"H i, everyone!” Tatty beamed as he came into the kitchen carrying packages. Rosh Hashanah was two days away, and it seemed like he and Mommy were taking turns buying out the store.

“Did you get it?” Mommy wanted to know.

“All taken care of,” Tatty answered with a nod.

Binyamin and Sorale exchanged a glance, wondering what the mysterious conversation was all about.

“I’m putting it on the top shelf.” Tatty carefully extracted a crinkly package wrapped in white paper from the shopping bag and slid it inside the refrigerator.

“What could it be?” Binyamin wondered aloud.

“Later.” Sorale had a gleam in her eye.

That night, while Tatty was at Maariv and Mommy was upstairs putting the baby to sleep, Sorale and Binyamin crept into the kitchen to investigate. Sorale quickly opened the refrigerator and eased the white package toward the edge of the shelf. Binyamin began unwrapping it, and Sorale wrinkled her nose as a telltale scent wafted toward her.

“What is that smell?” she asked.

“Eww!” Binyamin yelped, pointing. “Look!”

One shiny gold eye stared blankly at them, and they stared back.

“A fish head!” Sorale shrieked, putting a hand over her mouth.

“Let’s get rid of it,” Binyamin whispered.

“I’m with you,” Sorale agreed. “Off with its head!”

“Too late.” Binyamin grinned wryly.

Ever so carefully they rewrapped the fish. Then they found a shopping bag, deposited the fish inside, and hastily raced upstairs to Sorale’s room.

“Now what?” they asked each other.

“We could put it in the creek out back,” Binyamin suggested.

“Binyamin, I hate to break it to you,” Sorale said, “but I think this guy’s backstroke days are over. Besides,” she added, “we do Tashlich out there. What if he’s still hanging around?”

“How about the attic?” Binyamin tried.

“I think it might start to smell,” Sorale answered, shaking her head. “Remember the time we packed Zeidy’s favorite lox in our suitcase when we went to Florida? We thought it would make him so happy.”

“Don’t remind me!” Binyamin coughed, his lips twitching. “Then the airlines lost our suitcase,” he continued, smothering a laugh. “So the second we got to Florida, we had to zoom to Target so we had something to change into. Then, when the suitcase finally turned up at our door three days later, we were surprised they’d allowed it on the plane.”

“It was pretty awful,” Sorale agreed, waving a hand in front of her face as if to chase the long-ago odor far away.

They both sat deep in thought for a long moment.

“I’ve got it!” Sorale exclaimed, her eyes lighting up. “We have the mini-fridge downstairs. No one ever uses that. Let’s put it there for now.”

Tiptoeing down to the basement, Sorale and Binyamin shoved the fish head into the mini refrigerator and dashed back upstairs.

Relieved they wouldn’t have to deal with a real fish head at their table, the two of them slipped into pajamas and sank into bed. And with surprising swiftness and a frenzy of preparations, time marched forward and Rosh Hashanah night arrived.

“L’shanah tovah tikaseivu…” Tatty and Binyamin wished everyone as they walked through the door on the first night of Yom Tov.

Happily, the family gathered around the table for the seudah.

“Tatty?” Mommy called, rummaging inside the refrigerator. “I don’t see it. Are you sure you put it on the top shelf?” (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 678)