Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Sunday, September 14, 2014

Feet Fishing

My friends and I were visiting/doing gymnastics on the living room rug.

This was long before I had six babies.
And said goodbye to the stomach muscles I knew and loved.
I should probably also point out that our living room was large.
Just not large enough.
Explanations are in order . . .
We had been doing forward and backward rolls.
Head stands.
Cartwheels.
Hand stands.
My personal favourite.
Now I was demonstrating the newly-discovered joys of the hand spring.
Something I had only recently become proficient at.
On the very large mats in our high school gym.
“It's really easy,” I told my friends. “You just start with a little . . . hop.”
I proceeded to demonstrate.
“Oooh!” my friends said. “Let's do that one!”
For the next few minutes, they tried.
With varying degrees of success.
“Okay, show us again,” one of them said.
Feeling rather important, I stepped to one side of the living room.
Put both hands into the air and hopped forward.
Hands came down neatly to the floor.
Feet came up.
Feet flipped over.
And this is that climactic moment where I came to grief.
I should explain that one wall of our living room was taken up by a large, brick fireplace.
It was beautiful.
And very functional.
With a large hearth.
Upon which our aquarium sat.
Complete with fish.
And fifteen gallons of water.
You've probably guessed that when rapidly-moving feet hit glass aquarium walls, something's definitely going to give.
And it's not the feet.
One of mine went right through the side of that aquarium.
Now I know you've seen how impressive a broken aquarium looks on TV and in movies.
With water and fish pouring out onto the floor.
It's really only impressive on the screen.
Because, in reality, it makes a huge mess.
And one can't do anything to stop it.
Even when one tries manfully to hold in the water.
With both hands.
With fish and water pouring everywhere, I screamed for my mother.
Who came running from the kitchen.
Tea towel in hand.
Vastly inadequate for the job at hand.
“Oh, my!” she said.
My mother was the master of the understatement.
The entire front room carpet was rapidly becoming victim to a small wall of water.
And helpless fish were flopping about everywhere.
I was standing in front of the aquarium with both hands out.
Accomplishing nothing.
In a flash, she had run to the kitchen and returned with a jar to collect fish and what water she could.
Then, theatrics over, the cleanup started.
This is where the movies are so much better.
You see the great aquarium die.
And the water and fish pour everywhere.
You just don't get to see the massive cleanup that follows.
And this was before the days of wet/dry vacuums.
We scraped water from that carpet, soaking it up with towels, for hours.
Who knew one aquarium could hold so much?
Finally, we were done.
Carpet still decidedly damp.
Aquarium gone. Little pot, with fish, where it had once stood.
And three teenagers banished to the yard.
For a moment, we sat there, staring at each other.
Then, “Hey!” I said. “Let me show you something!”
Ah, the indomitable, undaunted human spirit.
Undampened by set-backs.
So to speak.

20 comments:

  1. i love that irrepressible spirit! But, all that water!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ugh! That carpet was never dirtier. Or cleaner! :)

      Delete
  2. I'll bet you got the rest of the day off!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just about got the rest of my life off! :)

      Delete
  3. It doesn't take much water to make a huge mess.....a lot of water with fish stuff in it....yikes.

    ReplyDelete
  4. OH my, is right! - but not quite right!
    I remember vividly helping a friend clean her aquarium. Trip after trip to the bathroom to bail the water to the sink. Somehow, a fish ended up in the hallway, and I stepped on it in a return trip. My desire to have my own aquarium died that day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeeeuch! Stepped on a fish?! I'd have fainted right there . . .

      Delete
  5. You did paint a good or should I say a bad picture of this life event. I could fell the build up on this one. I got worried that maybe your feet got injured; I am happy that wasn't true. I can certainly imagine the mess and clean-up. I love how you tell the tales~ Blessings for this one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Surprisingly, the tank gave way with no mark on my foot! I guess the Lord protects the foolish . . .

      Delete
  6. Those are famous last words "Hey, liet me show you something..."*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I've heard those words too many times. Mostly from me . . .

      Delete
  7. Makes my head hurt to even think about getting that much water out of carpet ... I'm glad you weren't hurt, though! I think Rena has it right - there are a lot of bad things that follow that statement!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I remember our 25 gallon aquarium with tropical fish, safely tucked into a corner of the hallway, next to the phone, well out of the way of three rambunctious toddlers. I wish I had space for one of those now, it would amuse the cat for hours each day.
    Your mother certainly was the master of understatement, "Oh my!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You obviously did a better job of putting your aquarium in an 'appropriate place'! Yeah. We failed.
      Mom could put so much into a few words . . .

      Delete
  9. Used to have a 35 gallon tank full of cyclids. I can only imagine what kind of mess ANY number of gallons would make to a living room carpet!

    Pearl

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sooo . . . had to go look up cyclids! I thought they were some kind of bug! 35 gallons of water?! My heart quakes . . .

      Delete
  10. Wow - what a mess. I must say, your mom seems to have been the most patient person on the planet!

    ReplyDelete

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