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I Ate Popeye
Author Melody Lee
© Copyright 1996


    When my husband and I moved to Missouri we could not take Popeye and Olive-Ole with us. I often sat admiring the two of them swimming together in their 100 gallon tank, remembering how I had enjoyed watching them grow from one inch to inches. Popeye was a Silver-White Koi 19 inches long and Olive-Ole was a 10 inch spotted Calico Koi. I gave them to a teacher who had a pond, complete with a water fall and lily pads. With a tearful goodbye I released them to their new home. Three months later my husband and I were residents of El Dorado Springs, Missouri.

    It was a beautiful summer day when my brother-in-law visited us with two fish he had proudly caught. He left me with fish and cleaning instructions, of which I would gladly pass on to my husband when he returned home from town. I thought I was left with two fish, not the entire pond. I found myself starring at Carp approximately 24 inches long. My husband cleaned them as per the instructions I was given. Two hours later the stinky, messy job was completed. The Carp were cleaned, cut up and wrapped in foil in the freezer, freezing. The following morning our most thoughtful brother-in-law returned with two more Carp alive and breathing, informing us they would die shortly. Well, shortly turned into over an hour. After two calls to my sister-in-law who was not versed on the art of killing Carp, but in closing said, "usually people skin them alive," my husband ran out of patience waiting for them to  expire and preceded to clean them. I quickly made myself unavailable expressing my opinion that he should wait. Once again the cleaning, cutting and wrapping had been completed, adding more foil wrapped packages to the freezer.

    With great effort I convinced myself there was no connection between Carp, Popeye and Olive-Ole, even though they did resemble each other and Popeye was almost the same color and size. Curiosity won, or maybe it was guilt? I researched Carp in my animal encyclopedia. Guess what? Popeye and Olive-Ole were Exotic Carp!

    After several weeks of deliberation I informed myself I was not a child but an adult, and I should grow up, cook and eat the fish. The thought of touching raw, smelly fish quickly gave me the incentive to wear my "Playtex tm" gloves. Having completed the task of cooking, we were ready to dine. I sat starring at my plate, listening to my husband complementing me on how delicious the Carp was. Two bites later I was rushing to the kitchen throwing my dinner into the trash, trying not to up-chuck. I poured myself a glass of brandy, hoping to forget that I had just eaten Popeye. Three glasses later removing myself from the real world, eating Popeye was a dim memory. The next morning when reality became a bright memory I made myself a promise; I would never eat Popeye again!


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