I’ve been remembering Jeremiah lately. It was the end of November last year when he disappeared. He’d shown up in our pond that spring. After having calculated ways to kill him, I should have been glad he was gone; but I’ve missed him a little.
Jeremiah was a bullfrog.
He was a big, fat, softball-sized bullfrog. His ancestors were introduced to the Pacific Northwest during the great depression. People thought the bullfrog’s meaty legs could feed the hungry. Apparently, the idea never really caught on.
He wasn’t welcome in our yard. Our tiny native frogs, and the birds who bathe in the pond and the waterfall, are tasty morsels to a fat bullfrog.
Jeremiah probably came to us from Kellogg Creek, less than half a mile away. If I took him down to the creek, I’d be postponing the inevitable. He or his friends are bound to return.
Over the summer, Jeremiah became comfortable with our family. One day, as my daughter Laura and I sat on the bench watching the fish, he swam across the pond and hung out in the water watching us. He wore a friendly smile and seemed genuinely curious.
A true naturalist would probably kill Jeremiah. I wrestled with the idea. Killing him would be easier if our friend Terence hadn’t named him. Who wants to kill a creature with a real name?
Bullfrogs aren’t hard to catch. Or so I’ve heard. I could catch him, put him in a sack, and drop a rock on him. I could stab him while he’s in the sack. Both options are pretty gruesome. I needed something a little less messy, like luring him into the house and smothering him with a pillow.
My daughter Laura wanted him to live. My friend Lonnie wanted him to live. I couldn’t stomach the alternative.
Fall came and cooler weather. The fish went to the bottom of the pond to wait out winter. Still, Jeremiah hung around. I’d step outside and see him sitting on the rocks. After a while he stopped jumping off when I walked by his favorite spot. He just quietly slipped into the pond and went right back to his place after I passed. He wasn’t afraid of me.
I saw the great blue heron several times that fall, stalking the perimeter of the pond, looking for fish, or frogs. One day I saw the heron paying particular attention to Jeremiah’s favorite rock. Ironically, I was kind of worried.
I miss Jeremiah’s great big smile. He was a good friend of mine.