Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Stowaways, Circa early 80s

When I was a child my family spent most of our vacations in Hayward, Wisconsin. As long as I stayed within shouting distance, I was pretty much allowed to run free. With that freedom, I was left to explore the little fish swimming near the dock, various bugs, and other wildlife- probably to the chagrin of all the aforementioned.

Frogs, one of my favorite specimens to observe, and play with, were plentiful and easily found hoping around or taking a dip in the lake. I loved frogs and toads. The variety of shape, size and skin type was astounding.

I also loved our nighttime drives down the long secluded road leading to the large white gates that signified we were home. The headlights of our old car would illuminate a path for all the little bouncing frogs and toads out for their evening meal. My father would do his best to carefully drive around them so as to give them another day to eat their fill of our arch nemesis, the mosquito.

Packing the car to return home, which was always a long process since it included strategically placing everything that we came with, the random things we purchased while there and collecting our four cats that found hiding better than returning to the loathed cat carrier and then, worse, the car, I decided I wanted to take some of my amphibian friends home with me. I asked my parents if I could add two little frogs, each the size of the tip of my thumb, to our already overcrowded car, which came a reply- a resounding no.

Not to be deterred, I fashioned a brilliant plan to hide them, better yet, stow them away in the car until it was too late and they were home with us. Instant new pets! Excited, I found a hole in the car door just large enough to place my special stowaways. I popped them in with absolutely no trouble at all.

I must have looked guilty because not terribly long after I executed my "could not go wrong" plan, my plan was discovered! The horror!! Luckily, my father, a man of many skills, including taking a car door apart, was there to liberate the stowaways. Both escaped unharmed, but, I am sure, quite bewildered by their strange journey from the grasses behind the house, to the hands of a giant to the dark warm mobile cave that they inexplicably found themselves. Their lives would never be the same.

We, on the other hand, had to get on the road, and, without much further ado, minus some reprimanding and a bit of a grumpy driver, we were. The white gates faded in the distance all the while cat sirens provided back up to ELO’s "Don't Bring Me Down." An all time favorite of the grumpy driver.