A Rainbow Sticky Frog


As you remember from last week, Dear Reader, a green sticky thing had just landed on the best place possible — Down the Street Bully Brad’s face. This was the same sticky thing that had been on my face and then moved to my ear before I could snatch it off. (The green sticky thing, not my ear.)

I had hurled it across the Mt. Olive Elementary School playground, and it was taking a front seat ride on one very loud bully as he blindly ran around while all the kids gathered, pointed, and laughed. I understood why kids were laughing at me.

This was really funny to watch.

As I joined in with the other kids laughing, we watched as the now blinded Bully Brad fell to the ground, rolling around and yelling, “Help! Help! Get it off! Get it off!” None of us kids helped the bully from Flamingo Street. By the time Coach Reeves had made it over to him, Bully Brad had somehow gotten to his knees and flung the green thing into the retention pond. The overly large green sticky thing announced its victory with a loud, “Croak” then disappeared under the murky waters. This was my first encounter with the long-legged defeater of bullies, but it wouldn’t be my last.

Second sticky frog encounter.

A lifetime after I occupied the desk (three rows over from the door, and three seats back from the front of the room in Old Ms. Crabtree’s third grade class) I bought my first house. The elderly couple who had lived in the house for some sixty years had done little maintenance. During the first big rain storm, I noticed all the gutters were overflowing. Even as a first time homebuyer, I knew this was an easy fix.

The rain stopped the next morning so I grabbed an extension ladder and a pair of rubber gloves. It was relatively easy to clean out the gutters because my house was only one story. I’d climb up a few rungs, scoop out years of gutter gunk, then climb back down and move the ladder over a few feet, then climb back up.

I repeated this process until I got to the backside of the house which sat on top of the basement, turning the short climb up into a long climb of twenty-four feet. Standing on the last rung of my fully extended ladder, I reached up over my head and started to clean out the last section of gutter.

Looking back, a precarious perch atop an extension ladder twenty-four feet above the ground wasn’t really the strategic high ground when fending off an attack.

It was a sticky green encounter.

I tossed the first scoop of gutter gunk from overhead to the ground with a resounding wet plop. The second scoop brought more gutter gunk, but also something else: a hand covered in baby green sticky frogs. Instinctively, I jumped back to get away and yelled…all the way to the ground twenty-feet below.

Luckily for me, the bushes that hadn’t been trimmed for years broke my fall and acted like a giant pillow — protecting the baby sticky frogs and me. This wasn’t my last encounter with green sticky frogs. We still have one more to go.

Almost eighteen years ago this spring, The Wife and I moved into our new house. But we still had a few rooms that needed to be painted, so I drove to our local giant hardware store with the orange roof to pick up supplies. After buying a new paintbrush, rollers, and four gallons of paint in different colors, I returned home too late in the afternoon to do any work. Wanting to get an early start, I set my alarm for five in the morning.

An alarming development.

The next morning, a cool thick fog had descended on our fair town, making it difficult to see where I parked my car in the driveway — even with the house floodlights on. Opening the hatchback, I reached in and grabbed the four gallons of paint and took a few steps back. That’s when the surrounding fog changed color. Out of nowhere, something wet and green stuck to my face. (Yes Dear Reader, if you are counting, that is twice in my life I’ve had a sticky frog stuck to my face.)

Rainbows are forever.

Flinging the cans up into the air, I danced around and screamed, “Get off! Get off!” while trying to wipe the early morning’s green sticky intruder off my face. Still unable to see, I tripped over the roller covers, toppling to the ground just before all four paint cans came crashing down onto the concrete driveway. Lids popped off splattering a rainbow of color all over my green sticky intruder and me. The sticky frog didn’t like being a rainbow, so he jumped off my face, hopped away, and disappeared into the creek just as the morning sun broke the horizon.

This weekend the Girly Girls and I are going on our first hike of the year. I’m sure along the way we’ll see lots of unique plants, crawfish, water bugs dancing on the surface of the creek, and even baby frogs on the sandy beach. Maybe, if we’re really lucky, we’ll even see a rainbow sticky frog.

If so, I can tell the girls I once had a face-to-face conversation with his great-great granddad.

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories weekly in The Citizen since 2001.]