Myles and the Business of Frogs
Staying up-to-date with the news without becoming cynical or down-at-the-mouth takes a Herculean act of will these days. For me, this requires long walks in the woods to focus on the basic fact that wills itself forward despite human intervention.
Emerging from the woods after a long Sunday morning walk today, I encountered a young, freckle-faced boy carrying a small bucket and a walkie-talkie walking uphill in the opposite direction. “Whatcha got there?” I asked.
“Frogs,” he said. “I’m selling them.”
“So you’re a businessman,” I said. “How much?”
“Penny. I had to give a couple away to my friends who didn’t have any money though. So I’m not really a businessman yet,” he said.
I peered into his bucket to see one frog swimming for his life in a few inches of water. The submerged twigs and hosta leaf offered no respite for the little critter. “I’d like to buy that frog if you’ll sell him to me,” I said.
“Sure. But you’ll need a bucket. Do you have one?”
“I sure do. Hey, I live just down that road. Will your parents let you go that far so I can get your payment?”
“Yeah. They let me go around the block. I’m in the fourth grade. That’s your street?” He asked as I turned into Woods Way.
“You live near Sean. He’s my friend from school. He’s in the third grade. He was in the fifth grade last year.”
“Oh! He’s going backwards?”
“I don’t know how it works, to tell the truth. I’m in the fourth grade.”
At the end of this small-talk, we arrived at my garage. I lifted the door, grabbed the bucket, and under this child’s direction, affected the transfer of property from him to me. “I’ll get you money now. My name’s Sandy, by the way. What’s yours?”
“Nice to meet you, Myles. You stay here on the sidewalk in case my two-dog alarm system goes off, OK?”
“Sure. I don’t mind dogs, though. I have a crazy mutt at home.”
The alarm system barked and yapped as I took five dollars from my purse and returned to Myles on the sidewalk. “Here you go.”
Myles took the bill and looked Honest Abe in the eye before he said, “I only asked for a penny, but this is OK. How about if I give you the leaf and the twigs, too?”
“If you don’t need them, that would be great.” Myles placed the leaf and twigs in my bucket, telling me his street name and adding, “My house has the wheelbarrow in front of it, and it’s full of frogs from the pond behind my house. If you need more, just knock on my door.” And off he went.
Today, that's all the news that's fit to print.