Frogs, miracles and being a lady

Katie Compton Boyd
Katie Compton Boyd

By Katie Compton Boyd

I remember as a child, the women in my family would remind me, “you mustn’t talk of politics or religion, especially at the dinner table. It isn’t very ladylike.” 

Naturally being ladylike didn’t appeal to me very much, or sound very fun at all. These days, the two topics can be downright hazardous to your health! 
It was sometime after first grade when we attended the church beside the river and our youth group gave a spirited rendition of Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego, made into a musical. I forget which of the trio I was, but I pulled the vaguely biblical-era tunic over a shoulder and did a sort of shimmy. 

Old man Otha Powell gave a discouraging glance over his black rimmed glasses. 

One night before bed I found the tiniest baby frog, so new you could make out a faint nubbin of a tail! I was thrilled and immediately named him Jasper Dale and put him in an old Duke’s jar for show and tell the next morning. 

In my excitement, my seven-year-old brain forgot to poke holes in the lid. The very next morning I awoke to a very dead, dried and deceased Jasper. 

I bawled, having taken a life needlessly and selfishly. I cried to my mother who was busy readying me for school and irked at a now-complicated morning. 

“Oh, maybe I can pray! I’ll pray for a new frog, and I promise I’ll be kind, let him go! Please, God,” my poor self was by now crying on my bedroom carpet, high drama. 

I could hear my mother becoming even more peeved. “You better pray you get dressed and not be late. I think God has other matters than this darn frog debacle.” 

I lifted my head to dry my tears, and not but a foot away sat a tiny little frog just like my Jasper Dale! My mother stood slackjawed at either a strange coincidence or a very interesting miracle. 

That day I kept my promise and let Jasper go unharmed. 

I knew my grandfather would especially appreciate my miracle frog. As the years passed, we’d gift each other little frog tokens or such. You see, the old man believed in miracles; not so much about frogs but of little girls and having faith, faith in something bigger than yourself. 

The last time I saw him in the hospital, I was a young woman in college. I tucked a toy wind-up frog into bed with him, and the old man smiled and said, “Believe.”

Now that I’m of age to be “ladylike” I’ll not discuss politics or religion. 

I will always talk about frogs and believe that sometimes seemingly tiny and insignificant things in this world can still be considered miraculous.

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