The Froglover

Cynthia Ward

 

When the boats came in from the deep sea, Teacher sent us out of the schoolhouse early so the older boys could help with the catch. The little kids ran to the shore to play on the rocks. Gina and I were in fourth grade, too big to do that any more.

 

"Let's go to my house," I said. "Dad carved me a new doll."

 

"I'm too old to play with dolls," Gina said. "Anyway, my mother doesn't want me playing with spicks."

 

"I'm not a spick," I said. "My mother doesn't want me playing with froglovers!"

 

"Your mother's jealous 'cause we have a better house," Gina said. "We're not froglovers. Just my sister."

 

"Mumma's meeting the boat," I said.

 

"Okay, I'll come over for a little while," Gina said.

 

We jumped from patch to patch of blacktop to avoid the mud of the road out of Frogtown. When my view wasn't blocked by the corn, I could see the boats. I saw my dad's boat. I could pick Dad and my older brothers out of his crew because their faces were darker than the others, but I couldn't pick Mumma out of the people on the dock and shore. I saw three frogs, bright green heads above blue and gold uniforms, buyers from the frog city.

 

The fishermen's houses were all outside of Frogtown. They all had nets drying on their unpainted silver-gray walls and fish drying on racks in the dooryards. They all stood far apart, separated by the pastures and crops. The high corn reminded me I'd seen red leaves in the green of the forest. We'd be getting out of school soon for the harvest. You picked peas and beans until your hands hurt, dug potatoes until your back screamed, but you couldn't stop. I hated harvest-time.