When I was a kid, I liked to catch creatures of the wild and play with them, learn about them, try to "keep" them. There was a lot of "catch & release" of frogs, crawdads, little snakes, turtles, and such. I used to collect frog eggs and keep them in jars of pond water until the day that they hatched into tadpoles, and then began growing their tiny feet, which turned into legs, then arms sprouted in odd ways, and finally, their tails began shrinking, miraculously, into nothingness. And then they were "FROGS". And at that point, they usually hopped out of their enclosure and moved on with their lives.
Crawdads were not nice to play with, but it was a sport to catch them. Interestingly, females often harbored their teeny-tiny baby 'dads under their tails. Turtles were fun to discover and bring home. Sometimes I would paint my initials on their backs, so as to mark in neighborhood history that I had found THAT turtle. One afternoon I was playing with a turtle, and it stretched its head and neck way out of the shell, and bit the corner of my sweatshirt. And it hung there. My Dad was standing nearby with a neighbor man, Mr. Beck (Sam Beck, not Gene Beck, who was away in Vietnam at that time). Mr. Beck saw the turtle and said matter-of-factly, "Well, you know, he will hang on until the next time it lightnings."
I was in fearful awe. How long would I have to go around with a turtle dangling from my sweatshirt? (I was such a gullible child. Once Sandra McCall rode her bicycle past my house, and called out that a tornado was seen in Japan and was on its way toward us. I ran in with the news. My parents were dumbfounded, and not at the impending doom.) Back to the turtle: My father sauntered over and wrenched the turtle off my sweatshirt, and all was well in my world.
I remember playing with a frog out in my front yard one afternoon, hopping when he hopped, following him around in the grass. I remember looking up and seeing Gene Beck in his Marine uniform, watching me from his parents' driveway. He was home on leave from Vietnam. He once told me, years later, that his first trip home was over the 4th of July, and we kids spent the day popping firecrackers, while he hid cowering in his bedroom, because he could not handle the noise that sounded like gunfire.
How was a little girl who played with frogs to understand what Vietnam was?
That Spouse o' Mine came home this afternoon and I went out to talk to him. In mid-sentence, I said, "Well, lookie there! Naked Ladies!" He did look, but he already knew what I was talking about:
We did not plant these lilies, but there they are!
A few days ago I mentioned a vibrant elderly woman in our past who drank buttermilk. Mrs. Robinson had lots of Naked Ladies growing in her yard, and every year she would titter that her "Naked Ladies had come back this year!"
She was a fun woman. She picked poke weed from her property to eat (like collard greens, I think.) Some people think poke weed is toxic. It never seemed to bother Mrs. Robinson. She was not allergic to poison ivy, and would walk through her pecan grove pulling the vine from her trees. She also had a chokeberry tree which bore fruit every year. She hated the tree, but she used the berries. Nowdays, if one reads about chokeberries and poke weed, he can learn about their dietary benefits. (I suppose this assumes one knows the difference in toxic plants and berries found on one's acreage...)
Mrs. Robinson ate oatmeal every morning for breakfast. As she got older, there were times when she forgot to turn off the stove and wandered outdoors to start her day, sans oatmeal. We Armstrongs rented a pasture from her for the kids' horses and ponies, and we were over at her house every morning and every evening for horse graining, haying, and watering. There were a few instances of turning "the fire" off for her, and her exclaiming about her burned oatmeal. Mrs. Robinson was a treasure in our lives, and especially in our kids' days. She was a blessing for us all to know.
Back to frogs: A couple of days ago I drove into town for lunch with the ladies, and upon returning to my car, I spied a vibrant green tiny frog sitting on my car. Quandary. I was set to drive ~ 14 miles back home, and what would happen to Mr. Frog? I had a to-go cup of coffee, and I poured it out, placed the frog into my to-go cup, and off we went, back home, and to the Grotto. I released him near our grotto pond and wished him well.
This morning I was picking up the living room, and sweeping the hardwood floors. There was a leaf on the floor right by me. And then it jumped. And I jumped higher.
It was a tiny frog.
Consternation on my part.
I took a cup and covered him, and placed a paper underneath him, and transported him out to the grotto pond.
So...I think I must have at leeast three grotto frogs hanging around the pond.
Unless Martin the Kitten, who sees all things moving, has interceded.
And that's a whole 'nother chapter...
Lastly (this is really a disconjointed blog entry...), the College Boy Graham has been working here in Kansas this summer, for an engineering firm. (He is a computer science major at Western Washington Uni, in Bellingham.) Graham gets up in the morning and heads to work, most mornings. Some mornings he takes a quick run (3 miles) and then showers and heads to work. Nearly every evening, Graham arrives home from a day on computers, and stretches, and heads out for a 10-mile run.
Yowzah. So...there are some of us who relish in the daily 2.5-mile experience, and then there is my baby boy.
Yup. Love that kid.