Every neighborhood has its own flavor and urban legends. Down the street from my home is a neat, orderly pretty residence with a large yard owned by a local couple. She, an elementary school teacher now retired. Upon retirement her energies began to be focused on the front yard with a fountain being installed; new plantings and a very large, and to me, ugly, cement frog. It rather irritated me every time I passed in my car or on my morning walk as it evoked memories of the past. When I was a young high school girl driving my friends to Lake Elsinore for a football game, we stopped at a large pond by the side of the road. In our exploring I started to pick up a plank of wood where beneath it were the largest and to me most frightening and hideous frogs or toads I have ever experienced. The surprise of it and the sight of them forever marred my appreciation of this part of creation. The sight of frogs always unnerves me; appearing so slimy and squishy, ugly with the capacity to jump fast and far. Thus, my repulsion at this installation in our ‘hood’.
But lo and behold, at Easter the frog had rabbit ears and a pretty basket in front of it. I could see delight on youngster’s faces. I grunted. Then came the Bluebird slide and the frog wore a yellow hard hat. At Christmas it was bedecked in a Santa’s hat and holly around its neck. Then St. Patrick’s Day with a green hat and shamrock. I found myself laughing. The darn thing has won me over. I think, perhaps, I am not alone in the expectation of wondering what the silly thing will wear next or what observance will be dignified by ‘our’ frog. When it is just as it arrived, it seems so plain and uninteresting. It is fun when it has been decorated with some celebratory arraignment.
Just a few days ago, it proudly commemorated the 4th of July (wearing an Uncle Sam hat and beard). Yes, it is the ‘Frog in the Hood’ that has hopped into our hearts. So much for my repulsion. Thank you, Mr. Frog for future and past smiles and laughter.
Patricia Truman, Laguna Beach
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