The day after she was laid to rest, we went to clean out grandma's house. That was when I found the treasure. Not buried. Not hidden behind a painting or under the mattress, but unnoticed, like an unpolished diamond, in full sight. Even though it was encased in glass, it was one of those things that was easily over looked and undervalued.
Surveying it from all sides and angles, I was moved. Peering through the green slime and wrinkling my nose against the algae smell, I marveled. How had it survived, not only grandma's two year absence in the convalescent hospital, but the countless years before? Trying to be fair, I offered it to all the other family members first. I didn't want to be accused of being one of "those" relatives who fought over the possessions of the dead. No one was the least bit interested.
"You take it," they all said.
At the end of the day, I carefully packed up my inheritance. Once at home, I found just the right location for the display case. Gingerly removing the contents, I washed, cleaned, filled it with water and put everything back in place except the star of the show. With extra care, I polished the glass until it gleemed like a crystal ball.
Taking the final item, gently cocooned in a little mesh net, I set it inside the tank. I held my breath until it started to move. With a splish and a splash and a flip and a flash of tail, it was off. Jamming over the trees and under the castle. Jumping out of the water. Nestling into the sand. This was no ordinary gold fish. This was Bob Marley.
Oh, how I loved Bob Marley...as much as any dog I'd ever owned. He grew to be a symbol of grandmother's love for her family. He also grew quite large in size. To keep him from being lonely, I bought a couple more gold fish, Iggy and Ziggy, for company. Bob tolerated them for a while, but, one by one, he knocked them off. He liked being the only big fish in a small tank.
When he was about 10 years old, he started getting white spots on his gold, scaly skin. I thought he was sick with Ick, a fish disease. I gave him medicine but instead of clearing up, it spread all over his body. Turned out he wasn't ill, he was just so old his color changed from gold to a silvery white.
How old was Bob? I don't really know, but he was at least 12 years old when he swam off through the ethers to the other side. That's a long time on Earth for a fish. Bob Marley and grandma are together again, floating through the cosmos to a great reggae beat. Sometimes, late at night when the world is still and quiet, I can faintly hear them singing:
"Yeah, we're jamming, jamming
I wanna jam it with you
We're jamming, jamming
I'm jammed, I hope you're jamming too." --Bob Marley
The story of Bob Marley and Me is true. Visit here for other Magpie Tales.