By Sarah Schrock
During the Christmas season, it’s hard not to imagine and fantasize about the lore of a wintry New England village from a century ago. It’s probably the imagery from classic Christmas movies like “Miracle on 34th Street” and “It’s a Wonderful Life,” or the Norman Rockwell calendars that lined bookstore shelves during my upbringing, that hearken back to a bygone era.
The imagery is full of men and women in full-length wool coats, velvet dresses and children in hand-knit caps. By day, they head out to the snowy hills with wooden sleds in tow, or meet up at the pond with leather skates for good old-fashioned fun. By night, they sit around the fire sipping hot drinks, singing, and trimming their trees.
Here, it takes about three villages to create the magic, as happened on Saturday. In a more modern version of the above ideal, with Gore-Tex instead of wool, the magic of the season was felt in the hills above Winthrop. Through a long chain of text messages and emails, nearly 40 families gathered at Riser Lake in the Rendezvous area to skate on the frozen pond. Children and adults played pick-up hockey, figure skated, and played on the ice in a way Jimmy Stewart would have liked. It was truly a splendid winter day of pure fun.
It does take a village, or three, to keep the holiday spirit going. Special thanks to swim team members Connor and Grace Gonzales who volunteered all day Saturday to help with the Friends of the Pool raffle at the Winthrop Bazaar.
To liven up the raffle at the Twisp bazaars this year, Friends of the Pool raffled off two goldfish, Gill and Fin — the unofficial emblems of the group. The fish have yet to be claimed by the winner, and while they are safe and sound in my living room, we will will soon be forced to consider taking them to Twisp’s Fish Orphanage if a home is not found.
You read that right — Twisp has a goldfish orphanage, perhaps the only one in region. The home for wayward and abandoned goldfish is comfortably located at the entrance to Trimline & Co. Salon, and there’s no Mrs. Hanningan at this operation. The orphaned fish are very well-loved and tended to by their foster fish-mothers, Devin Barnhardt and Lori Rodio. These fish mothers, as it were, rescue unwanted fish, giving them a loving home and a fighting chance to stay out of the toilet bowl (and avoid the carnival circuit). The tank provides companionship, fresh filtered water, heat and light, good food and a safe place for goldfish of any breed — regardless of color.
The Fish Orphanage also offers customers at Trimline a relaxing and contemplative view during their pampering. There are props and plants in the 65-gallon tank as well — a far better life than the bowls from which they came. When a fish passes from this realm to the next, the salon holds ceremonial fish funerals to honor their passage. According to Rodio, the women take turns offering eulogies to their fallen friends, and sometimes the children of clients and employees get the honor of the final flush.
Who knew? I am always tickled by the hidden treasures tucked in unsuspecting corners of this place. Rest assured, we will find a home for Gill and Fin and the orphanage will not be their fate. In light of this article, the fish mothers kindly ask if you need a home for an unwanted fish, please ask first if there is space in the tank before dropping fish off at the salon!