s a disease that fish get.” She asked, “How did Eddie George get ich?” I answered, “I guess he got it from another fish. There was an epidemic, remember?” She said, “Hum. Really? I didn’t know humans could get diseases from fish.” Then I was confused and I said, “Humans don’t get ich.” She said, “Well how did Eddie get ich then?” I said, “Because Eddie’s a fish. Who did you think I was talking about?” She said, “The football player. Remember Eddie George? Your favorite Tennessee Titan?” I said, “Oh no, not Eddie! Eddie’s fine. I hope!” Then she giggled and said, “CJ. I have seen people cry over a lot of things, but I have never seen anyone cry over a dead fish.” Then we both started laughing and Darlene gave me a hug and said, “Look at the bright side. You may have lost your fish, but you still have your running back.”
Eddie was the last fish to die from ich. We had Sarah, Patty, Alanis and “The Three Skirts” for three more years and they gave me, LP and the cat, Chloe, hours of pleasure just watching them swim around in their tank. When we decided to get rid to the fish tank, we gave all the fish to one of LP’s co-workers. About a month after we had given the fish away, I started thinking about them. I asked LP, “How are fish doing; do you know?” LP said, “I was hoping you wouldn’t ask me that, but since you did I have to tell you. They’re all dead.” I said, “Dead? He’s only had them a month and they are all dead? ” LP replied, “The only thing I know is that Patty jumped out of the tank the first night and he found her on the floor the next morning. As far as the rest of them go, I didn’t ask. I just know they’re dead.” All the sudden I pictured Patty, Sarah, Alanis and “The Three Skirts” swimming around in the aquarium and then tears came to my eyes. LP came over and hugged me and patted me on the back and said, “It’s going to be alright. Go ahead and let it out. It’s okay to cry.” And I did. I cried for a little bit, and then I thought about what Darlene had said, and I started laughing. I looked up at LP and said, “I’m so silly to cry over something like dead fish.” LP grinned and said, “Well look at the bright side. At least you weren’t at work this time when I told you.” And we both started laughing. 😛