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Gourmet Dinner

February 5, 2013

‘There he goes…get ’em, Darrell!’  I called to my older brother who, in turn, hopped from rock to rock along the riverbank in his tattered P.F. Flyers.

Grandma tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to the left.  There sat another one…a big green river frog, just sitting there on that flat rock jutting out over the water.

I crouched down and snuck up on it as quietly as I could, and, at the last possible moment, I lunged for him only to have him slip through my fingers and disappear into the river…miraculously, I stayed dry for the most part.  Being a girly-girl, I didn’t like frogs in the first place, so my lunge was really kind of feeble.  Darrell was so much better at this than I was.  And he didn’t mind the slime at all.

Danny, my two year old brother wasn’t quite big enough for frog catching yet, but he sure tried…he was pretty good at chasing them off, though, much to the chagrin of Darrell and I.

At Grandma’s suggestion, we moved a few yards upstream and continued our hunt.  We scanned the edge of the river;  every rock and fallen log, every nook and cranny, searching for our prey.  Whenever I spotted one, I’d point and Darrell would beat me to it, every single time. 

We were looking for the big  frogs.  No sense in getting the little ones…Darrell thought they’d be harder to clean, so he figured we’d best focus on the granddaddies, the great big ones…they’d have the longest legs, he’d said.

By the time we were done, we had enough for a meal.  And Darrell’d caught ’em all.

Once back at the house, Grandma put us to work…I set the table and Darrell kept an eye on Danny, making sure he didn’t get into anything he shouldn’t.  Grandma was busiest of all…breading and frying frog legs in mom’s biggest cast iron skillet, making our supper.

She and Darrell cleaned our catch while we were still down at the river.  While they were busy with that, Danny and I played in the sand at the water’s edge, making roads int he dirt with our fingers and watching the water slowly seep into them.  We were wet and dirty, and our shoes were full of sand by the time we were done, but Grandma didn’t mind, she just helped us brush off the sand and empty our shoes before we went into the house.

Finally, dinner was ready…we were quick to wash up and run to the table.  We couldn’t wait to taste frog legs.

‘Oooh, these are good…mom and dad’ll be sorry they missed this!’

Grandma chuckled, ‘Your folks might not be quite as excited about eating frog legs as you kids are…’

That stopped us cold.  For the life of us, we couldn’t figure out why not…we thought they were great…and a whole lot of fun to catch, too…at least for Darrell.  We’d caught fish with our parents and eaten why not frogs?  After all, they ate frogs in France…we’d heard that on TB, and Grandma’d been to France and saw them on a meny right next to the snails.  So why not here in Minnesota?  It made perfect sense to us…and to Grandma, too.

Now, our grandmother was an adventurous type.  And, she’d traveled a lot…to Europe, Scandinavia, the Holy Lands, and all over the States.  After her trips, she would tell us about all the different foods she’d eaten.  But, this might’ve even been her first time for frog legs.

Grandma grew up dirt poor.  Born the fourth of seventeen kids, she learned early on how to stretch a dime, and she knew how to have fun, too.  Expensive toys weren’t required…she taught us to make do with what we had…a valuable lesson, for sure.  One that we carried with us and passed down to our own kids.

As old as Grandma was…probably about fifty, she still remembered how to play.  And she liked kids, too.  We’d play baseball with her and ride bikes, and lots of other stuff, too.  She even helped us build forts in the woods near our house and pretend we were camping.

Our folks were a different story altogether…we weren’t so sure they knew how to have fun…they always said ‘Children should be seen and not heard,’ and we never did figure out how to have fun when we were afraid to make a peep.  Once in a while, dad wanted to play Yahtzee, but that was about it.  Grandma was a lot more fun to have around.  Maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be…the parents need to see that all their families needs are met and the grandparents get to do the fun stuff.

Our folks went off by themselves on weekends int he summertime…camping, and fishing…that kind of thing.  And when they were home, they were always so busy, and they yelled quite a bit.  At us.  It seemed like we couldn’t do much of anything right.

So we looked forward to their fishing trips.  A log.  When they went fishing, Grandma came to stay with us…and she knew how to have fun!

When they returned from this particular fishing trip, the three of us couldn’t wait to tell them about the frog legs we’d eaten.

Mom and dad didn’t believe us when we said we’d eaten frog legs.

They looked straight at Grandma, and she just smiled and nodded.

‘Oh mother, why would you do such a thing?’  Mom inquired.

Grandma took in a deep breath and gave mom a look that said she’d raised four kids of her own and said, ‘Well, Doris, you left me in charge and I thought it would be fun to take the kids to the river to catch frogs and come home and fix them for dinner.  It kept us busy all day and it didn’t hurt us a bit.’

Like I said…she knew how to have fun.

Finally, curiosity got the better of dad…’What’d they taste like?’

The three of us chimed together, ‘Chicken!’ 


  1. Greg Frosig permalink

    Another great story on your blog, Karen!

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Love this story!

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