rainbow trout.


not my trout, but an artist who creates in my style

 a few or five decades back

in my elementary school years

i undertook a project that i loved

an end-of-the-year

comprehensive non-fiction report

covering a wide swath of the animal kingdom

involving research, factual write-ups, and illustrations.

i worked on this tirelessly

gleaning material

from the only source i used for everything 

our set of encyclopedias

(no google to be found)

all was going well

until i came to the rainbow trout

with no illustration provided

 i used my imagination

creating my own vision

of what a rainbow trout might look like

a beautiful striped fish

with every color of the rainbow

spanning across its shiny and scaly skin

at last

the final piece in my big report complete

rechecked everything

put it all in my new yellow folder

decorated the cover

proudly turning it in

waiting for my teacher’s response

 she perused our reports

while we had silent reading time

 then called me up to her desk

with the hugest of smiles on her face

my report open to the rainbow trout page

telling me that she was going to give me an a+

she said she could see

 i was truly a creative

even more than a scientist

that both were good things to be

and she was right.

“the fish was a twelve inch rainbow trout with a huge hump on its back – a hunchback trout.”

-richard brautigan

77 responses »

  1. This is a treasure of a tale, and you hooked me and reeled me in, Beth. Thanks for the awesome Wayback, and you are a true creative in so many ways. A quick memory you jogged from my foggy vault … a door-to-door encyclopedia salesperson talks his way into our kitchen, insisting I sit my elementary school self at the table with my parents. Oh, the virtues of the World Book tumbled from his golden tongue … My dad looks at me and asks, sincerely, are the trips to our public library and its World Book sets working for you? Your choice. Yes, I replied, truly loving riding my bike to the library, allowed to go off on my own to write reports and really learn and read anyway I wanted. No sale. Life went on fine in our house, and my dad didn’t have to reallocate a portion he hadn’t put in the budget.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Richard, a number of years back, on the way home from a sales call, I stopped along the shore of Lake Ontario and cast my line. Whoa, I caught a 15 lb rainbow trout, silvery sides with the distinguishing feint line of color down its side. No match for your colors 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What a wise and encouraging teacher to recognize your creativity. Thank you for sharing this uplifting story. You seem a lot like that teacher. Positive and encouraging to the littles in your life. And creative. As a side note, I remember well the days of encyclopedias and other books as resources.

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  4. Pingback: rainbow trout. – Nelsapy

  5. This is beautiful, Beth.🤍 Aww,…when I first saw the fish I had two thoughts–Rainbow trout is what I’ve fished in this area my entire life (and my sons) and the book The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister. You’re such an inspiration!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Your report and seeing The World Book brought back so many memories. I remember doing reports in 2nd and 3rd grade. At the time, I didn’t know there was anything wrong with writing things down from the encyclopedia. My second-grade teacher gave me A after A for my tireless reports. My third-grade teacher explained to me that a report was not just copying things from The World Book.🤣

    Liked by 2 people

    • i loved doing them, it was really my only source for many things, and i think it was good practice for non-fiction reading for information, we just had to learn not to totally copy word for word )

      Liked by 1 person

  7. what a wonderful story, and how nice that your teacher recognized the work and creativity that you put into it. and I loved the World Book, especially the annual updates. I think the author f the Rainbow Fish may have stolen your idea…

    Liked by 1 person

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