I’m not one for fake animals in my yard. I have enough live deer, bunnies, turtles, and frogs to have no need for their concrete, bronze, or topiary brethren. So why is there a concrete frog in my birdbath?
My paternal grandmother, Mema, loved flowers. She had large beds and small beds, flowers around the house and along the driveway. She loved irises, and told me she had some divisions for me when I got my own home (a promise I wish we both could have fulfilled before her passing). She helped foster my love for flowers and gave me some gardening books. I still regularly crack open a couple of them open when I can’t identify a vine or need to know how to prune a bush.
Mema also had a pair of courting frogs in her big flower bed. They sat on a courting bench (designed to keep young lovers from getting too close) under a red and white umbrella. As a small child enamored with the world of make believe, fairies, and flowers, I loved the idea of the little frogs on their bench. I imagined what they could be whispering to one another and how much they must love their little world.
When my grandmother passed away and the family made decisions about where her belongings would go, the little courting frogs never entered my mind. I was away, living in Northern Virginia, working in DC, and I didn’t even make it back to help clean her house. Dad and Mom asked if I needed this or would like that. I accepted the bedroom suit that my sister, cousin, and I shared during sleepovers. I added her kitchen table to my own kitchen — a table where I sat as a child, eating mandarin oranges and tuna salad. I knew Mom added her birdbath to her own garden, but it wasn’t until 12 or so years after Mema passed that I learned Mom also had the courting frogs sitting in the garden.
Weather has been harsh on the frogs. The color is mostly gone, and one of the frogs may have suffered irreparable damage. The umbrella has separated from the bench, and it, too, has lost most of its color. One little courting frog remains in relatively good shape. He’s had a repair on his legs, but considering his age, he’s holding up well. So I asked Mom on a recent trip home if I could one day add the frogs to my own garden.
For now, only this guy has joined us here in the valley. I hope someday his girlfriend can come, too, so they can continue their endless courting, on a little white bench under the shade of a concrete umbrella. – Stacey Morgan Smith*** This personal blog is comprised solely of the opinions, views, projects, and travels of its author, Stacey Morgan Smith. She is lucky enough to have loving family and friends whom she drags along with her on her adventures and whom she puts to work on her little farm. She uses this blog to help promote living in the mountains of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, from Roanoke to the Potomac River.**