Rais­ing Elvis in an ugly bowl

Greenwich Time - - NEWS - By The Rev. Drew Wil­liams The Rev. Drew Wil­liams is the se­nior pas­tor of Trin­ity Church.

Just re­cently, we re­mod­eled our kitchen. I know this is some­thing of an ex­treme sport in Green­wich. But this was our first foray into this es­o­teric art, and I have to say, I was rather pleased with the out­come.

The walls are a very at­trac­tive “Paris rain,” and ab­so­lutely not a sludgy kind of grey­ish-green. Paris rain is clearly a more de­sir­able brand of rain color than, say, “Detroit driz­zle,” “Spring­field show­ers,” or “Cleve­land cats and dogs.” I like to think that as one is emp­ty­ing the dish­washer one could be tak­ing a walk along the banks of the Seine, the mar­ble coun­ter­tops misted in a fine rain like a Ni­co­las-Jean-Bap­tiste Raguenet paint­ing, the bells of Notre Dame sound­ing some­where near the re­frig­er­a­tor.

So imag­ine my hor­ror when, into all this Parisian kitchen haute cou­ture, a very large gold­fish bowl — com­plete with bright pink plas­tic weed, a bub­ble ma­chine, and its own in­te­rior light­ing — ap­peared on the mar­ble coun­ter­top. Monet would turn in his grave.

The fish bowl is home to Sap­phire, a blue gold­fish who to my mind looks a lit­tle bit like Elvis Pres­ley. Sap­phire, com­plete with a blue quaff, has sole oc­cu­pancy of her splen­did glass palace. Sap­phire is also the beloved aquatic friend of my 10-year-old (and youngest daugh­ter) Olivia. This sum­mer marked the his­toric mo­ment when both her older sis­ters de­parted for col­lege, and into our greatly re­duced house­hold Sap­phire ar­rived, com­plete with a trea­sure chest, a be­jew­eled sunken bridge, and her own plas­tic ham­mock!

In truth, I had been dread­ing the day when three sis­ters de­creased to one. It was bad enough when my el­dest went to col­lege, but the thought of two empty bed­rooms and two empty chairs at the kitchen ta­ble (a rather nice dis­tressed grey oak that looks mar­velous against the Paris rain walls) was painful. I pre­tended not to, but of course I was count­ing down the en­tire sum­mer un­til the mo­ment of doom ac­tu­ally hap­pened: The two older girls ex­ited, and the blue gold­fish ar­rived.

But here is the thing. I love that ugly bowl. I love it be­cause it is ex­actly the sort of home that a 10-year-old would de­light in giv­ing to a blue gold­fish called Sap­phire. I love it be­cause in a month of Sun­days it would never once have oc­curred to me, “What does our new kitchen need? I know — let’s get a gi­ant, lu­mi­nous gold­fish bowl that looks as though a small piece of Las Ve­gas has landed in our kitchen next to the toaster! That’s ex­actly what we need!” I love it be­cause Olivia loves it! I love it be­cause every morn­ing when I come down­stairs and turn on the aqua-lights, start up the bub­ble ma­chine, and see if Sap­phire is asleep in her ham­mock (yes, she ac­tu­ally sleeps in the plas­tic green leaf ham­mock), I re­mem­ber that I still have the joy of see­ing life through the eyes of a fifth-grader.

We get an­other crack at this ad­ven­ture called par­ent­ing, and I am go­ing to do my best to em­brace every sin­gle neon, bub­bling, iri­des­cent mo­ment of it. I love that fishy snow-globe trib­ute to Times Square, be­cause every morn­ing it says to me, seize the day, take hold the present, take hold of the lit­tle hand that faith­fully feeds this lit­tle blue Elvis fish and cher­ish, cher­ish, cher­ish every mo­ment. “To ev­ery­thing there is a sea­son, and a time to every pur­pose un­der the heaven.” (Ec­cle­si­astes 3:1).

The Rev. Drew Wil­liams

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