Cautiously, I shined the light around and saw a little darkish green creature. A little, darkish green,dead creature. A dehydrated, dead, little darkish green creature. I carefully picked it up between my two fingers and examined it closely. It was a frog. I gasped. I sat it down very carefully and then I started to cry. I sat in my closet with my dead frog and let the tears flow.
You see, this wasn't just a frog. This was a sign from my father who had died three weeks earlier. My Dad and I had an unspoken 'frog' connection. When I was in college, my parents had come to visit during Parent's Weekend. We all attended a semi-formal dance and my father and I danced to 'Joy to the World ~ Jeremiah was a Bullfrog' by Three Dog Night. It is a dance I will never forget...probably because he hip checked me at one point and I went flying across the dance floor. Over the years, I gave him a variety of 'frog' gifts...a frog statue for his garden, a frog doorstop, frog bookends. What else do you buy a man who was impossible to buy for since he bought whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted ? At my father's funeral, the minister allowed me to play ' Joy to the World ~ Jeremiah was a Bullfrog' as everyone left the church. It was the perfect ending to the service. I took comfort in looking around the church to see many of the seventy/eighty year old attendees bopping and rocking in their pews as Three Dog Night blasted from the rafters.
So, here I was, sitting in my closet, holding a frog skeleton. How in the world did a frog get into the back of my closet ? Our bedroom is on the second floor, at the end of a long hall. The thought of this frog hopping up the entire flight of stairs and then hopping down the hallway into my room, around the corner into my closet did bring a smile to my face. I also do not believe that is what happened. I don't even know if it is physically possible for a frog to hop up stairs. Then I have to ask why a frog would seek out my closet...a closet which has no water ! Frogs need water. This was not a toad. I do know the difference between frogs and toads. This was a frog !
Quietly, carefully, I carried the frog downstairs to show my family. They gathered around and just stared at the frog. They stared at me. They clearly didn't know what to make of the situation. My family was quiet, a phenomena which doesn't happen often. I told them my theory, that my Dad had placed the frog in my closet as a sign that he is watching over us. They stood quietly. I think they were afraid of pushing me over the edge. No one wanted to burst my bubble. Many of the people in my family are very black and white thinkers, very logical. I, by the way, am not one of them. I am a colorful, out of the box thinker. I let my emotions lead me through life. So I threw a challenge out to all of the logical thinkers who stood there staring at my dead frog.
"How did this frog end up in my closet?"
"Um, maybe you brought it home in your shoe?" Wrong.
"Maybe the dog carried it in the house and placed it in your closet?"
" I guess the frog hopped up thirteen stairs, down the hall, around the corner into your closet." I truly doubt that.
"This is a sign from my Dad...he wants us to know that he is okay and he is watching over us."
My family stood quietly watching me and my frog.
My holidays were brighter from that point forward. I had a bounce in my step once again. Previously I had not felt like putting out all of my holiday decorations but now I went up into the attic and pulled them all out. My Dad loved decorating for the holidays with lots of color and bling. I even hummed Christmas carols as I ran around placing each decoration carefully in its place of honor. I reached into the bin for the next item and my heart stopped, momentarily, as I looked at what sat in my hand. Earlier in the year, I had seen a goofy frog statue, a parent frog with a baby on its back, each wearing a red stocking hat. I was going to put it in my Dad's Christmas stocking this year as a little joke gift, thinking it would have put a smile on his face. I had totally forgotten that I had bought this little momento and it caught me offguard. I swallowed hard, then just let the tears flow...again. I carried the frog statue down to show my family. They stood quietly watching me and my frog. I smiled.
"I would like to introduce you to our newest frog...the Christmas Frog." I set my corny little statue up on the mantle so he could see all of the festivities, hear all of the laughter and be a part of our Holiday traditions, once again.