30 December 2011
The Mysterious Disappearance of Lucy and Ethel
If you're thinking that the title is a clue as to why Lucy Ricardo and Ethel Mertz have left the television scene, except on Nick at Night, then you're wrong.
Lucy and Ethel were two goldfish who swam in our little pond for about seven years. They arrived in a plastic baggie, along with 5 other small bowl-size fish about an inch and a half long (the kind that sit in a kid's room until they go to fish heaven). After a year or so, it was determined by our fish pond guy (aka husband Doug) that the pond could not sustain 7 fish, so five were taken to Ponds 'N More on Ruthrauff and exchanged for water iris and other pond plants. Everyone and thing was seemingly happy until this past November when Doug announced "No more fish. It's too much. I'm taking Lucy and Ethel to the pond store." I wailed and gnashed my teeth but to no avail. He did promise that that the waterfall and pond plants would remain. The irises in the spring are soooo beautiful and the horsetail is exotic and both of them need little care. So he transferred the "girls" – now 7 inches long – to a holding pond (in actuality a large, round, black 30-gallon tub) constantly filled with water from a small waterfall, where they apparently swam happily awaiting their transfer to the pond store until that fateful late November day.
The day began like any other: Doug working in the backyard, me on the computer, until he came huffing and puffing into my office: "The fish are gone!" Me, incredulous: "What?" He, exasperated: "THE FISH ARE GONE!" Naturally, I had to run outside and look for them, as if I'd find tiny tail marks in the mud (it'd been raining for a couple of days) that would indicate they'd put their dorsal fins on their hips, stood upright and marched out of the yard, indignant at having lost their wonderful home. Nope, no tail marks, and no apparent claw marks on the edge of the tub that would indicate our neighborhood bobcat had gone fishing either. We considered birds of prey but dismissed them as they'd need swooping-room which the tub wouldn't provide. So, for 4 days, the mystery deepened, with no apparent solution in sight.
Then, at about 8:30 one morning, the thief appeared! Standing four and a half feet tall at the edge of the tub, straight as a stick, he smugly awaited his next feeding. I spotted him through the sliding glass doors as I walked from the kitchen into the dining room. The tub was close to the edge of the patio located just outside of the doors. At first I was astonished. I'd never thought they were in the neighborhood; they hang at the edge of lakes and there is no lake close to us. Then, I got mad, infuriated. I knew what he'd done to Lucy and Ethel (don't think it about it, it's too sad).
But the gall of his returning to the scene of his crime was too much. Although I tried to keep my voice low, my calling Doug's name to have him come and bear witness to the murderer's return was too loud, and off he took, his huge wingspread lifting him up and over the backyard wall. In all honesty, he was graceful in flight; this I must admit. Two days later he appeared again, this time on the top of our house roof, crowing or cawing his victory (I don't know if he caws, crows or sqawks) . He thinks he's won. He thinks our backyard is now his. Uh-uh. No, my little friend; no fish for you – we're the fish Nazi's. His photo is attached for you to see. I'm sure you figured out his blue-grey identity.