So, I have met my husband of the future, and didn't know it yet. And then there was Jack.
My heart skips a beat when I think about him. His beautiful eyes, his glowing golden skin. The way he captured the heart of many others...young and old, male and female alike. At least 35 people claimed to love Jack, and that was just at my last count. And the reason why I speak of Jack in the past tense, well, he is no longer with us. He is swimming with the fishes. Actually, Jack WAS a fish......a goldfish to be exact.
I taught preschool at Beverly Hills Preschool in Alexandria, VA and Jack was the classroom pet. Jack was just your ordinary, run of the mill, 10 cent feeder goldfish that I picked up at Wal-mart. But the second I carried him into the classroom, he became a celebrity. We had been studying fairy tales, and that week, we had been talking about Jack and the Beanstalk. The children had all planted beans in little baby food jars and they were sprouting nicely on the window sill. I plunked Jack, in his glorious goldfish bowl, right there next to the sprouts. The kids took a vote, and Jack had a name.
Jack grew during that school year, he survived going home with every single student for a weekend, Christmas break, and Easter break too. He was an amazing fish. Made of some really tough stuff.
At the completion of that school year, Jack was getting thrown out of his home on his ear. He needed a new home because I had no place for him to live. I was taking a little time out from teaching to work on my graduate studies, and be a part time nanny. So, I started asking around to see if anyone had a tank. But it couldn't be just anyone that took Jack, it had to be someone really special. I asked around the Meat Market. Indeed, Eben had a tank. I felt pitiful for Eben, living all alone in that apartment, how he must need a friend. A friend like my Jack. So, I let Eben have ownership of my beloved fish. We met up, and Jack went home with his new friend.
A couple of months later, Eben was hosting a barbecue for several of the singles at his apartment, and not only did I want to visit with some of my church friends, I wanted to see Jack. So I went. Jack had grown enormous in size. He was obviously very happy living with Eben.
Why am I dedicating an entire post to a goldfish? Something happened during that trip to Eben's apartment. I saw him with new eyes. He was different, changed somehow. He had stopped smoking. And the girl that he had been interested in had sort of brushed him off and steered him in a different direction. It was at that visit, where I thought that I was just visiting my goldfish, my heart was drawn to a magnificent guy! And I felt the need to show him that I cared. That we could be really great friends. (Little did I know that he would become my best friend!)
I did something really silly and embarrassing then, and the others that were visiting his apartment that day, took note of my actions. I started washing his dishes. I know, it doesn't seem like a terribly romantic gesture, but if you know me....there are two things that I detest doing. Laundry, and, you guessed it....dishes. And I didn't really mind doing his dishes at all!
If you fast forward this story about 7 months, you would see Jack, getting loaded into a Tupperware container on our wedding day, and getting chauffeured from Alexandria, VA to his new home in Duluth, MN by my new brother and sister-in-law. He was a traveling fish! Jack was just too special to both of us to leave behind. In a sense, Jack was a part of our family, the fish who started this whole crazy marriage.
There are so many other tidbits about our courtship that I cannot wait to share with you. Softball? Trumpet? or Coffee? Decisions, Decisions.
What became of Jack, you ask? Well, Jack survived our first 6 months in MN. But it was when we moved to our first real house, that Jack perished. His fishtank water had not been properly prepared when he was put inside. I cried for days and days. But he lived a pretty full life, wouldn't you say?