Thursday, December 8, 2011

O Christmas Tree: Tish the Fish

I haven't had a lot to say lately, this being my favorite (and busiest) time of year.

Truth be told, I've been much better at keeping The Hungry Little Blackbird current and up to date for once. (That never happens, in case you're wondering.)

But I miss you. I really do. I miss telling stories and feeling like my quiet little life matters.

So in lieu of some brilliant, meaningful post, I reckon I'm going to tell you about a Christmas ornament or two (and maybe some traditions) this month and call it good. Who knows, maybe if you're good little readers, I'll even regale you with tales of New Year's resolutions in a couple weeks.

Kidding, of course. I'm terrible at those damn things.

On to the ornament...

This is "Tish the Fish." Silly little thing, isn't she? I bought her about five years ago, the first Christmas Dom and I had in the new Eagle River apartment. I'd planned on forgoing a tree that year because I was strapped for cash and I honestly thought Dom was too young to really care. He wouldn't know the difference, right?


Thank goodness for mamas. Mine sent an emergency Christmas tree fund and we headed down to our local hardware store in search of our towering pine. That was the year we learned the ugly truth about price gouging in Alaska. See, it's not limited to gas, milk, fresh fruit, or rent. Seems it flows straight into the Christmas season, too. Humbug!

So, with our beautiful, half bald Charlie Brown Christmas tree sitting in the front seat (it was small enough to be wedged in the floor board and we were so worried the wind from the back of the truck would blow off the few remaining needles that Dom and I chanced it--he worried and fretted from his carset in the back), we made our way home.

But the problem with starting over is that you usually start with little to nothing. And that includes decorations. (Who thinks of holiday decorations in the summer when you move into a new place?)

So that first Christmas, Dom and I found an old paint pail around the back of the building and lodged the trunk between two rocks. We filled it with water, admired it a few seconds and headed out to the local super store to get whatever decorations we can find on what's left of our miniature holiday budget. Turned out, it wasn't much after the obligatory twinkly lights and small glass balls that every tree must have, according to a three year old.

We had enough left for one single "special" ornament to start our collection with. We couldn't decide between a hanging manger or a polyresin snowman and my boy child and I haggled back and forth for a good 15 minutes before we saw her.

She made us both laugh. We couldn't believe this sparkly, glittery fish was staring at us from a top hook--all alone and abandoned. It was almost as if Tish the Fish knew she didn't have a chance in hell in finding a spot on a typical Christmas tree and she'd all but given up. I mean, she was all dressed up in all that makeup and fabulous eyebrow tweezing with no place to go...the proverbial last girl standing at the school dance. I guess I could relate.

Who better to celebrate with us that year than a renegade purple lady fish that had absolutely nothing to do with the holiday? Exactly.

So Tish the Fish came home with us and, somehow, shows up every year. It's amazing with the moves and the kids pawing through ornaments like they're made of titanium. But there she is. And there she'll stay as long as she wants to come back each year.

Our tree and our family have grown in the years that followed and to look at our family Christmas tree today, you'd hardly know there was a time when I tied yarn around Hot Wheels and plastic army men to second as ornaments when I found glaring bare spots. Now we've got handmade next to hand blown and they all tell a story. But it all started with one purple fish with giant red glitter lips.

Merry Christmas, Tish the Fish! Here's to five great years...

And Merry Christmas to you, too.




  1. I LOVE the sentiment behind Tish the Fish! Love it! These are the BEST stories~!

  2. Yay for Tish the Fish! What an awesome ornament, especially with such a sweet history!