Sunday, September 4, 2022

A Fish Tale...

 Sometimes in life we wind up with something that we don't really care about but maybe because someone that we do care about gave it to us, we hang onto it...for decades...even if it's really really weird...and kind of gross...

What in the world could I possibly be talking about? Why, "Sir Alfred von Toby, The Fish," of course! Here he is!

How did I come by this impressively fishy icon? Gather 'round and I'll tell you! (Not too close- notice the teeth!)

In the late 1970s, my parents went to Brazil on a mission trip. I, being a teenager in high school, stayed home and did things they would not have approved of (not too many things, but you know how it is).  When they came back, they brought me a couple of things from the jungle, such as a bow and arrow to hang on the wall, and a dead fish.

The fish is, of course, a piranha. Now don't be too concerned. One piranha won't bother  you. It's when they group up and try to impress all of their fishy friends that cows get stripped to the bone in 30 seconds. 

Oh, and they need to be alive too. 

Anyway, I put it on my dresser. And then when I went to college it came along...and got named. I don't remember how. It's a blur. Anyway, after college he came home with me. And stayed through several moves and a couple of wives. 

He's still here, obviously (and so is the wife). He's a little worse for wear. His fins are chipped and I had to glue him back on his base. Still I won't get rid of him. We've been together for almost 50 years. You don't just kick someone out after that long, even if they're a dead fish that would kill you if they were alive. Nothing personal!

Until next time, keep searching for...uh...treasure?


  1. I think this is a pretty cool item, especially because of the personal history attached to it. It reminds me of a shark's jaw (with teeth), which my brother acquired, shortly after JAWS was released in theaters. It also makes me think of the souvenir stuffed baby alligators that are plentiful in Florida. At least, I've seen a lot of them for sale in the Orlando area. I wonder if stuffed piranhas are still a "thing" in Brazil, today?

    1. You know, I didn't really think about it. If they became endangered like the aligators I can see them not selling them any more. Then again, there always seems to be a ton of them in those jungle movies!

  2. My first grade teacher, Mrs. Matthews, had a dried piranha on her desk that her son had brought back from Brazil. That was 1975-76, so the era was roughly the same.

    It just occurred to me that her desk was in the back of the classroom rather than the front like most teachers. She rarely spent any time back there while we were in the room - always working up front instructing or one-on-one with students. I always thought it was because she loved teaching, but maybe she was just creeped out by that dead, toothy fish. There was probably a reason she didn’t keep it in her house, where on nights with a full moon, it would - well, that’s too terrifying to contemplate. We did seem to go through an awful lot of custodians at that school, though.

    Mrs. Matthews is still one of my favorite teachers. She, along with my mother, helped instill in me a love of reading and history. And she never once let on that she knew I was making up a story about some cool thing I had done when it was obvious that I was doing so, encouraging a creative bent that has also served me well.

  3. Ah, yes, I've had my share of problems with Sir Alfred wandering the house in the dead of night. That's why I had to glue him back on his base!
    My 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Black, really got me into reading. She read all of the "Little House" books to us (long before there was a TV show). It never occurred to me that they could be considered "girls books," but some people do, There was plenty of boy adventure in there! Anyway, I just heard that she passed away a couple of weeks ago at the age of 103! So, maybe Mrs. Mathews is still around!

  4. I hope so. I know my principal from that school, Dr. Tracas, was still alive and kicking and very active as of a couple of years ago at something like 93. I need to try to write him if he’s still around. We lose those who make a difference in our lives all too soon. All too soon…

    The Little House books girlish? Balderdash! Even if I did borrow them from my sister’s friend to read the last six. Or have to borrow my wife’s copies every few years to reread them. Pay no attention to whatever pattern may be forming here - proud to say we organized two family vacations around visiting Laura Ingalls Wilder sites in Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Kansas, and Missouri. In fact, my Little House knowledge earned me the (dubious?) nickname of “Pa” amongst the other Scout leaders in our troop. And compared to Mrs. Chuck, I am a rank amateur.

    1. Wow! I am really impressed, "Pa!" Lol! That sounds like a great trip! Out of those states, I've been to two- and didn't visit any Little House sites while there. I'm a poser! Well, I guess there's still time!


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