Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Yankee women are tough, according to one of my dear friends from the frozen intrepid north.

“We women of New England can give birth on an iceberg, swim back to the mainland across the North Sea, while carrying our newborns in our teeth—naked.”

“The mother is naked or the baby’s naked?”


New England women are tough. Right up until they come to semi-tropical Florida, that is. Give me one Yankee woman from Connecticut for a weekend, and I’ll show you a former Navy Lieutenant rolling around in someone’s St. Augustine grass shrieking “Is it on me? Is it on me?”

Two words. Tree frogs.

Tree frogs are sucker footed, car hopping, slime flinging, gooey-tongued attack animals. They are notorious stowaways and lurkers. It’s common knowledge here in the semi-tropics.

Tree frogs lurk in car doors and automobile air conditioning vents; they cling to windshield wiper blades and plot ways to leap through car windows so they can plaster themselves to northerners—also everybody else. Tree frogs are not Florida’s greatest ambassadors of good will, in my opinion.

“Let’s head over to the beach and experience the glory of a Florida horizon line,” I said to my Yankee friend, anxious that she had a positive semi-tropical visit. She’d already excreted enough sweat to fill a kid’s wading pool in the 150% humidity.

She was game—also gamey.

My son, Adam, decided to go along for the ride.

When Adam jumped into the backseat of the Grand Am, a tree frog followed. It jumped into the car in an elegant curving arc of slimy tree frog goop, landing with a plop on Adam’s leg. It’s little sucker feet attaching with efficient amphibian sucking action.

Let me be clear.

Adam jumped into the car. The frog jumped in. Adam jumped out—screaming. The tree frog stayed in—clinging wetly.

Panic spread like mildew. My friend was out of that car and sprinting for Maine before you could say “Kermit.”

I tried to appeal to my friend’s Puritan heritage and “can-do” Yankee spirit. 

“It’s just a little tree frog. The whole thing could fit on a nickel.” She continued to panic. “You’re too big to swallow. Come back. What’s a little frog toe glue?”

I watched as she stopped, dropped, and rolled her way across a neatly manicured lawn in suburbia. Just in case, the attack frog had secreted itself about her person, I suppose. Adam shuddered and brushed at imaginary suction cup glue on his leg.

My head started to hurt from excessive snorting, howling, and guffawing—all glazed over with a dash of nasal drip.

I kept right on laughing until out of the corner of my sharply trained eye, I caught sight of the tree frog making another grand leap. It jumped over my car seat like a thoroughbred riding to the hounds and landed on my right anklebone. There was a wet sound when it hit and sucked on.

I was out of that car and screaming, “Find it. Find it. Find it,” before you could say sucker feet.

There in a quiet Florida cul de sac, two middle-aged women stood weeping and shuddering. We yelled—okay—I yelled at Adam to begin a perimeter search. My formerly intrepid friend didn’t yell. She just faded away into “no-can-do” whimpering.

“Adam, you have to find it, or I will not hesitate to wreck this car should it jump on me while I’m busy exceeding the speed limit.”

“No-can-do, Mom, I’m still in recovery.”

We looked toward the car. Nothing moved. We looked at each other; no one moved. Time passed. Still nothing. 

Without warning or explanation, the nickel sized tree frog jumped out and disappeared into the green, green grass of home. We had been the victims of a drive by frogging . . .

. . . and survived—not gracefully, or well, or even with our self respect in tact—but we had survived.

Bring on the icebergs.

Linda (Two Words) Zern

1 comment:

Betty Horn said...

You have me howling, laughing so hard, until, that is, I find myself in a similar situation. Then my husband will be the one laughing. He's not afraid of tree frogs. His father's name, after all, was Kermit. Really.

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