Today I was at my dad’s farm. I’ve actually not been to my father’s farm for quite a while because he regularly comes into town. Yesterday, however, was his birthday and so today I made the trip out to see him.
We strolled around “the grounds” and visited the pigeons, geese, guinea fowl, and chickens. I gave the bees a wide berth and met his horse Clyde and mule Jackson. We rounded the corner, wandering towards the house again and as I was listening to him talk with my head down, inspecting the grass and looking over at one of his dogs that was accompanying us. I saw movement. Like…hopping…but bigger than a grasshopper. Unless it was one huge-ass grasshopper.
This is what I was debating in my mind, frozen in spot, when my dad said, ‘oh…there are a TON of frogs here now’
“Frooooggggssss???”, I asked.
“Yeah. A ton of them.”
I immediately dropped to my hands and knees to find the little bastard. Frogs?? Jesus christ! I LOVE frogs! WTF, Dad?? Why the casual tone, goddammit!??
“Jesus, Dad…I think I just turned 10 again,” I called to him from 3 inches from the ground, “‘cept my reflexes aren’t as good.”
He chuckled on his way back to the house and I eventually caught up to him because the frog got through the chicken wire before I could stop it. In hindsight, I hope he made it back out before the chickens found him. I was excited. Dad may as well told me he had chocolate geysers near the garden or landmines that exploded into hours of This American Life podcasts. The farm was alive with frogs, apparently!
Anyway…we went back and ate cake n’ stuff and went out to bring the geese in. I had no idea you could call geese. There’s one goose that somehow had a hole between his neck and his mouth that his tongue was hanging through. Dad had sewn the hole shut with some string so that the goose could eat again, leaving the string a little long so that he could recognize her and track her progress. It’s now stiff from exposure to mud and stuff so it is kinda curled out like a thin, long goatee. I’ve secretly decided to call that one Mefisto.
I saw another frog. This time, I wanted him more than he wanted freedom. I pounced, he jumped, I won. I ran to the house with the frog in my hands “Daaaddd! I neeeed a jaaaarrrr!”
Dad’s gf came out with an old peanut butter jar and dad burned some holes in the lid. I stuck the frog in there. Okay…so…umm…what now?
Dad gave me some advice about how to feed it and set up a small habitat….and then…something weird happened. My inner grownup said, ‘Himbly…are you going to really get this frog set up in an even remotely comfortable way ASAP?’
“huh? Shut up. I caught a frog.”
“yeah, but now what? He’s in a peanut butter jar. That’s no place for a frog. He belongs out there.”
“but I want him.”
“I know you do, but he’s just going to hang out for a few days and die. Face it.”
“but…can’t I ever have a frog?”
“okay, I’ll tell you what. If you go home and in the next few weeks you can find a small aquarium and set it up properly, then we can come back to the farm and catch a few frogs? Is that better? Would you like that?”
“yeah…that would be better, wouldn’t it?”
Okay, although that inner dialogue didn’t happen exactly that way, it is true that my inner grownup had to bargain with myself and I am considering setting up an aquarium for when I go back. Grownups suck. I would have had a frog right now.