A few weeks ago, my daughter Helena brought home a tiny goldfish from her school’s Relay for Life celebration. The event is a big one at our kids’ school, and everybody turns out to fundraise by selling food, running games, and peddling small items–including, it seems, fish.

Helena walked in the door with her new pet in a plastic bag filled with water, and soon Charlene was swimming around in a tiny bowl. Darting side to side, exploring her surroundings, rising to the surface for a flake of food.

In just a short time, we’d gotten used to seeing Charlene. We’d even begun singing to her–“Charlene, Charlene, Charlene,” to the tune of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.”

A couple of days ago, though, Charlene started to look a tad droopy, and yesterday she passed on to the big pond in the sky. Helena and Bruce laid her to rest in the back garden, and Helena said she was going to miss her friend.

“Hey, can I get another fish?” she asked a few minutes later.

Maybe we can actually name this one Jolene.


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