Sunday, May 26, 2013

Mr. Bull Frog’s Reluctant Relocation

Genesis 1:21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

“Raymond, that bull frog is waking up the whole lake, how can we sleep with him carrying on?”

I turn over on my cot, it is only then I can hear a muffled “hmph” of the supposed offender. My sister and I would have a new project in the morning, I can tell. It is dark, way too early to think about all of this right now. Pretty soon the only thing I can hear was Grandpa’s timber rattling snores in the other room.

Dawn is peeking in the windows as the sun rises over the blue waters of Lake Ripley. I wiggle my sister’s foot so we can get an early start.

“Hey, Squeeky, do you think we can catch a bull frog with a net like we make to catch butterflies?”

“Huh? I’m sleeping. What’s the matter with you?”

After breakfast we get a plastic bread wrapper from Grandma, a metal coat hanger and a wooden yard stick. With those and some tape we’d make a frog net. We make sure to poke some holes in the bag so that the water will drain out when we catch the offending bull frog.

At the ages of 10 and 12 we are allowed to take the row boat all over the lake, so long as we have life jackets on and stay close to the shoreline in case of bad weather or an accident. The folks sit on the porch and keet an eye on us through binoculars. Today is no different as we tell them of our plan to capture Mr. Frog and take him over to the adjoining lake, Little Ripley. We get peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, apples and some drinks. Soon we are paddling to the lily pads where we suspected the bull frog is living.

“I hear him! Go a little more to the right, see, there are those bulging eyes sticking up. Look how huge he is – bigger than my two hands together, and greenish- brown colors too.”

“Where, I only hear a splash.”

“Stop the boat and let’s listen, just be really quiet. He is over there by that lily to the left.”

“Do you see him, under that leaf? Quick!”

I splash the bread bag-net into the water and after several tries come up with the bull frog! “Man, he is huge, no wonder we can hear him at night.”

“I didn’t hear a thing except Grandma getting all excited.”

“Oh, he is really interesting! Look at those eyes, he doesn’t seem happy to be here in the boat, does he?”
“DON’T let him get out!”

We rowed and rowed, keeping that frog in the plastic bag with some water in the bottom of the boat. He doesn’t even let our one “hmph” on the whole trip. The sun is glinting on the quiet waves as it warms up. We take off our sweatshirts and keet going.

Squeak, dip, slosh, squeak, dip slosh were the hypnotic sounds we heard from the oars as I paddle around the lake towards our bull frog’s new home.

“Hey, what is that huge splash, did he get away?”

“Nope, I just saw a large pike jump on the left side of the boat.”

“Boy, I thought we’d lost him. Look at that darning needle.”

Squeeky and I both saw the dragon-fly hovering over the oar lock, with its beautiful glistening wings slightly in motion. The frog must have seen it too as his tongue began flickering in anticipation of a snack but the dragon-fly stayed just out of reach.

“Hey, Mr. Frog, soon we’ll have a brand new home for you in another batch of lily pads and far enough away so we’ll never hear you again in the night time.”

“Look, there are some cat tails coming up and this looks like the place to go into Little Ripley!”

I knew from past explorations that the water here gets really shallow between the two lakes but they are sort of connected. I jump out with my flip-flops squishing in the mud pulling the front of the boat behind me. Here we are in Little Ripley.

“Look, there are more lily pads!”

“Come here, you wiggly guy, off you go into your new home.” My sister grabbed the bread bag and its greenish-brown occupant and unceremoniously dumped him over the side of the old row boat.

“Hmph, hump” was all we heard as our passenger dips out of sight under flowering lily pad.

And Grandma slept well the rest of the summer. So did the rest of us but maybe for a different reason!

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved

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