A short “farm” story by Caryl Moll
Driving in torrential rain along narrow, dirt roads is definitely not for the feint-hearted. However, this never deterred the residents of our small farming community in the 1960’s. People gathered regularly on Friday evenings for social get-togethers. “A little rain never hurt anyone,” they would say. “We need every drop for our crops…”
One evening we were on our way back home after sharing dinner with friends. The rain was pelting down as my Dad navigated the slippery road. My mom sat in the passenger seat beside him and I was stationed behind them – peering through the gap in the front seats and trying to hold myself steady in the swaying vehicle. There were no car safety belts in those days.
“Please be careful, Daddy,” I pleaded as the car skidded in the mud and I held on tightly.
My Dad loved slippery, dirt roads. It was his personal form of entertainment. Often, he’d purposefully accelerate to pull the car through the thick mud, grinning widely in his enjoyment. He certainly didn’t share my angst.
Suddenly, my Dad applied the brakes. I grabbed the side of my own seat to stop myself falling through to the front and glared at my father whose focus was on the road ahead.
“What’s wrong?” I stared at my Dad as he opened the car’s door.
“Wait here,” he ordered.
Despite the heavy rain, my father edged around to the back of the car and opened the boot. There he retrieved a cardboard box and moved to the front of the vehicle. My curiosity was heightened.
“Look there,” my Mom exclaimed as she pointed in the direction of the headlight’s beams.
It looked like some sort of animal – the size of a rabbit – in the middle of the road. But it sat, frozen in the bright light. Most rodents would simply dart off to the side, so it was obviously not one of them.
My Dad’s silhouette stood out against the car’s beam as he moved forward towards the little animal. He grabbed hold of it, placed it carefully in the box, closed the lid and turned back to the car. Then he placed the box back in the boot.
“What is it, Daddy?”
“I’ll show you in the morning,” he grinned at us.
Early the next morning, whilst still in my pajamas, Dad called me to our front lawn. He had retrieved the cardboard box from the boot of the car. He undid the connecting lid pieces carefully to reveal the mystery from the night before. It was the strangest creature I had ever seen…
“Is that a frog?” I asked in amazement. “..But it’s HUGE!” I couldn’t believe my eyes.
The huge AFRICAN BULLFROG – about 20cm in length – stared at me in silence. Its skin was a silky green and yellow and it had thick black stripes running down its back. It also had the most awesome ‘white and black’ eyes.
I reached into the box to gently touch its slimy body. The poor creature took fright and started jumping up against the sides of the box. I quickly withdrew my hand.
“Careful Caryl…those things bite!”
Dad picked up the box again and walked purposefully across the front lawn, with me excitedly in tow, to the large aviary alongside our farmhouse.
Once we were inside, Dad closed the aviary’s door. Flustered birds flew wildly all around us. Dad set the box down on the ground and tilted it slightly. The huge frog jumped out into broad daylight and my jaw dropped. What a beautiful creature!
Both dad and I stood back to watch as the frog retreated to a shady, grassy part of the aviary. There was a drinking pond in the aviary so he was convinced that ‘Frog’ would be happy.
“How will we feed it?” I asked in concern. My father just shrugged his shoulders non-committedly.
“It should look after itself,” he said. I wasn’t convinced.
In the days that followed, ‘Frog’ didn’t settle in to his new environment at all. I stood at the fence of the aviary every day, studying him and lamenting about Frog’s sad plight. He’d scraped his nose too in his attempts to escape. He didn’t look in good shape and I became increasingly more worried. Eventually I approached my father.
“Please, Dad….Please… can we take him back?”.
My father had obviously noticed my concern and was easy to convince. Soon we were in the car again with ‘Frog’ packed safely in his box. It was a 20 minute journey to where we’d first found him. All the way, I held the box protectively on my lap. Frog was restless. Our destination couldn’t arrive quickly enough.
“Is this the right place?” I asked as Dad stopped the car. He nodded.
The weather had cleared as we stopped beside the road. I scrambled out of the car with the box in my arms. As I looked around me, I suddenly noticed the little dam right next to the road. Had it been there the night we found Frog? It was a pretty little place with lots of trees and surrounding foliage – an ideal home for our ‘frog’. We walked over to the bank. I placed the box on the ground and gently opened the lid.
It was the first time I’d heard Frog’s beautiful voice – loud and resonant, practically echoing across the mirrored dam.
And then suddenly, there was an equally loud and welcoming response.
“Kwaak! Kwaak! ….Kwaak….kw….!”
It was as if the gates of heaven had opened wide to present a loud and glorious froggie-chorus. Practically the whole dam was welcoming him home. Then Frog lifted his head proudly and suddenly took a huge leap into the water. He swam off happily to join his family. Dad and I stood there in wonder and awe. Yes, Frog was finally home – where he was always meant to be.
The lesson I learned that day was this…
We all have a place and a destination where we are meant to be. We have all been given a family in which we play an integral role – especially our Spiritual home and family. God has designed us this way. We only have to follow His lead.
Have you found your Spiritual family yet? Did you know that your family are waiting to welcome you too?