Up close and personal, my daily dose of frog made them the one thing in nature that I adored, studied and knew. Intimately. I never tired of watching them, feeling them, squeezing them, making them have jumping contests, finding frog eggs or listening to them.
My older sisters were in biology one year. Dissecting frogs was part of the semester's lab. After days of hearing them recount each procedure and how interesting it was, I decided it was necessary for me also. It was curiosity that drove me to the dark insides of my favorite creature.
The doomed frog was captured and confined until I found a wood block and my only tool. A butter knife from the kitchen.
Remember, I was only about 4-5 years old, had not seen surgery performed on anything, the one piece of information was that frogs were getting cut open and it was so intriguing. A rubbery formaldehyde soaked frog and a fresh, live one are different objects altogether, but I hadn't heard that part.
I laid him out on the block and with all my strength started to saw off his back leg first. It seemed like a good place to begin. Not much happened with the dull, rounded edge of that butter knife except that frog started kicking and bucking and thrashed so hard that I almost lost him. Determined to be successful, I kept at it with tears streaming down my cheeks as I realized he was hurting. I had gone too far to stop now. As soon as the leg separated and his bodily liquid came gushing out, I could not go on.
Can't remember the rest, but think I would have tried to bandage him up. Frogs can't hop on one leg. My remorse, lack of understanding, failure to satisfy my curiosity and the incongruities of my experience with my sisters puzzled me for days.
Mom would often ask someone to say a simple grace before supper. When she thought I was old enough, maybe 5, it was finally time. We had company, so it needed to be my best. I bowed my head, folded my hands and spoke these fatal words, "God, thank you for the birds that sing and the frogs that croak, amen" The whole table broke out in an instant spontaneous roar, laughing till their sides ached, then, every time they looked at each other would split up again.
I cried and cried and cried. Couldn't eat. Wouldn't be comforted. The more mom tried to explain it, soothing me, a laugh would erupt and off they'd go.
The only thing that did comfort me is I felt God liking me and my prayer a lot. I'm still unashamedly, unabashedly thankful for the birds that sing and the frogs that croak. He still likes it.