Flash in the Pan
A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights
When Frogs Sing
by Laura Blatt
"This is my daughter, Laura," Momma would shout enthusiastically to strangers at grocery stores and restaurants. "Isn't she pretty? Do you know that she was first in her class? She skipped a grade, she is so smart." I would hide behind a chair, a post, a table, anything that was available, pretending that we weren't together.
In contrast, Dad was a quiet artist who tended to retreat to the basement where he kept his easel and paints. I would sneak down the stairs and watch him. Once, my sister Jackie reached for some white oil paint that she thought was marshmallow, and he smacked her. I safely stayed in the shadows.
Momma wanted to go dancing or visit the neighbors. Dad preferred to stay home, so Momma baked heavy, doughy cookies that tasted like stale bread while he wrote poems and sketched. Sometimes, he took me to the park on weekends and pushed me down the hills on my sled.
Momma was a homemaker, except for those years in which Dad left his job to start his own advertising design business. He was terrible at figures, so she took over the accounting. He was not good at drumming up customers either and she tried her hand at that. But ultimately, the business failed.
Every morning Momma would yell about something. I hadn't cleaned up my toys. I dropped my clothes. I spilled my milk. I was late for school. "You know you shouldn't talk to your mother before she's had her coffee," Dad explained. He took me outside to look at frogs. "They sing in the morning," he said. And they did. "Croaak, croaaok craak," where they hid in the unmown grass.
For many years, Laura Blatt was an editor and manager at a publishing company. Now retired, she lives on a one-acre plot in Penngrove, California, with her border collies. She enjoys gardening and riding her lawn tractor in warm,sunny weather.
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