a fish named Edmond

I can’t say whether it was because the road was closed and I had been forced to take an unexpected detour or because when I arrived the shop was a totally different color, even the door, than when I had seen it last, making me doubt for a second whether I was in the right place or not.  But whatever the reason, I entered without even glancing at the one hundred fifty gallon tank just inside the door.  This was out of character for me because normally I greeted the occupant of the tank before engaging with anyone else.

Had I bothered to look, I would have seen that the tank was empty.  I would have known in that moment that Edmond was gone.   But I didn’t look and so I proceeded to make conversation with the beauty shop owner as if nothing was amiss, as if nothing was changed in our ordinary day to day world.  The empty fish tank however, silently told a different story.

Now Edmond was a real people person (well except for the fact that he was a fish). Edmond had personality plus, poise, pizzazz; he was a real people pleaser if you will (again except for the fact of him being a fish).  Edmond got along great with people but not so much with other fish.  Actually, Edmond ate other fish.  Now you understand why he had the one hundred fifty gallon tank all to himself, don’t you?  So Edmond lived alone but he wasn’t lonely at all.

Edmond was the shop’s official mascot and greeter.  Everyone paid their respects to him as they entered and exited the shop.  He was also quite the topic of conversation and provided entertainment of sorts to waiting customers.  Edmond fulfilled his many duties faithfully each day as only he could.

Edmond was far from his original home.  He was a Red Devil Cichlid from Africa. His most distinguishing feature and my favorite, was the large knot or hump on the top of his head.  This gave him the appearance of being a thinker, of being deep in thought at all times, kind of a furrowed brow thing going on.  Personally, Edmond reminded me of Winston Churchill.  He just needed glasses and a bow tie.

I never thought that I was particularly attached to Edmond until the day he wasn’t there to greet me and to bid me farewell.  Edmond is the only fish I have ever known.  All my pets have been of the four-legged, furry variety, able to be held and petted and played with.  Turns out Edmond could do two out of those three.  He would swim up to the surface so his owner could pet him and he would follow my finger back and forth along the glass side of the tank.

I always felt Edmond understood me.  Again, probably because of that large knot on his forehead, giving him the look of the super intelligent.  It was like he had an oversized brain.  And in his wisdom, Edmond was a fish who kept his own counsel. He was privy to all the secrets shared daily in the beauty shop between cutter and customer.  Yet we could know that our secrets were safe with Edmond.  (after all, he lived alone in that big tank — who was he going to tell them to anyway?)

So I guess Edmond has taken my secrets with him to his grave.  I miss him.  Of all the fish in all the oceans, and all the lakes and all the rivers of the world; I had the privilege of knowing a fish named Edmond.  And Edmond had the honor of being known by name to many humans.  How many fish can put that on their resume? Before I met Edmond, I never knew there was such a thing as a Red Devil Cichlid fish.  Edmond stands (swam) as a testament to the infinite diversity and creativity of his Creator which surrounds us here on earth.  We just have to open our eyes to behold and to witness the beauty in all that He has made.  And when we do, we see that it is good!

“And God said, ‘Let the water teem with living creatures,’  . . .  So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, . . .  And God saw that it was good.”  (Genesis 1:20-21)

“All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all.”  Cecil Frances Alexander

Edmond, you were both wise and wonderful!  I will miss you.

sincerely,       Grace Day







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