Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Twenty Students Went to School


Cute. Or slimy. You decide.

Twenty Froggies

Twenty froggies went to school
Down beside a rushy pool,
Twenty little coats of green,
Twenty vests all white and clean.

"We must be in time," said they.
"First we study, then we play.
That is how we keep the rule,
When we froggies go to school."

Master Bull-frog, brave and stern,
Called his classes in their turn,
Taught them how to nobly strive,
Also how to leap and dive.

Taught them how to dodge a blow,
From the sticks that bad boys throw.
Twenty froggies grew up fas
tBull-frogs they became at last.

Polished in a high degree,
As each froggie ought to be.
Now they sit on other logs, 
Teaching other little frogs.                               
                                  by George Cooper

I realize that this sounds like a children's poem.
Because it is.
But I didn't learn it until grade twelve . . .
Biology class.
The real one.
Not the one the boys all talk about.
Moving on . . .
We were in the 'dissection' part of our school year. The part that I, the daughter of a veterinarian, found most fascinating.
But that many of the other girls . . . didn't.
We were scheduled, as part of the class, to walk down to the 'Fish Pond' and catch our own frogs.
Great! Field trip!
But first, our teacher, Mr. Meldrum, handed each of us a copy of the aforementioned (good word, right?) poem.
We thought it was cute.
And clever.
And easily folded into paper planes. Okay, not everyone thought it was as cute as I did.
Philistines!
Then we set out.
The walk down was enjoyable. Beautiful late-spring day. Warm sun.Cute boys.Okay, I know what I said about biology class.
And boys.
But let's face it. We were all thinking about 'Biology'.
Right?
So . . . walking . . . and boys. 
It didn't take long for us to reach the pond. We spread out and began to pounce on the dozens of frogs who made the peaceful waters their home.
Well, most of us did. There were the inevitable few who couldn't bear to touch the 'slimy' (their word) little things. Those of us who were less squeamish filled in.
So to speak.
In no time, we had collected enough of the little squirming bodies to have a frog each.
One strong lad (yes, I meant to use the word 'lad') was elected to carry the precious bucket. The rest of us enjoyed the short walk back.
Then, to work.
We spent the rest of the morning performing various operations on our hapless little victims.
Fortunately, our teacher knew very well what he was doing and instructed us in the proper methods of 'painless' observation.
It was an interesting morning. And far too short.
When it was done, I was the only student who took the poem home.
Or so I thought.
Some months later, when our school yearbook was handed out, I realized that other students in my class were actually paying attention. Closer attention, even, than I was.
There, in the 'Last Will and Testament' page, beside one young man's name, were the words: "Being of sound mind and beautiful body, leaves said body to be dissected by twenty froggies who go to school."
Payback.
And a fitting tribute.

6 comments:

  1. That's quite touching, isn't it?

    I understand there is now the option of "virtual dissection" for those whose ethical beliefs include doing no harm to other living beings. Wish it had been around when I was taking biology. I do consider frogs cute, not slimy, and wish science didn't have to advance by the use of sentient life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I SO agree! Yep. I'm in the 'frogs are cute' school of thinking.

      Delete
  2. Such a sweet post. I'd never heard that poem, actually.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hadn't either. Till that fateful day . . .

      Delete

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