There are a lot of fishes in there!

When my father was a little boy he had an aquarium. It seems that he had one for most of his childhood and adolescence, caring for fish, observing them and studying them, enjoying their dreamy, kaleidoscopic presence in his life. But from the time he got married to Mom to a few years ago, we did not have fish.

Growing up we had hamsters, birds, a guinea pig, and more recently, cats. But for some reason, Dad’s piscine dream was never realized. A couple of years ago Dad turned 50, and I wanted to do something special for his birthday, because dreams get tired if they are not realized for too long. So. First order of business was to get both of my siblings involved to provide technical assistance and financial resources in Operation Ichthy.

Then we did some research on craigslist, called around, found what we needed a mere hour’s drive away, on the other side of San Diego, and headed out. I felt a bit silly driving in our silver minivan, two kids in tow, with my $50, down towards the Mexican border to pick up a fish tank. We probably spent half that sum for the gas alone. Anyway, to make the story short, we brought the goods back home and while Dad was out shopping for party gear (you know, the usual: disco ball, strobe lights, fog machine… I’m not even kidding) attempted to arrange everything behind the Christmas Tree. Surprisingly, the tree was furry enough and the concept of an aquarium hiding behind it so unexpected, that nobody noticed it there.

Then I planned a little treasure hunt for Dad to follow clues and get to the Christmas Tree for his present. He had no idea what was coming, so he followed the clues, guessed the riddles, and finally…peeked behind the tree! It was so exciting to see him genuinely glad and surprised to find that aquarium, filled, lighted, with little red fishes swimming in it! More importantly, it was gladdening to see this little project to the end because it signified the realization of a major dream.

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