have you ever met a frog whisperer?

 The sounds from our screened porch were connected to the sounds of my earliest memories of summer when I slept in a small double bed with my maternal grandmother while a cheap oscillating fan turned slowly from side to side as it valiantly tried to cool us in the hot humidity of an East Texas heat a thousand miles away from South Carolina, a heat that would not be relieved by opening every window on the porch where we slept or the random whisper of cool air from the small oscillating fan made by Westinghouse. The sheets were always clean but never actually cool.

I never trusted the sheets anyway after discovering a scorpion hiding between them one night.

But it was the sound of the frogs around our pool here on Cardinal Drive – particularly after a rain – that drew me to those hot muggy nights of Grimes County, Texas where I was raised. My grandmother’s wooden house made from a retail catalog blueprint had many design flaws, but its one awesome feature which had nothing to do with the design really, was the magical pond (or tank, as we called it in East Texas) behind her house.

The tank was the focal point of my only-child imagination play stories during the day, but it was the tank’s music of those summer nights I hope will never be erased from my memory. Specifically, it was the frogs, or bull frogs as my grandmother used to call them  just before we drifted off to sleep. The low guttural sounds were always behind the house and were somewhat subdued until every light was turned off at night. But then, those frogs got louder and louder until they hit a mighty crescendo. My grandmother and I laughed out loud when we heard them.

The frogs who live in our backyard on Cardinal Drive are rarely as raucous as the bull frogs in my tank in Richards – I think they are smaller frogs. But occasionally I hear one of those loud guttural sounds looking for something, probably safer water supplies, and I am transported to different days. To a grandmother who guided me with her wisdom and love. I was blessed with a loving eccentric family who in the end gave me what they could – so much more than I realized.

This morning, however, a medium size solitary frog stared at me from our screened porch after he unsuccessfully jumped against the screen to flee. He looked at me as if to say, I survived the nightmare of your chemically treated swimming pool but hopped into your screen porch jail through a door that was slightly ajar. And now, woe is me. I can’t figure out how to escape.

Never fear, I whispered. I stepped outside to get my pool scooper with the mesh frog retriever. I brought it back to the porch to fetch the frog who hadn’t moved. I carefully prodded the frog to get him to jump onto the rim of the scooper and hoisted him to safety on the deck.

I swear this little guy looked suspiciously like the one I rescued from the pool skimmer earlier this week. Seriously?

Regardless, I know we’ll hear him singing with his buddies tonight – we’ve had a summer rain this afternoon. The frog choir will rock on when darkness envelops them, and I will remember my grandmother’s laughter with a longing deep in my heart.

About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Naynay to her two granddaughters Ella and Molly James who light up her life for real. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
This entry was posted in family life, Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, photography, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to have you ever met a frog whisperer?

  1. Juanita Jean says:

    Thought you could relate to this one today. Brings back the old memories of sounds and feelings in a hit summer night in TX.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wayside Artist says:

    That brought back memories of hot July nights sharing a bed with my cousin at my aunt’s old farm house on 3 acres in rural Illinois. We had a box fan blowing hot air over us as heat lightening lit up the night, rolling thunder playing percussion for a katydid choir. There was a frog pond at the edge of the property. Not good enough for our grand aunt in town who tasked 2 nieces and a nephew with finding a toad. Her old one passed on. It lived in the basement eating bugs. My brother caught a nice one, which pleased the old lady but didn’t excuse all three of us from playing several games of Pachisi with her. One summer my brother and I tried to figure out how to secret a toad back to Philadelphia by train, plane, and automobile, but my mother got wind of the plot. No toads hitching a ride home.
    I’m sure your frog was relieved you didn’t ask questions.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No doubt, Ann – that frog was just genuinely relieved, I think.
      I love the thought of you and your brother trying to get a toad back to Philadelphia! No toads hitching a ride home – wonderful images…thanks for those thoughts!
      Stay cool, my friend.
      Love and hugs from the humid south…


  3. My they can be incredibly loud though 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This was a lovely reminiscence..

    Liked by 1 person

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