Last winter while watching TV one night, out of nowhere I hear a croak. I thought it was on TV so I ignored it. A few minutes later, croak. I muted the TV and listened. Croak. What the…? I couldn’t be hearing a frog. In the winter? When it’s thirty-something degrees outside?
The only frogs I have ever heard croak in the winter are the ones that seek refuge in the plants that my grandma brings in to the house. I still didn’t think I was hearing it right. So I opened my door just enough to put my head outside and I waited. Croak. What the…? I knew it had to be somewhere in the garden just outside my apartment because it was SO FREAKING LOUD. I decided to deal the cold for just a minute while I tried to figure out which garden he was in. I was about to give up and turned to go back inside to warm up and what do you know…
People didn’t believe me that I was hearing a frog, of all things, outside my apartment in the middle of winter. I smiled every time I heard him at night. I never really heard him during the day. Then I heard my neighbors talking a few weeks later about the croaking of a frog. By then the temperatures began to rise. Soon spring would be upon us. My neighbor, Martha, decided to plant some herbs in the garden in front of her apartment shortly after she moved in. We talked a little about the frog everyone had been hearing. I told my neighbors that his name was Fred. Most of them looked at me like I wasn’t all there in the head. I showed people the picture that I took.
Then one day, Martha was taking her empty plant containers and what-not to the dumpster and what do you know? Fred had snuck into her trash and she almost threw him away. She carefully scooped him up and placed him back in his garden.
I’m not sure when we stopped hearing Fred. As winter fell upon us this year, I can’t help be miss hearing that little frog outside my apartment. Trust me. He was little. My picture makes him look bigger than he was. Fred was only about two and a half inches in length. My grandma said that the smallest frogs always seem to produce the loudest croaks. I was surprised when I took the picture that the flash from my camera didn’t scare Fred off. He just sat there, stuck to the stucco on my wall and stared at me.
I miss Fred. He became our neighborhood frog and all of us watched where we stepped for the longest time, just in case Fred was on the sidewalk. Goodbye Fred. You will always be our frog.