Bait minnows, any of several common varieties of little fresh-water fish a few inches long, all have an average life of perhaps 2 years.

Over 4 years ago a friend and I went fishing and he took along some bait minnows he’d bought, and left the remaining ones with me when we quit for the day. There were 8 of them, full grown, so they had to have been at least a few months old when acquired.

I put them into a 10 gallon aquarium tank, got some fish food in a little can, and faithfully fed them every day. One by one they died and after three and a half years, the seventh one died and only one was left.

Nine months later, which was a few days ago, the last one died at over 4 years old, and since it had been around for such a long time I gave it special treatment. Instead of flushing it down the toilet I threw it into the trash. It also seems only fitting that it have an epitaph, even though it has no grave marker, so here it is:

It Swam.

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