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Froggy Fugue

A toad lived under our patio for a few summers when I was a kid. I didn’t feed him or take care of his needs in any way, but I nevertheless thought of him as my pet. I named him Thumper. On random nights I’d be parked on the patio, reading or drawing, and Thumper would emerge from his shallow burrow and tentatively hop around the yard. This was before I had my first dog, and so I came to consider Thumper as another kid my age might consider her cocker spaniel: He was part of my family, and as a result I felt a little bit responsible for him. I also felt a certain kinship: In my early teens, I, too, thought of myself as taking a few tentative hops outside my own cozy burrow.

The summer I was 14, my father was hospitalized with a lung cancer that would, within two years, kill him, and my mother turned over the task of mowing the lawn to me. This actually suited me fine. Marilyn French had just published The Women’s Room, and after dinner I had been reading it on the patio until darkness forced me indoors.

Fired up by Marilyn, and casting about for a feminist insurgency that a skinny, shy teenager could lead noiselessly from the suburbs, I thought that taking on a task generally reserved for my Dad seemed as good a place to start a revolution as any. I felt smugly satisfied casting off the shackles of traditional male-female roles, as liberated as if I were swinging a burning bra above my head at a Miss America Pageant. Without, of course, any actual fire burning an actual bra, because that might attract some attention.

One night just before dusk, I was quickly finishing up the last corner of the yard, when I saw a largish stone in the path of the power mower I was pushing. I liked to hit rocks or clumps of grass when I mowed, because they sometimes shot out like bullets once they hit the whirling blades under the engine. So I gunned the mower and charged the rock in my path with a small head of steam to see if I could get it to ricochet off the house.

It was too late before I realized it wasn’t a stone at all. It was Thumper, and I couldn’t stop or swerve in time to avoid him. In horror I watched as he slipped under the chassis and his guts instantly spit out of the return on the side. I didn’t stick around to see what parts, exactly, because I had already dropped the running mower and sprinted screaming toward the house. My mother had been visiting my father all afternoon in the hospital, but thankfully she was home by now. “Oh for Pete’s sake,” she said wearily, as I recounted, sobbing, what had happened. “I thought you cut off a toe.”

I was thinking about Thumper recently—after, for the umpteenth day in a row, I found two small frogs in my backyard swimming pool. The first day, I found them breast-stroking in the deep end, and after a few tries I managed to lift them out with a long-handled net and launch them over the fence, into a shady culvert more suited to a frog’s lifestyle than a chlorinated pool, where prolonged exposure could easily render them bloated specimens floating lifeless on a lab shelf somewhere.

But they were both back the next day, and the next, even as I tossed them further out. They seemed to be imitating forlorn family pets that, as periodic news accounts would have it, separated from their people nonetheless find their way back to the hearth.

By the fourth day, I woke expecting to see the frogs again, and, by this point, I was almost looking forward to it. I had rushed out to the pool before breakfast, in fact, convinced they’d be there as usual, powering their way to the bottom of the deep end with their strong froggy kicks and then floating up toward the surface, motionless and with all four legs splayed, riding on the current in a kind of drug-induced trance, before starting their shenanigans all over again.

But no, they weren’t there. Just to be sure, I uncapped the filter basket on the deck, and—aha! There they were! They were both caught in the whirlpool action of the filter basket, their limbs slack and eyes unfocused and glazed. Were it not for the current turning them in a slow dizzying circle, they would have looked just like small stoners soaking in a mini hot tub, too baked to speak.

And so it went. Each morning, I visited the pool to find them. And each morning, I fished them out with the net and deposited them back on the ground. They became a little like pets, a little like Thumper, and this routine was like a wordless game we played.

I had plenty of other stuff I should have been doing; but really, what else did they have to do? The life of a green frog is little more than an effort to blend in and avoid danger, which isn’t unlike how I feel half the time. It seemed to me a good thing to have someone watching your back.

And it’s not just me. Today, as I drove home, I noticed up ahead a crooked, portly figure at the side of a busy road. Cars were slowing as they neared him, and when I crawled past I could see that he was an off-duty bus driver, likely on his way home, and he was using his polished black shoe to nudge a snapping turtle the size of a shoebox to the edge of the road. He seemed reluctant to actually bend and lift the turtle to safety, so how he was going to get the turtle up and over the curb and onto the sidewalk, which would give the creature access to the woods beyond, was a mystery to me, and maybe to him and the turtle, too. Still, I admired him for trying.

I’ve long made peace with nabbing the occasional mouse in the laundry room. I still don’t like hearing the violent snap of the trap as it finds their soft vulnerable necks. But when you live in an old house, it’s a fact of life. The way I figure it, the mouse is invading my space, and if he’s going to crap on my tile floor, he just might have to pay the ultimate price for it.

But the pool—and to some degree, the busy road—is a different story. In a way, my pool has invaded their space—the frogs, toads, mice, voles, chipmunks, worms, crickets, and other creatures that eek out a meager living in the damp, rotting, wooded pockets of my yard. They manage to get by, these critters, with amenities far more humble than our own, and I sometimes think that the big cement pool plunked into the middle of their space must come off as an affront.

Like my frogs, those critters, too, have sometimes tumbled into the deep blue water, and I fish them out when I can. But still, more times than I like to remember, some have met their maker there. So what if I spend my time checking and rechecking the pool’s surface and opening and reopening the filter basket? So what if I sometimes feel like it’s me who is, in a way, locked in a never-ending battle with a current that just won’t quit? Like the bus driver sweating through his uniform as he urges the turtle homeward, isn’t this the least I can do?

Things took a turn a week or so into my routine when I awoke to find only one frog swimming in the pool. I fished him out with one swoop of the long-handled net—I was getting efficient at this—and opened the skimmer on the deck again, expecting to find his buddy. He was there all right, just as I thought he would be. But he was belly-up—dead, frozen with his legs splayed, spinning round and round in his final ride in the circling current of the filter basket. Wow, man, I imagined him saying. That was a wild ride.

I lifted him out and contemplated burial. But in the end I launched him into a final flight, and watched as he sailed one last time over the fence.

Since that day, I haven’t seen the remaining frog again. I’m not sure why that is, exactly, but I like to think he happened upon his buddy’s bloated body among the leaves in the culvert. I like to think he’s a wee bit wiser for it. But maybe not: Maybe instead he’s found bluer water, more rotted wood, or someone else to toss him aloft, a little closer to home.

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58 Responses to Froggy Fugue

  1. There’s a lot to contemplating death. In a way, I think animals serve that purpose. My daughter stops at every dead bug we find on the sidewalk. We saw a big dead butterfly the other day, with about a hundred ants carrying it away. She was really excited, repeating my often-used words back.

    “Daddy, they are going to have a FEAST on that butterfly.”

    I explain animal death as a food cycle, and she gets that.

    Several steps down the road, as we’re talking about a dead worm, two dead beetles, and the spot where she wanted to show me the dead possum, all the while discussing how this is food, she said:

    “I wouldn’t want to see a dead kitten. That would be really sad.”

    And we walked on in silence for a while, until we saw a squirrel almost die trying to cross the road. She watched, excited and happy.

    “A dead squirrel is okay, Daddy.”

    You’re on to something here, Ann.

  2. There’s a lot to contemplating death. In a way, I think animals serve that purpose. My daughter stops at every dead bug we find on the sidewalk. We saw a big dead butterfly the other day, with about a hundred ants carrying it away. She was really excited, repeating my often-used words back.

    “Daddy, they are going to have a FEAST on that butterfly.”

    I explain animal death as a food cycle, and she gets that.

    Several steps down the road, as we’re talking about a dead worm, two dead beetles, and the spot where she wanted to show me the dead possum, all the while discussing how this is food, she said:

    “I wouldn’t want to see a dead kitten. That would be really sad.”

    And we walked on in silence for a while, until we saw a squirrel almost die trying to cross the road. She watched, excited and happy.

    “A dead squirrel is okay, Daddy.”

    You’re on to something here, Ann.

  3. Jim Turner says:

    I guess the “it’s cool to be green” people rejoicing. i think that like the scorpion in the story about the frog, you have a knack for stinging frogs. ;) Great writing Ann.

  4. Jim Turner says:

    I guess the “it’s cool to be green” people rejoicing. i think that like the scorpion in the story about the frog, you have a knack for stinging frogs. ;) Great writing Ann.

  5. Minjae says:

    This is a really beautiful piece of writing. As someone who is particularly attached to frogs (my name = a famous children’s clothing brand in Korea, whose logo was a frog, and the rest was history re: my nickname), it was especially moving. I feel I’ve just read a more human/personal version of a Fabre essay. Thanks for sharing this.

  6. Minjae says:

    This is a really beautiful piece of writing. As someone who is particularly attached to frogs (my name = a famous children’s clothing brand in Korea, whose logo was a frog, and the rest was history re: my nickname), it was especially moving. I feel I’ve just read a more human/personal version of a Fabre essay. Thanks for sharing this.

  7. Mukund Mohan says:

    My kids prevent any ant spray at home. My son personally thinks most ants are his pets. He had us move him to a “nature” school which has horses, cats, dogs and chicken next to the classroom. I dont think he can handle the death part yet. I cant also. I get terribly upset even when I drive on the highway and cannot avoid a dead skunk or small rodent. I actually hate the term roadkill.

    Good post Ann. Welcome back. Its been a long time.

  8. Mukund Mohan says:

    My kids prevent any ant spray at home. My son personally thinks most ants are his pets. He had us move him to a “nature” school which has horses, cats, dogs and chicken next to the classroom. I dont think he can handle the death part yet. I cant also. I get terribly upset even when I drive on the highway and cannot avoid a dead skunk or small rodent. I actually hate the term roadkill.

    Good post Ann. Welcome back. Its been a long time.

  9. Claudia says:

    That’s the reason I’m a vegetarian. The thought of having to kill animals so that I can eat is horrifying. Since I was a kid I wanted to know if it was once alive.

    I still consider the birds in my garden to be my pets. What is problematic at times is that I love cats too – so much that all the cats in the neighbor hood love my semi wild garden. It’s awful when the birds are teaching their babies to fly. Got to lock the cats away.

    Great post by the way!

  10. Claudia says:

    That’s the reason I’m a vegetarian. The thought of having to kill animals so that I can eat is horrifying. Since I was a kid I wanted to know if it was once alive.

    I still consider the birds in my garden to be my pets. What is problematic at times is that I love cats too – so much that all the cats in the neighbor hood love my semi wild garden. It’s awful when the birds are teaching their babies to fly. Got to lock the cats away.

    Great post by the way!

  11. Ann,
    Thanx to Twitter, I get to read one of your beautiful stories whenever you find the time to write them. I, too had a toad. His name was Ernestine. She name, He Toad. Anyway, thanx for the memories. In June of last year, My dad succumbed to Lung cancer. I guess I am lucky. he passed on when I was 48, so i got more of him.
    Joel Libava

  12. Joel Libava says:

    Ann,
    Thanx to Twitter, I get to read one of your beautiful stories whenever you find the time to write them. I, too had a toad. His name was Ernestine. She name, He Toad. Anyway, thanx for the memories. In June of last year, My dad succumbed to Lung cancer. I guess I am lucky. he passed on when I was 48, so i got more of him.
    Joel Libava

  13. Great story, Ann. Frogs played a significant role in my growing-up years; one frog in particular. You see, during our town’s annual fair, there was a frog-jumping contest. All the kids would try to find the biggest, most athletic, most steroid-ridden hoppers they could grab out of a pond so that they could win the top prizes. Couldn’t seem to compete with those olympian leopard frogs. But, at the bottom of the annual award food chain was something called the “booby prize” – for the frog that covered the least distance. It was only for 5 bucks and a few moments of ignominity, but I thought, “we can do this.” So I found this tiny and anemic little froglet one year and strove mightily for the worst-in-show, easily outdistancing all others in miniscule jumping powers. It was a proud moment – not because we ascended the podium as the best, but because I thought of a way to win a quick fiver by being the worst. Nobody have ever thought before of TRYing to win the booby prize…one of the few times in life when it pays to be a loser, I guess!

  14. Great story, Ann. Frogs played a significant role in my growing-up years; one frog in particular. You see, during our town’s annual fair, there was a frog-jumping contest. All the kids would try to find the biggest, most athletic, most steroid-ridden hoppers they could grab out of a pond so that they could win the top prizes. Couldn’t seem to compete with those olympian leopard frogs. But, at the bottom of the annual award food chain was something called the “booby prize” – for the frog that covered the least distance. It was only for 5 bucks and a few moments of ignominity, but I thought, “we can do this.” So I found this tiny and anemic little froglet one year and strove mightily for the worst-in-show, easily outdistancing all others in miniscule jumping powers. It was a proud moment – not because we ascended the podium as the best, but because I thought of a way to win a quick fiver by being the worst. Nobody have ever thought before of TRYing to win the booby prize…one of the few times in life when it pays to be a loser, I guess!

  15. “You have been provided with death so that you may realize the startling significance of why you are here as a human being and not as a cooking pot.”

    - Stephen K. Hayes

  16. “You have been provided with death so that you may realize the startling significance of why you are here as a human being and not as a cooking pot.”

    - Stephen K. Hayes

  17. Ann Handley says:

    Thanks for the comments, all. And @chrisbrogan @stevewoodruff — great vignettes… thanks for sharing.

    @Joel — I gotta say… Ernestine is a much better toad name than Thumper!
    @stevewoodruff — Clearly, your skills as a strategist were in development early in your life! Actually, I relate to that approach whenever I golf… when my strategy is to *always* have the highest score. Especially in a tournament, there’s usually some sort of prize for that, I’ve discovered.

    And finally, Christopher Penn is so cool. There. I said it.

  18. Ann Handley says:

    Thanks for the comments, all. And @chrisbrogan @stevewoodruff — great vignettes… thanks for sharing.

    @Joel — I gotta say… Ernestine is a much better toad name than Thumper!
    @stevewoodruff — Clearly, your skills as a strategist were in development early in your life! Actually, I relate to that approach whenever I golf… when my strategy is to *always* have the highest score. Especially in a tournament, there’s usually some sort of prize for that, I’ve discovered.

    And finally, Christopher Penn is so cool. There. I said it.

  19. Tim Jackson says:

    Dammit! I thought we made a deal; I get to be the one who sounds all smart and shit. Why do you keep doing this to me? Isn’t it enough to smash my tiny, vulnerable male ego with your intelligence? Now you have to just keep flaunting these tiny slices of crystallized thought and memories… FINE! You are SOOOOOO competitive…

    I caught a huge handful of tiny toads, just out of the water after being tadpoles, when I was a very young boy in south (deep south) Alabama. Not knowing better, I put them in the pocket of my cutoff jean shorts to take them home and raise them as my toady minions. But being a 7yr old boy, the road home is never a straight line and there were countless other distractions along the way. As to be expected, I forgot about my tiny friends in the denim tomb until I heard a shriek come from my mother, followed by a loud “TIMOTHY!” She liberated my friends a few days later when doing the laundry, but not until they had been washed AND dried. They tumbled out of the pockets and into the rest of the laundry like little pre-dried toad bacon bits. Needless to say, she was NOT amused. Little did she know then what would lie in her future as I went on to catch and keep several large snakes as I got older- including a Copperhead (Alabama’s deadliest resident).

    Keep frog flippin… I’m sure there’s a special place in heaven for you. But maybe next essay, try dumbing it down a little so I can regain a sliver of my manhood.

  20. Tim Jackson says:

    Dammit! I thought we made a deal; I get to be the one who sounds all smart and shit. Why do you keep doing this to me? Isn’t it enough to smash my tiny, vulnerable male ego with your intelligence? Now you have to just keep flaunting these tiny slices of crystallized thought and memories… FINE! You are SOOOOOO competitive…

    I caught a huge handful of tiny toads, just out of the water after being tadpoles, when I was a very young boy in south (deep south) Alabama. Not knowing better, I put them in the pocket of my cutoff jean shorts to take them home and raise them as my toady minions. But being a 7yr old boy, the road home is never a straight line and there were countless other distractions along the way. As to be expected, I forgot about my tiny friends in the denim tomb until I heard a shriek come from my mother, followed by a loud “TIMOTHY!” She liberated my friends a few days later when doing the laundry, but not until they had been washed AND dried. They tumbled out of the pockets and into the rest of the laundry like little pre-dried toad bacon bits. Needless to say, she was NOT amused. Little did she know then what would lie in her future as I went on to catch and keep several large snakes as I got older- including a Copperhead (Alabama’s deadliest resident).

    Keep frog flippin… I’m sure there’s a special place in heaven for you. But maybe next essay, try dumbing it down a little so I can regain a sliver of my manhood.

  21. Lewis Green says:

    Ann,

    Our house sits alongside a brook, where every year frogs make home. Except this year, they haven’t, and I wonder everyday where they are. Are they safe? Has the water turned toxic? Are they happy? I hope so.

    Sidenote: I read The Women’s Room shortly after it was published. It changed my life, and for the better.

  22. Lewis Green says:

    Ann,

    Our house sits alongside a brook, where every year frogs make home. Except this year, they haven’t, and I wonder everyday where they are. Are they safe? Has the water turned toxic? Are they happy? I hope so.

    Sidenote: I read The Women’s Room shortly after it was published. It changed my life, and for the better.

  23. Frank Martin says:

    Ann, what a superb example of writing and storytelling. We do share our world with many creatures, all of whom have rituals and jobs and loves and drives. Wonderful!

  24. Frank Martin says:

    Ann, what a superb example of writing and storytelling. We do share our world with many creatures, all of whom have rituals and jobs and loves and drives. Wonderful!

  25. Anonymous says:

    Wow, Ann. After reading this and your last “bare-all” piece, I am amazed how you make us to feel the anguish of adolescent foibles & vulnerabilities with your prose. I can honestly say it makes me want to pull my own children closer & cherish their similar little “moments”.

    Thanx for inspiring.

  26. Dave Webb says:

    Wow, Ann. After reading this and your last “bare-all” piece, I am amazed how you make us to feel the anguish of adolescent foibles & vulnerabilities with your prose. I can honestly say it makes me want to pull my own children closer & cherish their similar little “moments”.

    Thanx for inspiring.

  27. Ann, you know I’m love with animals, mostly with dogs. And every story involving an animal is a gift to me. Thanks, G.

  28. Ann, you know I’m love with animals, mostly with dogs. And every story involving an animal is a gift to me. Thanks, G.

  29. Alan Wolk says:

    “Tangerine” is a much better name for a toad than Thumper or Ernestine.

    (You knew I had to write that.)

  30. Alan Wolk says:

    “Tangerine” is a much better name for a toad than Thumper or Ernestine.

    (You knew I had to write that.)

  31. Stacey Pfeifer says:

    Hi Ann,

    A newbie on Twitter, I found my way here via @chrisbrogan [a favorite guide of mine in the social media marketing world]… what a delightful and feeling piece, thank you and thanks, Chris for tweeting the path to it.

    another spot i’ve enjoyed for great writing about animals, death, spirituality is http://www.fearnomorezoo.org/stories/main.php

    I’m gonna hook myself up to your feed today and I look forward to more. Nice to meet you, Ann [love the header photo too!]

  32. Stacey Pfeifer says:

    Hi Ann,

    A newbie on Twitter, I found my way here via @chrisbrogan [a favorite guide of mine in the social media marketing world]… what a delightful and feeling piece, thank you and thanks, Chris for tweeting the path to it.

    another spot i’ve enjoyed for great writing about animals, death, spirituality is http://www.fearnomorezoo.org/stories/main.php

    I’m gonna hook myself up to your feed today and I look forward to more. Nice to meet you, Ann [love the header photo too!]

  33. Peter Kim says:

    I would just like to leave a comment on the mouse part of the story and say amen, sister. Look, I grew up in the South where we had roaches in the house, not mice. Even when I lived in Philly, we had Ratatouille-sized rats. Not these scurrying little bastards that tap dance across the ceiling at night and leave their dung in hard-to-reach places. Maybe if they’d use a mouse litter box, we could peacefully co-exist. But every field mouse became a John Connor to me as the Terminator the night I was hosting a dinner party and somehow a mouse fell straight from the ceiling to the floor from a gap by our chimney. Since that day, I recommend the Victor fake cheese traps, which ironically work better than using real cheese. I realize this comment looks like spam and me a raving lunatic…but to Brogan’s point, I don’t feel bad disrupting [cue Elton John] the great big circle of life on this one. (but to Mukund’s point, I hate hitting little rabbits in the road, and I live near a wildlife sanctuary.)

  34. Peter Kim says:

    I would just like to leave a comment on the mouse part of the story and say amen, sister. Look, I grew up in the South where we had roaches in the house, not mice. Even when I lived in Philly, we had Ratatouille-sized rats. Not these scurrying little bastards that tap dance across the ceiling at night and leave their dung in hard-to-reach places. Maybe if they’d use a mouse litter box, we could peacefully co-exist. But every field mouse became a John Connor to me as the Terminator the night I was hosting a dinner party and somehow a mouse fell straight from the ceiling to the floor from a gap by our chimney. Since that day, I recommend the Victor fake cheese traps, which ironically work better than using real cheese. I realize this comment looks like spam and me a raving lunatic…but to Brogan’s point, I don’t feel bad disrupting [cue Elton John] the great big circle of life on this one. (but to Mukund’s point, I hate hitting little rabbits in the road, and I live near a wildlife sanctuary.)

  35. Ruth Josephson says:

    I enjoyed your frog story, Ann. It reminded me of the time at least half a century ago and before power mowers when it was my brother’s job to mow the lawn. He used one of those old push mowers with the four spiraling blades. He also ran over a large toad that lived in our yard, although I do not remember if I had been aware of its existence until that day. The toad survived the ordeal but had a long laceration on his belly. My brother had me get him thread and needle and, with large tears running down his cheeks, proceeded to suture the poor thing. I have no fantasies of the toad living happily ever after, but it did make me feel just a little closer to the brother I already idolized.

  36. Ruth Josephson says:

    I enjoyed your frog story, Ann. It reminded me of the time at least half a century ago and before power mowers when it was my brother’s job to mow the lawn. He used one of those old push mowers with the four spiraling blades. He also ran over a large toad that lived in our yard, although I do not remember if I had been aware of its existence until that day. The toad survived the ordeal but had a long laceration on his belly. My brother had me get him thread and needle and, with large tears running down his cheeks, proceeded to suture the poor thing. I have no fantasies of the toad living happily ever after, but it did make me feel just a little closer to the brother I already idolized.

  37. Jo Tyler says:

    Thanks for sharing this wonderfully-written story, Ann…I responded at CNER, but thought I’d follow proper etiquette (?) and leave a comment here too!

    John and I both love your blog. And as you know, I’m a sucker for stories that reflect our ability to show compassion to ALL animals – not just dogs. I honestly believe it’s how most of us feel deep down… and we only participate in the killing and harming of animals due to tradition, social convention, or a reluctance to open our eyes because it’s too painful.

    It’s kind of schizophrenic, isn’t it…how most of us would go out of our way to help ANY animal in need, and then sit down at the table and eat another animal? Sometimes even the same kind of animal! It was one of the connections that led John and I to stop participating in the industrialized animal abuse which is inherent in our food system and embrace a plant-based (vegan) diet instead.

    Well – thanks again for sharing your story – you are a truly gifted writer. Oh, and here’s a link to some cruelty-free mouse traps! ;-)

    http://www.seabrightlabs.com/mouse.htm

  38. Jo Tyler says:

    Thanks for sharing this wonderfully-written story, Ann…I responded at CNER, but thought I’d follow proper etiquette (?) and leave a comment here too!

    John and I both love your blog. And as you know, I’m a sucker for stories that reflect our ability to show compassion to ALL animals – not just dogs. I honestly believe it’s how most of us feel deep down… and we only participate in the killing and harming of animals due to tradition, social convention, or a reluctance to open our eyes because it’s too painful.

    It’s kind of schizophrenic, isn’t it…how most of us would go out of our way to help ANY animal in need, and then sit down at the table and eat another animal? Sometimes even the same kind of animal! It was one of the connections that led John and I to stop participating in the industrialized animal abuse which is inherent in our food system and embrace a plant-based (vegan) diet instead.

    Well – thanks again for sharing your story – you are a truly gifted writer. Oh, and here’s a link to some cruelty-free mouse traps! ;-)

    http://www.seabrightlabs.com/mouse.htm

  39. Jim Sutton says:

    Your story is indescribably delicious. I was not a particularly compassionate boy, especially toward the frogs I used to collect. Now I find myself calmed by hearing the deep guttural sounds of the bullfrogs in the pond outside my house at night. I feel fortunate that we usually get more than one chance in our lives to try and understand our feelings about nature and its critters. Each time brings back all the feelings from before and more. Thank you for this piece.

  40. Jim Sutton says:

    Your story is indescribably delicious. I was not a particularly compassionate boy, especially toward the frogs I used to collect. Now I find myself calmed by hearing the deep guttural sounds of the bullfrogs in the pond outside my house at night. I feel fortunate that we usually get more than one chance in our lives to try and understand our feelings about nature and its critters. Each time brings back all the feelings from before and more. Thank you for this piece.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Quite a yarn for a long-time frog lover like myself. O, Thumper, we hardley knew ye.

  42. Quite a yarn for a long-time frog lover like myself. O, Thumper, we hardley knew ye.

  43. Dana Ironside says:

    Hey Ann!
    Another wonderful story… growing up just 20 miles outside of NYC, I didn’t have frogs, but I had a stray cat, we so poetically called Kitty. I know original. But we loved that cat(couldn’t come inside due to mom’s allergies and our dog) and fed her every day. She would actually walk with our mom and dog for his walks and always stayed right next to my mom’s leg. It was a precious site. Unfortunately, one day, we couldn’t find Kitty and we all panicked. We went out looking for her and couldn’t find her. My newspaper boy came to our door one day and so bluntly said – hey, I think your CAT is DEAD down behind the stores – SMUSHED from a car. I ran to my room and cried and blamed my mother and her allergies for his death. We should have done a better job or taken her to a shelter is all I kept thinking. Any way, Kitty was loved and thank you for taking me back to that time. A frog or a cat or whatever, I think every one can relate to a story like this!

    Dana

  44. Dana Ironside says:

    Hey Ann!
    Another wonderful story… growing up just 20 miles outside of NYC, I didn’t have frogs, but I had a stray cat, we so poetically called Kitty. I know original. But we loved that cat(couldn’t come inside due to mom’s allergies and our dog) and fed her every day. She would actually walk with our mom and dog for his walks and always stayed right next to my mom’s leg. It was a precious site. Unfortunately, one day, we couldn’t find Kitty and we all panicked. We went out looking for her and couldn’t find her. My newspaper boy came to our door one day and so bluntly said – hey, I think your CAT is DEAD down behind the stores – SMUSHED from a car. I ran to my room and cried and blamed my mother and her allergies for his death. We should have done a better job or taken her to a shelter is all I kept thinking. Any way, Kitty was loved and thank you for taking me back to that time. A frog or a cat or whatever, I think every one can relate to a story like this!

    Dana

  45. Judy Vorfeld says:

    Riveting writing, Ann. Reading it was like standing underneath a beautiful waterfall and rejoicing in its cool, crisp beauty.

    I think about waterfalls a lot. Helps me through the desert summer.

  46. Judy Vorfeld says:

    Riveting writing, Ann. Reading it was like standing underneath a beautiful waterfall and rejoicing in its cool, crisp beauty.

    I think about waterfalls a lot. Helps me through the desert summer.

  47. Angela says:

    Bittersweet. When I was a kid, my cousins did evil things to frogs — like fill them with firecrackers and run off before they exploded. I have always been partial to our ribbety buddies.

  48. Angela says:

    Bittersweet. When I was a kid, my cousins did evil things to frogs — like fill them with firecrackers and run off before they exploded. I have always been partial to our ribbety buddies.

  49. David Reich says:

    Ann, we don’t have frogs at home, but the occasional mouse has managed to get inside. My wife freaks out and wants me to set traps and kill the little guy (or guys). I look for all kinds of excuses not to use a trap, hoping he or she will find the great outdoors more interesting.

  50. David Reich says:

    Ann, we don’t have frogs at home, but the occasional mouse has managed to get inside. My wife freaks out and wants me to set traps and kill the little guy (or guys). I look for all kinds of excuses not to use a trap, hoping he or she will find the great outdoors more interesting.

  51. Amy says:

    I love when you share the private moments in life. I love that we all have them. I think about you in a meeting talking shop, but your mind may be drifting back to the frog in your filter. The person next to you might be thinking about something weird her grandmother once said. And next to her a man is laughing in his mind at the way his Cheerios seemed to be making a smiley face this morning. Thanks for the story.

  52. Amy says:

    I love when you share the private moments in life. I love that we all have them. I think about you in a meeting talking shop, but your mind may be drifting back to the frog in your filter. The person next to you might be thinking about something weird her grandmother once said. And next to her a man is laughing in his mind at the way his Cheerios seemed to be making a smiley face this morning. Thanks for the story.

  53. Pingback: Winning a Fool’s Gold Medal « Steve’s Leaves

  54. Ken Samson says:

    Ann,

    Hmmm! Your writing is very captivating. Frogs! Why would I want to read about them? I guess you kept holding my attention from one paragraph to the next. Very riveting.

    Oh, lest I forget, and where did you find a sculpted version of the Geico marketing guy (LOL). Apparently he is a froggy, but at first glance, he reminds me of the British-accented gecko used in Geico commercials – attitude ‘n’ all.

    Good word. Nice read.

    - Ken.

  55. Ken Samson says:

    Ann,

    Hmmm! Your writing is very captivating. Frogs! Why would I want to read about them? I guess you kept holding my attention from one paragraph to the next. Very riveting.

    Oh, lest I forget, and where did you find a sculpted version of the Geico marketing guy (LOL). Apparently he is a froggy, but at first glance, he reminds me of the British-accented gecko used in Geico commercials – attitude ‘n’ all.

    Good word. Nice read.

    - Ken.

  56. Ann Handley says:

    Ken: Riveting… or “ribeting.” Whatev. ; )

    Sculpture is from the Boston Common Frog Pond. Alas, not a gekko at all.. but indeed, a frog.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  57. Ann Handley says:

    Ken: Riveting… or “ribeting.” Whatev. ; )

    Sculpture is from the Boston Common Frog Pond. Alas, not a gekko at all.. but indeed, a frog.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  58. It is very fantastic style of writing. Thanks for sharing it.

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