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Finding hope in a plague of frogs

Who could possibly be attracted to speckled gray, lumpy toads? Not me, but somewhere in my childhood, I began noticing baby frogs — the variety that hatch in early summer and can spring great distances for their itty-bitty size.

I remember chasing them through the lawn, catching my share and keeping them in a fruit jar-turned terrarium until one of my parents told me to release them. They were also the first heralds of spring’s arrival. The creek across Hwy. 30 was Frog Land, and on the first mild days of March or April, their mighty choruses assured me that spring and summer days were on the way.

Next, I began appreciating all the small glass, pottery and ceramic frogs that rested on retail shelves. My collection swelled to 30-plus by my teens. I no longer chased the breathing variety, but continued to be fascinated by the collectible ones.

The collecting years eventually culminated with my keeping only a few prized reptiles. Still, family and friends knew I kept a special affection for the tiny creatures whether created from a mold or making a live appearance on our back door. They were definitely a curious and singular creation from the Creator.

Our change of address to Brandon placed us only yards away from an off-and-on stream and a couple of small lakes designed for the golf course. It was Frog Land again. Not intentionally, I exacerbated the frog attraction when I placed a couple of fountains in our yard near our back door.

Over our six-year residency here, we’ve enticed and greatly expanded the frog population and all within close quarters. One fountain is their tadpole lair, and another is their croaking performance stage.

This year has been the spring and summer of rains. For several weeks we’ve had showers and thunderstorms on a daily pattern. We’ve discovered that frogs celebrate rainy seasons. They begin croaking by dusk and continue with great vibrato until the wee hours of the morning.

Othel disliked their close proximity from the beginning. On rainy nights we were blasted with their rapid-fire choruses. It was like a small version of the frog plagues in the Old Testament.

It took longer for me to lose my patience, but I finally began grabbing a flashlight, gloving my hands and catching the noise-makers. No, I didn’t squeeze them to death. I walked them to the stream and gave them a toss.

“How do you get rid of these noisy pests?” Othel asked. I didn’t have an answer. He couldn’t have heard me over the croaking if I had given a solution.

He googled frog extermination and ordered a gallon of frog repellant. With angry intent, he sprinkled the granules in our backyard. As long as the rains don’t wash away the granules, it works. The mighty barrage of croaking has ceased, for the present.

To say I’m weary of frog noise is an understatement. In fact, these croaking creatures have greatly diminished my regard for the reptile kingdom. Until the rainy season ends, it’s only the acrostic for their name that I can appreciate: Fully Rely On God!

Letters to Camille Anding can be sent to P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS, 39602, or e-mailed to camille@datalane.net.