Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Moby Dick the Goldfish

Among the surprise attractions of our new home in PA were the outdoor koi pond and the built-in goldfish pond on the porch. While feeding the fish and maintaining the tanks I started reminiscing on the water features we had growing up.

One summer (in the mid 1960's?), while we were living on Willow Street, Dad decided he wanted to build a waterfall on the lawn. That house was perched on the side of a hill, with the lawn being a series of terraces with rather steep banks. That lot had no flat ground at all.

The waterfall was designed with a lower reservoir and an upper reservoir connected by a waterway with stones to create rapids. The whole thing was made with concrete. It took a lot of digging. At that age I thought we would never be done! Back then there was no Reddi-mix. We had to mix the concrete on site after hauling the sand, gravel and cement up with the wheelbarrow!

Eventually everything was finished. With the pump plugged in we had a burbling brook at our command. I don’t know what happened to the waterfall when we moved. Maybe we just filled it in with dirt?

Another summer Dad got what must have been a small concrete septic tank that was set into the hillside at the top of the walk to the house. (Dad must have been working at W.E. Cloutier’s at the time.) We painted it pink (a mixture of old paint?). It was big enough to hold a couple of goldfish.

Soon one of the fish got so big we named him Moby Dick. I remember searching the lawn to look for grasshoppers to feed him. He would come right up to the surface of the water, grab his bug and head below to enjoy his meal.

He was pretty tough, too. Once we came home from swimming and found Moby Dick on the grass. We got there in time. He revived soon after being placed back in the water. We never knew if he jumped out or if someone had malevolently taken him out.

Things didn’t turn out well for Moby Dick in the end. He was spending winter in one of the kitchen sinks. Accidentally, Dad spilled some bleach into Moby Dick’s side when he was sterilizing his dentures. The poor fish didn’t last long after that.

Below are some pictures of my current fish facilities.