The Farm Chronicles: Goin’ Froggin’

The pond was an ongoing temptation. My parents didn’t want me or my friends playing in the pond because they were concerned about one of us drowning, or in my Mother’s case—getting so much mud encrusted on me that it may disrupt her clean house when I came in the door! In any case, that pond was the best thing for an adventurous boy, or group of boys. There were so many interesting exploits surrounding it. I used to make my rounds trying to catch frogs or turtles. Sneaking quietly along the edges of the pond and swiftly and silently pouncing on a frog before he jumped into the water was great sport. If I missed, usually they were back sunning themselves after I made my way all around the pond.

One particular summer, I found an old milk cooler that had been tossed out back behind the barn with all the other old artifacts of a time passed—horse drawn wagons, a horse drawn hay loader—cool stuff that me and my friends concocted many a frontier/western/Civil War/Army dramas in our quest to right wrongs and revel in being the heroes. Well, that old milk cooler, rusted as it was, still held water. And it was perfect for what I wanted to do. I spent the morning cleaning it up and getting it leveled on the South end of what we called the “shed.” The shed was more than a shed—it was a horse barn, a hay storage, a workshop and a garage, but it always had been known just as the “shed.” I filled the cooler with water.

Then I went out to the pond. Like a ninja, silently stalking my prey, I would sneak up behind an unsuspecting frog bathing himself in the morning sunshine. I had to take great care to approach the frog in just the right way so he couldn’t see me or my shadow. In less than a heartbeat, I would aim for where I thought the frog would jump and if I was quick enough, I would snatch the frog up in my hand. Over the course of a few days, I caught seven frogs and gave them a new home in the old rusted milk cooler. I fed them and cared for them every day. When winter came around, I transferred them to a very large fish bowl I kept in the dining room. There, I trained them every day. Yes, trained them to sit on the linoleum floor and wait their turn to proudly ride on the roof of my Tonka truck around the dining room and the kitchen.

These frogs loved it. They would sit in a line and wait their turn to take a ride. When the tour de Wilson was complete, I would put them back in the fish bowl. And the next one would kind of hop up for his ride. Back in the day, we didn’t have video games or 200 TV channels to occupy our minds during boring times, but we did have frogs! In the Bible, the Lord used frogs as judgment, especially on Egypt, as is told in Psalm 105:30, “Their land brought forth frogs in abundance, in the chambers of their kings.” The Ohio pond frogs could have been descended from the Biblical frogs, but their demeanor was likely far more pleasant and entertaining than those that helped liberate the Israelites from slavery.

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Bill Wilson