On a sunny Saturday morning at breakfast Dad said, “Your mother and I are going to the movies this afternoon. The film features dancing, and you know how I am about the Astaires'. So you girls will have to amuse yourselves. If you go somewhere, leave a note in case we need to reach you.” We promised we would and went upstairs to make our beds. We had dressed in “summer casuals” so we settled down to read and waste time as we had no duties and were “at leisure.” We fixed ourselves a nice lunch and, almost as we had cleaned up, Toss arrived. I should explain that his real name was Lawrence Grant, but when he was tiny, he either didn’t like or couldn’t say it so he answered only to “Toss,” if you please.
He said, “We’re going over to the Walls’ for the crowd is meeting there.” Janet said, “We are expected to stay together as Dad and Mother are at the movies.” His reply was, “No reason why Sis can’t come too!” So off we went in his truck. When we got there, we were informed that the men were going frogging. That sounded good to me and it sounded like fun. There was a brief pause when I asked, ”Can I go, too? I’ve never been frogging.” Toss said, “I don’t see why you can’t,” and Fred Richards said, “Neither do I.” Toss said, “Come on, Sis. I’ll take you home so you can put on your ‘fishing clothes.’”
So, off we went and I flew into the house when we got there, not even closing the truck door. Up the stairs I continued flying, out of the top layer of clothes and into thechange. I continued flying out to the truck, slammed that door as I got back into my seat, and folded my hands in my lap. He said, “That didn’t take long,” and off we went, back to the Walls'. In the truck it was explained to me that we wouldn’t be using hook and line. We’d use pieces of 1” x 1” to club the frogs on the head. That would kill them, and we’d pick them up and put them into a small bucket. I’d be given a bucket. This sounded good to me.
As soon as we arrived, the ladies settled down for a good gab fest as the men and I split up in a few cars, and off we went to New Mill Meadows. I should insert that “the group” had known each other since first grade. Some had married and some were almost married. Janet and Toss were part of that group.
Toss, Fred and I started as a threesome and all the other men spread out. I must explain that while it looked like a field, in reality it was a bog with rather small hummocks of grassy turf surrounded by water. It was like that all over the “field.” I was glad I had on my old tired sneakers.
Toss spotted the first one and whacked it HARD with the stick. Then he leaned over, picked it up and put it in his bucket. Then I saw one and did what Toss did. It was easy. But then I realized the next one was too far for me to reach, but I could step over onto the next hummock and get him…so I did.
From then on it was very easy and I got a lot of frogs. Suddenly there were no more frogs that I could see and it was too far to the next hummock so I was not sure what to do. Fred must have seen I was puzzled on what to do and said, “Just a minute, Sis, and I’ll help you.” He jumped on a couple of hummocks to get to me and then he said, “Jump over to that big one and I’ll catch you.” It worked out perfectly, and I was in a nest of frogs. In no time I had filled my bucket. Toss called to me to see if I was ready to quit. I answered, “What do I do now?” He said, “My bucket’s full, too, so I’ll come and get you.” He took some very big steps. He was 6 feet plus tall and had long legs to go with his height. So he easily was able to reach me and put me on the last hummock next to solid ground. I said, “What do we do with all these frogs?” “You see that stump over there? That’s where I’m going to get rid of all their bodies, leaving only their ‘pants.’”
He went to the truck and got a big knife like ones I had seen only butchers use, picked a frog out of his bucket, held it by its legs, and with a big swing he whacked it into two pieces. There was a huge bucket near him so he tossed the FROG LEGS into it. “That’s the first piece of our supper. When all the frogs we need are here by the stump, I’ll chop all of them. We’ll leave what we don’t want for the animals who are hungry. They’ll have a good time, having frogs for supper.” I was amazed at how Toss cut every one in the exact same spot, leaving only their pants.
As the other men got their buckets full, they brought them to Toss. It was amazing how the frogs mounted up in the big bucket. Toss seemed happy with the total amount and said, “We have a good haul so let’s go home to the ladies. I’ll rinse all these and then dry them so the corn meal mixture will stick. Then it’s into the hot fat for them. The ladies will have the sweet corn ready for a hot bath, and it won’t be long before we dig in!”
When we got back to the Walls’ house, Toss took over the kitchen as he pulled off the skin pants with salt on his fingers to help him grab on. Then the bones and tender flesh could be dropped into the corn meal mixture for frying in the deep-fryer. And did they smell GOOD. The corn was cooked quickly and onto the table. When the frog legs arrived a loud sound of acclaim rose.
The picnic was already set up, a salad made, and a beautiful cake had appeared from somewhere. Of course, there were drinks and canapés first.
It was the first time I had had frog legs “fresh out of the water,” and I would challenge the "finest restaurant in the world" to top that meal.