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June 4, 2012
Life on Planet Kathy
Eating the Frog
by Kathryn H. Kidd

People have said from looking at my pictures that I look like I have a frog in my pocket. There may not be one in my pocket, but I know a frog when I see it.

I grew up in New Orleans, which, at least when I was a child, was Frog Heaven. There were frogs everywhere. Although my husband Fluffy and I hear frogs when we open the windows at night during the summer, we rarely see them. When I was a child, it was a different story.

A frog got me in a lot of trouble once. I'm the oldest of three girls, and there are two years between each of us. We grew up in a neighborhood full of children, back in the days when kids were outside from the time we awoke until the time our parents called us inside to go to sleep.

We lived in one of the first housing developments in New Orleans. The street where we lived had one street light, which illuminated the curve of the street and was located in front of the house next door. The neighborhood kids adopted that lighted segment of the street as our own, undoubtedly to the disgust of the retired couple that lived in the house behind the street lamp.

We made a lot of noise as we played, and the Sherbs looked balefully through their windows, waiting for us to be called indoors so they could at last go to sleep in peace. I don't know anyone who ever actually spoke to the Sherbs. They were two pairs of eyes on the other side of the glass.

Because frogs were everywhere, it was not uncommon for them to be flattened by the automobiles that went by. After a frog had been run over a few dozen times, it was as flat as cardboard. We could have used them as Frisbees, but we didn't know about Frisbees because they hadn't been invented yet.

One summer afternoon, as the older kids on the block were playing in the street, my sister Susie ran up and wanted to join the fun. She was four years younger than I was, and she was far too little for whatever game we were playing at the time. She didn't think she was too young, however, and she was very persistent.

Finally, in a desperate move to get rid of her, I peeled a flattened frog off the street and handed it to her. "I'll let you play with us," I said, "but first you have to eat that frog."

She did.

As soon as Susie realized the enormity of what she had done, which was immediately after she swallowed that first bite, she ran home screaming, "Kathy made me eat a frog!" Well, technically I didn't make her eat the frog, but I got in trouble anyhow. That was the end of my playing outside for the day.

Move the clock ahead a few decades. A friend of our, Melanie, has a deep and abiding love of frogs. She has frogs everywhere -- inside her house, outside her house, and everywhere else. She has frogs in places where most people don't even know frogs can be. They aren't live frogs, mind you. She collects frog figurines the way most of us collect -- well, whatever we collect, only more so.

Melanie's love of frogs isn't just aimless. She uses frogs to motivate her every morning. She likes to quote an old saying, "If you eat a live frog first thing in the morning, nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day." When Melanie wakes up, she eats the frog by doing the most unpleasant task of the day before she does anything else.

I have my own frog. It's called exercise. I do it first, before I'm completely awake. Once that frog is down my gullet, the rest of the day is gravy.

What's your biggest frog today? If you eat it now and get it over with, the rest of your day will be brighter. And yes, you can run to Mother and tell her Kathy made you do it. I'm benevolent that way.

Copyright © 2021 by Kathryn H. Kidd Printed from