The Biggest Frog

If you travel down the main arterial that goes through my home town, you would think that it has always been a thriving metropolis, of sorts. It looks like any other little suburb with a shopping mall and eleventy four different varieties of fast food, hair salons, clothing stores, and the like.

Long before there was a giant strip mall, KFC, Auto Zone, Right Aid, Price Chopper, Burger King, Wendy’s, and Peebles Department Store, there was a field, a stream, and a storm drain.  And in that storm drain was a small eco system, inhabited by tad poles, minnows, and frogs of many sizes. The storm drain was fed by a little tributary from a couple of local creeks, including Vaughn’s Creek and the mighty Cayadutta.

One of our favorite little kid activities was catching tad poles and frogs. Tad poles were a sorta kinda “proto-frog” that would occasionally be found to have a couple of legs or arms protruding from their fat little bodies. The frogs we caught would be placed in a glass jar with some holes poked in the top. Other than pulling them out for some occasional play time or dead fly lunch, these frogs were destined to suffer an agonizing death in the hot sun, when interest waned.

On any given day, we would ride our banana bikes over to the storm drain and its associated tributaries in search of Ralph, the legendary giant bull frog that inhabited the area. Apparently Ralph had been seen by a couple of the kids once or twice, so we all wanted this cherished frog for our own.  What the hell we would do with Ralph once we caught him, I dunno.

Now here is my claim, and I dare any SOB from my home town to contest it – I caught Ralph. After wandering around in the muck and mire all day in a solo frog hunt, I spotted his bulbous head protruding from the mud, grabbed him and (briefly) had him in my hands.  Oh the joy that overtook my soul! Even today I can still see his green little features and feel his squirming body in my hands. But, in an instant, he was gone as he slippethed from my grippeth. That’s my story and I am sticking to it. Unfortunately  there was no one present to corroborate my story. My claims were all poo-poo’d by the kid hierarchy. There was no parade in my honor or radio interview. I was literally a legend in my own mind.

What can we learn from this sad tale? Greatness is relative. This all happened four decades ago, and at least in the mind of this enlightened observer, it was a historically significant event. In fact on my tombstone, I want it to be said that I caught Ralph. Hundreds of years from now, when archeologists uncover my grave, the fact that I caught Ralph will still be documented.

So I guess what we can learn from this is that we should do everything with the greatest focus and fastidiousness, because who knows, it may be your greatest accomplishment.

All content copyright of Christopher Hammond