I recently went to a friend’s art show which had a koi fish theme. My boyfriend and I make a point of supporting Bret Taylor’s art wherever possible because he is really talented and all around a nice man. We had a really good time, all standing around chatting and swapping fish stories.
Once upon a time, my son decided he wanted a fish. It was a beta and it lived happily in a tank on the kitchen counter. As established in many prior blog posts, my cats are jerks. They liked to stalk the fish tank and loiter around it as reminder of their status as predators, likes jocks in high school lingering around a nerd’s locker. A friend warned me that the health and safety of our fish was at risk, but I was reluctant to accept that my cats were THAT big of jerks. I was totally wrong, and that beta should have been in some kind of marine life relocation program. One morning I awoke to a fish tank knocked over, the prior occupant missing, and all the water and gravel all over the floor, in my sneakers and in my COACH purse. Mama was not happy. This was the end of fish at Mommy’s house, but not at Daddy’s.
My son convinced his father to purchase and host a replacement fish. The other day I phoned for a night time call and was advised “You are on speaker phone with my fish, mommy.” I’m not sure what kind of information I was expected to censor with such an audience. Another time, my son announced “My fish is near death. I need to set up a video camera to monitor his condition from your house. Never mind, he’s fine. Like me, he likes to fake his own death.” Earlier this year my son had faked his own kidnapping, sneaking out of his bed and hiding in the blankets on the sofa so I would struggle to find him, bleary eyed in the morning. Like the fish from our kitchen counter, our son was gone! Or so I thought. He laughed and laughed.
I always thought it was funny that my mom decided to put me in fishing lessons as a kid. This turned out to be rather handy as I grew up to be a single mom and taught my son how to fish. He caught his first fish and was so proud and excited. He decided that the only person who could cook his fish was my maternal grandfather and he swore he would share with him if he cooked it. Turns out my child is a scam artist and shared only the tiniest sliver with his great grandfather. My Papa was so proud cooking his fish even if he couldn’t eat it and they took this photo together.
Fish hold a lot of joyful, cultural memories for our family. My great-uncle owns a fishing company in Port Hardy with a fleet of “Joye” boats, named for my beautiful cousin who works hard to keep our First Nations culture alive. My paternal grandpa always relished the opportunity to eat fishheads and reminisced about eating eulichans as a child. I tried some this summer just so I could tell him I knew what they tasted like. I took my son to a first salmon ceremony at the local Aboriginal Family Gathering and he was delighted. He is always happiest on salmon dinner nights at home with the family.
Building our family involved a lot of time on online dating sites, looking for the perfect match for me. For the uninitiated, a lot of men enjoy displaying their catches in photographs on their profiles. I have speculated this is to assure prospective matches that they will be well fed if lost in the wild. I have further fantasized about leaving the corporate world behind and starting a life as a photographer of men holding fish for dating purposes. I would only need one fish per day. For all my hunting and searching this year, I was thankfully reunited with the one that got away.
And that brings us back to Imagemakers Photographic Studio, standing around chatting and swapping fish stories, with the best catch I could hope to find at my side.