One for the record book?

How many aquariums can one family buy in a week? Unless you’ve bought three or more, we’ve got the New Albany record. And we already had two.

It’s a long story, but fortunately (for me), it will fit in the space for this column. So here goes.
A year ago I wrote how we had moved several fish from Alabama to New Albany because Jenny didn’t want to part with them when we relocated here.
We had gotten into the home aquarium business after Jenny’s elementary school class four years ago got several small plastic fish tanks and some guppies as part of a science lab project. In fact, all the classes got them. When the project was over, teachers asked parents if they would like to have their children bring home a couple of guppies.
Of course, some parents balked at the idea. At the end of the year, some teachers just dumped their leftover guppies in the schoolyard. But Jenny, being Jenny, didn’t.
All of a sudden we had a home aquarium, a stand, a filter, a heater and an assortment of stuff to treat the water and feed the fish. The fish population soon expanded to include tropical fish and catfish.
After a couple of months, Jenny concluded the guppies (all seven of them) didn’t get along with the other fish so she put them back into the small plastic tank she had brought home from school. They’ve been there on the kitchen counter ever since with no filter and no heater. She just changes the water a couple of times a week and feeds them.
The other fish have the fancy digs in the large aquarium on a stand in the kitchen.
Over the years, the guppies have dwindled to four. But they just keep on swimming.
Soon, we’re going out of town for a week to visit our kids and grandkids. Ten days ago Jenny announced that we needed to get a small aquarium with a filter because the guppies couldn’t last that long without a filtered tank.
Surely, we’re not going to buy another aquarium for four guppies? I thought. But being smarter than I look, I kept my mouth shut and went to Walmart. I bought the only small glass aquarium on the shelf. When I got it home, Jenny unsealed the box and reached in to lift it out. Blood started running down her hand. Despite being packed in Styrofoam, the glass was broken in several places.
Saturday we went to PetSmart in Tupelo and found a similar one made of plastic. We carted the box home, opened it up and discovered the plastic top only covered part of the aquarium. Our cat would have had fish for dinner.
What to do? We went back to Walmart and found the store had been resupplied. This time we unsealed the box and checked it out in the store. Perfect. We bought 10 pounds of aquarium gravel and came home.
All was well until I went into the kitchen and noticed Jenny was rinsing the aquarium gravel in a strainer over the garbage disposal. The strainer holes were too large and some had fallen through.
You guessed it. The garbage disposal was jammed. After a Sunday afternoon trip to Lowe’s to buy a disposal wrench, I got the gravel dislodged. The disposal works; the aquarium works.
You gotta love those guppies. Or not.

T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by phone at 662-534-6321 or by e-mail at