Be careful what you fish for

This story preludes my previously told Fishidents saga. And yes, I realize that 67% of my posts are about animal mishaps.  Deal with it.

When I was 8, my parents got my brother and I kiddie fishing poles for Christmas.  My dad grew up in the South where fishing is some sort of religious experience, and decided he wanted us to experience this “sport” in the suburban New Jersey wilderness.

When the weather finally warmed up, we started preparing for our first fishing expedition.  I spent hours practicing baiting and casting in my driveway.  I had my own tackle box and everything!

The day finally arrived and we ventured a couple miles away to a pond near our house.  It was pretty secluded, so I wouldn’t be embarrassed if I did something wrong.  We cast our lines and started waiting.

Fishing is not a good activity for a hyperactive 8 year old.  I had assumed the fish would be clamoring to attach themselves to my hook, and didn’t understand why I had to wait FIVE WHOLE MINUTES for anything to happen.  I ended up leaving my pole with my dad and ran off to collect leaves and try to find a mermaid.

Suddenly my dad called me back – something was nibbling at my line!  I scrambled over and regained control of my pole.  Something was definitely tugging!

I reeled the line in slowly, like I had been taught.  Something was jumping out of the water and I started to feel my stomach turn.  The idea of catching a fish had been glamorous, but the actual act felt pretty sadistic.  I continued to pull it in until I saw what I had actually caught.

It was a frog.

I screamed, dropped the pole, and sprinted to the car.

My dad finally coaxed me back.  He had put the frog in the cooler.  I peered over the edge and could tell he was scared.  He had a gash in his leg and I started to cry.

“I… (sob)… hurt… (sob)… the froggy!”

My dad reassured me that the frog was okay and said we could just put him back in the lake.  But I wanted to atone for my sins and insisted we take him home so I could nurse him back to health.

When we got home, I rushed to retrieve all the provisions Mr. Froggy (I’m so original) would need to recover.  Of course, the essentials included a water bowl, grass and leaves, my Raffi tape, and a bottle of No-More-Ouchie spray.

I put on the Raffi tape (he always cheered me up when I was sad) and proceeded to cover the frog in No-More-Ouchie spray.  I made Mr. Froggy a nest of leaves and made sure he had access to the water.  Then I grabbed our fly swatter and set out to hunt down some dinner for him.

My parents finally persuaded me to let my dad take Mr. Froggy back to the pond the next day.  I decided 24 hours in my amphibian ICU had done him well.  Needless to say, that was my first and last fishing trip.

I like to think that Mr. Froggy is still out there in that pond with his froggy family.  Maybe he still remembers me as the girl who ruined and then saved his life. Ribbit ribbit, my little froggy friend.