Happy 4th of July folks! Rising to the “Remember the Time – Summer Vacation Back in the Day” theme challenge (see Emily and Ashley’s link below), I’ve decided to finally explain the origin of my relationship with frogs. As you’ve seen from previous posts, I DO NOT LIKE frogs. They haunt my travels and have an almost supernatural tendency to die in my presence.
As I recall, I was roughly 11 or 12 years old the summer our family went camping in Vermont. We packed 2 parents and 5 kids into the converted little school bus, and drove for hours and hours and hours. We arrived at a primitive campsite in the woods (probably a State Park) and set up tents – only parents were allowed to sleep in the bus. When I say “primitive” campsite, I’m talking primitive in the old school way – this would have been 1969 or ’70. There were a couple of outhouses, but no bath house, no sinks, no mirrors. Pop explained that we DID have running water – the stream briskly flowing behind the camper. So after spending a relatively uncomfortable night sleeping in the tent and having suffered through a camp breakfast (with apologies to Mom who was doing her best on an antiquated gas stove wedged into the short bus behind the driver’s seat), I groggily went to the stream to brush my teeth. Pop had shown us how to use the “running water” for this chore and to spit downstream (more apologies to the environmentalists – it was a different era, okay?). I knelt in the rocky sand at the edge of the stream, more focused on my sore knees than anything else. I dipped my toothbrush into the water as it rushed over upstream rocks, pooling into a small depression in front of me. My action apparently disturbed the quiet waters at the bottom of the pool . . . and a large, dead, bullfrog popped to the surface – just AFTER I’d put the wet toothbrush into my mouth. What was a bullfrog doing in a mountain stream? Who knew? Who cared? All I knew was that in my mouth was something that had touched a bloated dead carcass! The screams of a pre-teen female in total hysteria echoed throughout the woods for more than a few minutes. To this day, I have no memory of what happened after this incident – that camping trip was OVER in my mind and it was many, many years before I went camping again!