April 1, 2023

A Very “Fishy” Story


Milt Inman Photo

During last week’s “spring break,” my good friend, and seemingly full time practical joker and pot stirrer/instigator, Milt and his wife came for a visit and stayed a couple days. While here, Milt and I made a few short excursions to see what kind of trouble we could get into while taking photographs.

One chilly morning the two of us headed for the Botanical Gardens. I hadn’t been there for quite some time and couldn’t remember if Milt had. I thought with the morning light we might be able to get some good pictures.

I don’t think Milt is as intrigued with flowers and other plants as I am and would rather go chase animals around to get pictures. As a result, I think Milt was a bit bored and when boredom surfaces, anyone who knows Milt can assume that soon will follow trouble – of the Milt created variety. He didn’t disappoint.

It all kind of began when Milt and I were examining an area dedicated to just several species of cactus plants. Again, I was more interested than he was and his attention was soon drawn to an older couple that moved into our space. They appeared to be very serious kind of people and extremely “into” what they were doing.

Milt made a comment to them, of which I don’t recall what he said, but the couple turned their backs to him and walked away. I don’t know if the couple never heard him (probably) or deliberately avoided talking with him. Regardless, I think Milt was a bit put off and somewhere deep in this mind, or not so much, he vowed revenge.

Perhaps 15 or 20 minutes had passed and I had wandered my way over into the palm tree section and was fascinated by a species of palm tree called a Japanese Fishtail Palm. This was the first time I had seen one. Soon, Milt showed up and I pointed the tree out to him (see his photo above).

It wasn’t long before the same older couple Milt tried to converse with showed up to examine the Japanese fishtail palm. As the two looked on and talked between themselves about the tree, Milt moved in to be better heard. The ensuing conversation went something like this:

“Can you smell it?” Milt asked.

“Smell what?” the woman quizzed.

“That palm tree! It smells like fish!” he returned.

At that point the woman made a few gestures with her head and nose up and toward the tree and then commented, “I can’t smell anything. I’m all stuffed up.”

The man, I assume to be a husband, wanted to know what Milt was saying and what was going on, and so she explained it to him. They both then began sniffing the air much like a couple of under-worked blood hounds.

“We can’t smell anything,” the woman said again.

Milt, a bit more animated, now replied, “You can’t smell that? That smell is so strong you can smell it all the way across the other side of the garden!”

The couple continued their sniffing, in a very serious manner, of the air, at which time I decided before I burst out laughing, I’d better walk away.

My only regret was that I stood there with my little video camera and did not turn it on to get it all on tape.

After returning home and sharing the story with our wives, I commented that I wondered how many times in the future this couple would tell the story of not being able to smell the fish odor that comes from the Japanese fishtail palm?