Bill and the kids went camping for a couple of days right before school started back up this year. I couldn’t go because of work, but Bill had promised Julia they’d go, so off they went. Not too far – about 45 minutes away.
We didn’t talk or text much, partly because camping isn’t about electronics, and partly because they couldn’t plug the phones into a tree to recharge, so they tried not to waste the batteries.
They had a great time. And yes, I enjoyed a couple evenings of peace and quiet.
The first day, despite the self-imposed restrictions on phone usage, Bill sent a picture.
It was of Julia, and she was holding up something that looked about as big as a deck of cards and seemed to be brown.
Turns out they were – you guessed it – frog legs.
Just the legs.
And yes, they got cooked and eaten. Julia’s idea, per Bill. Well, she’s been eating fish eyes since she was two, so it’s not a huge surprise. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it all.
I also didn’t have much of the story. Didn’t get the rest until everyone was home and Bill and the kids were filling me in on their adventures.
I guess that first day they were joking around and exploring. They checked out trails and ponds, and there was this marshy area teeming with all kinds of frogs. So they tried catching them. And letting them go.
But Bill said Julia was much more determined to catch the frogs than he and Alex. She went after the big ones and was genuinely upset when they evaded her.
Eventually she got one. And she told Bill she wanted to eat it.
Now, we catch fish and crabs and dig for clams. My kids know these all start out as living things and when we catch them we kill them in order to eat them. So while it was an unexpected request, Bill reluctantly agreed. He killed the frog quickly, removed the legs, and they grilled them for part of their dinner. (They tasted like fresh water fish, only firmer, in case you wondered.)
Bill still didn’t know where Julia had gotten the idea to eat frog legs, but he didn’t pursue it at the time. At home Julia told us it was because of Bill. Apparently he’s mentioned in some forgotten conversation that frog legs were yummy. And because we fish and all that, Julia just thought Bill (and I) had caught the frogs that we ate.
But her assumption made sense.
Anyway, after that was clarified, Bill reiterated that he didn’t enjoy killing that frog and wouldn’t have killed any more if Julia had asked.
Julia told me after Bill killed it “it still tried to jump!” I explained that all the shaking and twitching happened because even though the frog was dead, it takes a bit of time for the nervous system and muscles to catch on, and these are involuntary twitches and spasms.
Julia looked at me and asked “Did Grammy do that?”
And while Bill jumped in to tell Julia that it was upsetting to me because it was my mother she was asking about, I laughed.
I laughed for a while. I reassured Julia that I wasn’t upset. At all. And no, Grammy didn’t do that because hers was a different kind of death.
And I kept laughing.
It was the timing of her question. The out-of-the-blueness of it. The innocence. And the absurdity of the image that naturally popped into my head.
And I know, I am SO positive, that Mom would have laughed too. We have that kind of sense of humor, the women of this bloodline.
Mom liked frog legs, too. With butter and garlic. I wish
Well, there’s no point to finishing that sentence.
Anyway, I like to think Mom was somewhere listening to our conversation.