This true story is in honor of Mrs. Laurie Ford. A vibrant teacher, caregiver, and active story teller who passed away after a long, full life.
Thunk! I briefly move from sleep to sort of consciously awake. A few seconds later Thunk!! What was that I ask myself? I instinctively drag my sleepy self up to check it out. Flashlight in hand, I look down and see the cat staring intently at something on the floor.
“Ok, not this again”. Periodically, items will “fall” on the floor in the middle of the night for no apparent reason. I’ll come down and find the cat staring inquisitively at whatever the object is. I’m just as curious and have to wonder if the cat is up to something of if there is something else in the house.
My sleep filled eyes try desperately to focus on what is on the floor while my brain tries to process what it sees. It’s unbelievably familiar, but neither the cat or I recognize it. You know how you see something familiar, but you can’t place it? Then I shine the light closer and OMG!
It’s Fishy!! Fishy is a large goldfish and he’s just lying flat on the floor. Flat on his side, one eye open. Sporting one of those “well, that didn’t go as planned” look on his face.
Instantly I pick him up and put him in back the tank. He slowly swims around as if he’s just waking up. The clock says 2:30am and I have to wonder just what was going on.
Was he sleep swimming and dreaming he was a dolphin or maybe Shamu? Was he having a nightmare where some sea creature was chasing him? Or was this some experiment gone wrong or maybe right?
What was going through that fish brain as he broke the surface of the water and took flight in the total darkness. Was it “Yee-Haw” or was it “Oh Sh(@*!
And how about that fall in the pitch dark? It’s only 4 feet, but when you’re only 3 inches that’s a looong way. Was it like one of those bad dreams where you dream you’re falling and it just keeps coming? As he fell was he thinking “the water should be here; any minute now, any minute now”
Course, how about when he actually hit the floor? Did it hurt? Was he laughing so hard he didn’t realize what happened? And how about when the cat walked up? If laying on the floor wasn’t enough of an “oh crap” moment, when the cat walked up it certainly became one. When he saw the blinding, white flashlight was he thinking this is the end?
What about when I put him back in the tank? He swam very slowly. Was he going “Wow, I was just rescued”. Or was he thinking he had a bad dream? I don’t know, but the next morning when I walked up to the tank he was extra excited.
I do wish I would’ve had my camera handy because the look on his face while he on the floor was pretty funny.
Anyway, the important part of the story is this: For “some reason” I decided to sleep on the couch that night. If I had been upstairs, I wouldn’t have heard anything. I would’ve woken up to find him dead on the floor.
The cat that found him was the gentle one. The other cat that drinks out of the fish tank would’ve quickly enjoyed a late night snack.
My flashlight was readily available instead of down the hall in the kitchen cabinet. I could’ve stepped on him in the dark.
All of those “coincidences” added up to Fishy being rescued from his own mis-adventures.
I’ve had times in my life just like Fishy’s. I embark on something that doesn’t quite work as planned and I end up at rock bottom with a blank look on my face. I flounder, wondering what to do, my head full of more questions than answers; Why did I do that? What went wrong? How am I going to fix this? What was I thinking? Followed by the usual statements; I’m screwed, that was really dumb, that didn’t work at all, and I need help.
Sometimes what I thought was help ends up being another challenge. Hello up there; Are you not paying attention? Help and cat are not the same thing!
At just the right moment, something bigger than me, rescues me and gives me another chance. I try not to jump out of my tank, but occasionally that happens. There are times I’m tossed out of the tank. No matter what, I’ve always been rescued. Not always the way I expected or in the time I wanted, but always rescued.
I could wax verbose about what that means, but there’s one person who can sum it perfectly. Mrs. Ford would always smile, clasp her hands together and say very matter of factly “everything works out”.