It started as a jest. Me, totally depleted from a non-stop week, wondering aloud whatever I would cook for dinner and them, jonesing for a new adventure to top a morning spent dumpster diving for go-cart parts, offering up frog legs. Me laughing and telling them to go on. Them, thinking I was serious, heading off to the creek to deliver, armed to the teeth with pellet guns and ambition. Me, watching them come back, green bucket brimming with something, gorge rising as understanding dawned. Me, trying to explain this to Lucy from the safety of the deck:
Look Lu, I wonder what they’re all looking at? Must be something pretty interesting in that bucket. No, you should stay here by mama they’ll get bored soon enough and hop away. Oh, never mind, they’ve all been shot to hell in the interest of letting boys be boys and now I’m going to have to cook the darn things.
What follows was dinner. Remind me never to invite you over.
My pride is only a little salvaged to tell you that it is, in fact, frog season. From Memorial Day to November. And that while they ate their frog legs, I ate fresh homemade guacamole with rice chips and plotted how much bleach it’ll take me to want to cook in my kitchen ever again. And that I spoke to the other mother (luckily already a dear friend) and told her one woodpecker and twenty two frog legs is enough, that they can cook in her dutch oven next time. And, yes, I did try one. Had to with three proud boys looking on and expecting me to swallow past the vomit in my throat.
Mind over matter. Mind over matter.
Later while calling the boys in from the tree where they are building a hunting blind, I looked down and saw a legless frog carcass bloating in the grass next to my bare foot and instantly became frozen as I envisioned ten more just like it, dotting my yard like a mine field in Afghanistan. After shrieking to them to get down here right now and get this thing and any others outta my yard and then meet me at the outside shower to be scoured clean, I mustered up what little dignity I had left and declared myself to be punched out for the night.
This is me being real. And vowing to become a vegetarian since a vegetarian would never be expected to try a frog leg. And that would be worth giving up bacon for.