February 2007

Frog Giggin' with the Family

Cathy Spiker Gregis

Cathy goes frog gigging with brother Jeff and cousins Tom, Briana and Mark.

We are a family united by weddings, celebrations, summer picnics and funeral gatherings, knit by a million happy and sad tears, a thousand hugs of greetings and farewell. We are a jumble of shapes and sizes, looks and personalities, a foundation that spans generations of belonging, deep, real, and everlasting.

I’ve always felt at home on the Spiker farm, so many memories that it’s hard to pull just one or two stories to tell, but I always enjoyed thinking about the time we went frog gigging. My brother, Jeff, and I along with Tom Miller, Briana and Mark were spending the week at the farm. It was a warm and muggy evening. Someone came up with the brilliant idea of going frog gigging. I suppose they thought it would cool us off and put an end to a boring evening.

Now me, being a city girl, wasn’t sure what frog gigging was and even after a brief explanation I wasn’t in a hurry to go. Before I knew it, Briana had found me some old tennis shoes and clothes. There wasn’t enough gigging forks to go around so I gladly said I didn’t need one. Sticking that thing into a frog then eating them didn’t sound like fun to me.

Mark had had his wisdom teeth removed that day so he couldn’t go into the water. By the time we were ready, the boys had flashlights and gigs and we headed to the creek in the dark……. yeah, it was dark……very dark and we were walking in even darker water that I knew had snapping turtles and fish with big teeth. Not wanting to be teased about being a coward I went with them. We waded into water up to our waist. Mark called out to us (he was walking the road along beside us). We asked him to join us but he reminded us of his dental work and said he would walk along. He started telling us a story about how a man had escaped from jail earlier in the day and he could be somewhere close by. Tom said he’d heard about that too. Jeff and Tom started talking about how this man could be anywhere. Up ahead there was a road crossing in the creek so we should be careful. I walked through the water, watching the guys shine the flashlight at the unsuspecting frogs, stab them, and shove them into a sack.

We approached the river crossing. The water was getting shallow when something suddenly grabbed my shirt. I stepped forward, it pulled me back. I stepped sideways but was pulled back again. When I stepped backwards and felt the tug again I let out a scream that could be heard in the next county. Tom turned around, gig held up and back, ready to save me, flashlight in hand and a look of concern on his face.

Then he saw the problem. A stick, still connected to a tree, had snagged my shirt. It had enough give to allow me to take a step before it pulled me back. It took only a few moments before the guys realized what had happened then they burst out laughing. Well at least it was dark and they couldn’t see the blush that flooded my face.