October 10, 2009
Originally published June 28, 2004
Young Jack came by today to visit with me for an hour or so. He was dropped off at his grandmother's house for babysitting, got really bored ("there's nothing to do over there anymore, Mr. Rob.") and came across the street to see me. We watched a movie and ate some popcorn.
Jack has a pet frog now. It's a "red-backed tree-frog," which is something I've never heard of. Jack captured the thing in the woods and has it in a cage now. He's made a little lake for the frog to swim in and decorated the cage with all sorts of neat, froggy stuff. He even put a hamster wheel in there and he told me that the frog likes playing in it, if Jack first picks the frog up and shoves his unsuspecting ass into the wheel.
"If I PUT him in there, he makes the wheel go round and round. It's funny to see, Mr. Rob." I'll bet it is.
What is it with little boys and frogs? I have NEVER seen a boy that didn't want to catch a frog or torture one when he found it. Quinton has come home from a romp in the woods with frogs in his pockets numerous times. (The frogs didn't enjoy the trip.) I did the same thing when I was a kid.
Jack is very proud of his frog and he told me that he catches bugs and feeds them to "Bully" by hand. "Frogs only like live bugs," I said.
"I know that, Mr. Rob. That's why I was wondering if you had a jar I could put some in if I go out and catch supper for Bully. I like to watch his tongue go shooting out when he's hungry."
I found an empty pickle jar, punched a couple of holes in the lid and gave it to Jack. "There's a lunch pail for Bully. Catch all the bugs you want." Jack went flying out the door to catch insects.
About 30 minutes later, my doorbell rang. Jack met Kevin, the new kid next door, and they made fast friends. Together, they had loaded that jar with about 40 different bugs, ranging from ants to a full-grown walking stick. I held it up in admiration and peered intently through the glass. "You boys made a real haul," I told them. "Bully is gonna like this."
Jack pointed to the walking stick and asked, "Is that one too big? Can a frog eat that?" I told him that, based on my experience with frogs, I believed that a frog will eat anything it can fit into its mouth. Besides, what could go wrong? If Bully didn't eat the walking stick, Jack would have another pet in the cage. He seemed satisfied with that idea
He and Kevin went tearing off after that to search for more bugs. I went back inside, sat on the sofa and thought about how much I miss Quinton.
Frogs, bugs and little boys. The holy trinity.
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