“Raymond, that bull frog is waking up the whole lake. How can we sleep with him carrying on?”
I turned over on my cot. It was only then I could hear a muffled “hmph” of the supposed offender. My sister and I would have a new project in the morning. I could tell.
It was dark, way too early to think about all of this right now. Pretty soon the only thing I could hear was Grandpa’s timber-rattling snores in the other room.
Dawn was peeking in the windows as the sun rose over the blue waters of Lake Ripley. I wiggled my sister’s foot so we could get an early start.
“Hey, 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 got a plastic bread wrapper from Grandma, a metal coat hanger and a wooden yard stick. With those and some tape we’d made a frog net. We made sure to poke some holes in the bag so that the water would drain out when we caught the offending bull frog.
At the ages of 10 and 12 we were allowed to take the row boat all over the lake, so long as we had life jackets on and stayed close to the shoreline in case of bad weather or an accident. The folks sat on the porch and kept an eye on us through binoculars. Today was no different as we told them of our plan to capture Mr. Frog and take him over to the adjoining lake--Little Ripley. We packed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, apples and some drinks.
Soon we were paddling to the lily pads where we suspected the bull frog was 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 heard a splash.”
“Stop the boat and let’s listen. Just be really quiet. He was over there by that lily to the left.”
“Do you see him…under that leaf? Quick!”
I splashed the bread bag-net into the water and after several tries came 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 didn’t even let our one “hmph” on the whole trip. The sun was glinting on the quiet waves as it warmed up. We took off our sweatshirts and kept going.
Squeak, dip, slosh, squeak, dip slosh were the hypnotic sounds we heard from the oars as I paddled around the lake towards our bull frog’s new home.
“Hey, what was that huge splash? Did he get away?”
“Hope, 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.”
We 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. This looks like the place to go into Little Ripley!”
I knew from past explorations that the water here got really shallow between the two lakes, but they were sort of connected. I jumped out with my flip-flops squishing in the mud, pulling the front of the boat behind me.
There we were...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.
All we heard as our passenger dipped out of sight under a flowering lily pad was, “Hmph-Hmph.”
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