by Kathleen Albin

It's that time of year; the end of the school season.  Reason to rejoice for parents and
students alike.  It's sort of a build up to this point.  Returning from spring break, we  turn our attention to the few short weeks remaining til that holy grail - summer break.

It's just this time of year my thoughts go back to the days my daughter was in school.  Think circa 1989, Masonville Elementary.  Part of the last day activities were to include the annual frog jumping contest.  Every red-blooded Masonville Elementary kid wanted to take part, but it was at a time where frogs were scarce.  At least at our house.  Alot of toads hanging around, but they didn't qualify.  I really wanted my daughter to have a frog for the contest, so I put the word out where I worked as a construction secretary that I needed a frog for the contest. Any frog would do; just so it was slimy, green, & could jump 7 feet in a single bound. Just kidding, but it was an added bonus if it was a good jumper.  My whining paid off when one of the guys in the shop who lived in a remote area in Hardin County said he'd get me a frog.  Ironically, we called him Charlie Webfoot, and he bore an uncanny resemblance to a Duck Dynasty character.  I was delighted, yet steeled myself for disappointment, knowing the frog famine we faced.

The next morning Charlie came in from the shop, depositing a 5-gallon bucket sporting a lid at my desk.  "Aaaaw, good thing for the lid," I thought, "poor little guy is liable to jump out."  Carefully, I pulled the lid up enough to get a look at the treasured amphibian.  It was at that point my eyes about fell out of my head at the sight of what stared back at me.  Amidst 3 inches of murky swamp water were five of the most HUMUNGOUS frogs I'd ever seen in my entire life!  Folks, they weren't just frogs, they were the size of dinner plates, and looked like those giant African frogs they always show on National Geographic.  And JUMP - those suckers were aching to bust out of that bucket with giant leaps to freedom!!  I was speechless, and indebted with gratitude to Charlie Webfoot.

On the day of the contest, I delivered the monsters to school.  She chose her favorite and rented the rest to other kids for payment of Twinkies, erasers, and whatever else a 7 year old kid had to offer in payment.  She chose well, and took home honors with the winning frog.  My only regret was I was not there to witness the event, but my heart soared just hearing the story from my daughter of the impact our passel of frogs made at the school.  It was only then I realized I'd forgotten to pick the frogs back up from school!  Frantically, I jumped into the car and roared back to school, only to be told by the janitor they'd turned them loose on the school lawn.  I was shocked and devastated.  Knowing swamp frogs surely could not survive on dry land for long, I dropped to my hands and knees and commenced to crawling around, looking for any sign of them.  But it was too late.  They were gone, and all I had left was an empty 5- gallon bucket.  But wait!  Was that thunder?  My fears were quelled when, within
minutes, I was drenched with a downpour which continued throughout the night,into the next day.  Enough time for our celebrated frogs of Masonville Elementary to hop to the nearest pond.

It will be a few years before my granddaughter goes to school.  But you can bet if they ever have a frog jumping contest marking their end-of-school-year festivities, Grandma will be there --- cheering her toad on.  Giant African frogs once in a lifetime are enough.

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School starts in August and we are getting you prepared this July!

On Saturday, July 26, 2014, come out to the 5th annual Back to School Expo at Eastland Mall from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Teachers, parents and children – come check out the the new features for this year’s classroom and students. Maximize your back to school shopping for grade school thru college.

If your business would like to have a booth, please fill out this fill out this vendor form and we will get in touch with you shortly!


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