Saturday, December 03, 2005
In an email forward I received earlier today, Tom writes: "It wasn't exactly a frog, but rather the equipment to take care of a tadpole and nurture it into a frog and a coupon for one tadpole from the Grow-A-Frog company. The small aquarium, instruction booklet and other items were passed around the living room until someone (I don't know who) noted that while Grow-A-Frogs had a life expectancy of five years, they had been known to live fifteen years."
Eight-year-old Tom named his tadpole Clyde after one of the Pac-Man ghosts.
Tom's email continued: "'You mean Tom could have this thing when he's in college?' remarked Dad. Much mirth followed with Mom and Dad making creaky old person voices pretending to be on the phone with an older me. 'Tom, it's your mother; come home from college and feed your frog.'"
Clyde, indeed, lived through college AND law school. He's featured in their wedding video AND their wedding album. Today, Clyde went to the Big Freshwater Habitat in the Sky, I'm afraid. Tom is taking this pretty hard. He writes, "One out of four days I will have on this Earth began with feeding Clyde...He lived a long time, was probably more loved than any frog in history."
While I know a great deal about the bond between people and their pets, I have to confess I'm a little bit more touched by the phone conversation I had with my sister tonight. She was on her cell phone, clacking through Boston's blustery downtown business district to her firm's annual Christmas party. You have to have met her to picture her as I do, probably wrapped in her Burberry scarf, Blackberry most likely thrumming in her fashionable pocket as she told me how her morning began: trying not to scream as she skimmed her very sad husband's dead pet frog out of its little plastic home with a slotted spoon.
She went on to describe the way she positioned him just so and then re-positioned him as respectfully as possible- and here's where we come full circle, readers- in, you guessed it, a plastic baggie. She also described her success ordering a reasonably priced memorial stone made from river rocks over the Internet AND how she called the company right back immediately to have a duplicate made so that Clyde can be buried in the river near Tom's childhood home AND have a memorial in their apartment.
Did I mention the part about the slotted spoon? THAT is devotion, people.
"It's not easy bein' green.
It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things.
And people tend to pass you over 'cause you're not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water- or stars in the sky. "
-Kermit the Frog
Rest in Peace, Clyde. I always liked you.