Joyce Whitis

Almost every day a long letter from Rochelle pops up on my e-mail. I opened the first one or two thinking that the publisher of the E-T was sending me a message, but after reading the first couple of sentences I realized this wasnít from who I thought. It was from a fortune-teller or whatever they call those people that predict the future.

This morningís letter had a great lead, calling me by my first name which no body who knows me, and stating that for me all the planets would be lined up on March 7th in an extremely favorable position to bring unheard of financial security! Well, thatís pretty exciting stuff so I read on. She said that this was the Chinese year of the Rat and not only the Rat, but the Golden Rat! Eventually, I got to the end and there was a golden rat, holding a piece of Chinese money, and the whole thing was silver and gold and could be worn around my neck as a good luck charm. This rat on a chain was guaranteed to bring me a fortune during the next few months!

Before I deleted the message and the ugly rat jewelry, I noted that the whole thing could be mine for just four installments of $24.95.

Next I read in the newspaper that 2008 has been named Year of the Frog by conservationists. They are appalled by the noted disappearance of frogs from all around the world. Well, maybe there has been a lot of kissing of frogs going on and they are now walking among us as princes. Anyway, there is no doubt in my mind that they are gone from the yard.

When we moved into this house on June 6, 1956, frogs were abundant. We practically had to kick them out of the way in order to build flowerbeds and put in grass. It was that way for years until suddenly, it seemed like, I never saw a frog. They disappeared about the time of the horny toads and the terrapins and the jack rabbits and the fireflies and the red ants.

When I was little, toads and terrapins were part of my play toys but I havenít seen either one in years. An exception for frogs is a little green one and how he got in my bathroom, I havenít a clue. I remember gathering tadpoles as a kid, putting them in a gallon glass jar and watching their legs magically appear as their tails fell off. I swatted flies and fed them to my pet tadpoles until they were ready to go back to the irrigation tank in the garden. We had plenty of frogs in those days and at night they liked to give us a little serenade just before we went to sleep.

I guess it is appropriate to name this the year of the frog since it is a leap year and I hope those guys in Washington find out what went with all those frogs and maybe bring back a few. Personally Iíd like to give one a big smack and see if he really was a prince of a frog. That makes as much sense as wearing a golden rat around my neck hoping to gain financial independence.