Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

School With Frogs


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 fast
Bull-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 . . .
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 (and even some of the boys) . . . 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 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.
And boys. (We were speaking of biology . . .)
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' little things.
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.

12 comments:

  1. Thank you for my first laugh of the day!
    I loved this, except that it brought up memories of my college Biology lab, when we were expected to pith a frog. I will happily play with a live frog and I can touch or dissect anything dead, but I just couldn't bring myself to severe a spinal cord! You mentioned boys ... pretty sure I got one of them to do it for me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The boys in my group made me do the dirty work for them! Sigh.

      Delete
  2. I enjoyed this probably a little to much I think! I remember doing this in the 8th grade! I found it fascinating as well (growing up with 4 brothers my squeamish side was nonexistent!)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Baaah, I was that girl, you know the one, who picked as her lab partner the boy in the class most likely to do all the "dirty work" for his team.
    Although we may be opposites, I feel sure that I would have loved partnering with you.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Big smiles. And I like the way that lad thought.
    Frogs? Cute. Not slimy. That is slugs. Eeeeuw. Slugs. Particularly between bare-footed toes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Slugs. Hmmm . . . that would have been interesting . . .

      Delete
  5. I couldn't do the frog dissection, even though it had died way before we were ever introduced, because I felt sorry for it. Give me a live frog any day (to look at, not to cut open). And like EC, I am smiling at that lad's yearbook entry!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He was the class clown. Believe me, he'll live forever! :)

      Delete
  6. Love that Last Will and Testament page entry!
    i think little froggies are cute, not slimy, but I couldn't dissect one, not now. Maybe in High School, but I wasn't there long enough.
    I love the poem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I found that my sensibilities grew more acute the older I got. Not sure if I could do it now, either.

      Delete

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