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The Great Fish Soup Caper

January 8, 2007

The recurrence of Coolidge’s diabetes, his finicky eating, and requirements for handfeeding bring to mind last summer’s Great Fish Soup Caper. I shall attempt to extract a distorted moral metaphor to make it worth telling.

He wouldn’t eat. My husband and I spent every other evening at different stores, bringing home different low-carb flavors of food for him to try. He snubbed everything. We knew he was hurting. I was scared my cat was going to starve to death at 19 pounds: that is the sinister nature of hepatic lipidosis.  My refrigerator was full of opened, partially full cans of cat food. Nothing was working.After days of this, I was in tears. I called Johnny’s Fish Market, down on the waterfront. I spoke with a guy who had an accent that sent me back to the shops and smells of my aunt’s Bay Ridge neighborhood in Brooklyn.“Yeah, I got some heads. Sure, for de cat? Yous betcha,” he assured me.

I called my husband at work, asked him to meet me at Johnny’s. We converged on the fish market simultaneously. We walked in solemn, broken people.

“I’m here for my cat.”

“Sure, for de cat.” The guy was quintessential Bay Ridge, all right. He brought out a bag of frozen salmon heads, spines, and tails with meat attached. We returned home with our trove and set up the propane grill outdoors. Might as well let the neighbors in on our fun.

We simmered the salmon parts in a big pot on the grill out on the deck that beautiful July evening. The bones melted and the broth thickened. The puree turned a beautiful salmon-pink color. When it cooled, we presented some to Coolidge.

He snubbed it.

Two days later he had a feeding tube; the rest is history, as you can read at the link to Dr. Comer’s site.

I was paralyzed with fear of losing him then. But now I can think about it, turn the crystal and see another facet. How many perfect, amazing, wonderful blessings does God prepare for me, every day, and I snub them? Isn’t such rejection just like the dog returning to its vomit? But I’m not a dog; God keeps turning me around again, toward him, toward the source, the font of every blessing. Does not he who will quicken my decayed body quicken my spirit continually? Whether or not I am receiving his signal, he is there, working imperceptible sanctifying graces.

But you were no doubt wondering what became of those six quarts of salmon puree. We froze it, and months later, acquired our chickens, who ate it with alacrity. But I’m not a replacement theologian, so a proper metaphor is lost on me for now.

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