Chester Chatter: The tale of toad and frog

By Ruthie Douglas
©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC

In the late 1960s, the government gave money to lots of small Vermont towns to be used for summer programs for children.

Just down the road from my house was the town of Bartonsville. It was in a different county from my farmhouse but my daughters still were invited to a number of events that the town held.

One day I got a call from Irene Bussino, who managed the fund for Rockingham, asking if I could give her a hand. I, of course, said yes.

We met at the Bartonsville Grange Hall. And that’s when I learned that she was planning a frog-jumping contest for the kids. She said all we had to do was to collect 30 frogs or so. So away we went, with my new galvanized garbage can to hold the frogs. Some kids also joined us to gather frogs. We went to nearby swamps and brooks.

Jeanie gave a holler and in her hands she held a toad. “Throw it back,” I told her. But she responded that she wanted to enter it into the contest. Soon we did have our 30-plus frogs. We kept them overnight in my back room. Can you imagine the echo of 30 frogs croaking all night long in a galvanized can? It didn’t seem that they needed any sleep nor did they want to allow us any.

The next morning, back at the Grange Hall, we laid out the track with lines of lime powder. With our tape measure at the ready, the children took turns, frogs in hand, to enter the race.

Jeanie held onto her toad, stroking it gentling and cooing to it.  Her turn came and that toad jumped 29 inches and won the whole contest. I allowed that winning toad to live with us for a short while. Simple games like that were enjoyed by the children.

Scene and heard

On a beautiful summer evening my daughter Jeanie and I went up to Proctorsville to listen to the band Gully Boys play on the Village Green. Some 100 people spread out 6 feet apart and were wearing masks.

Happy birthday to my friend Jerry Stewart.

Happy birthday also to Leah Cunningham, my editor Cynthia’s daughter, who is working in New York City.

The Saturday townwide yard sales in Baltimore was great although we would have liked to see more people wearing masks.  It was the first day that Gov. Phil Scott’s mask mandate went into effect. High in the hills under a sunny blue sky made it wonderful to be outside.

Wonder Bread was put on the market in 1921.

Remember the Battle of Bennington Day is coming up on Aug. 16.

A sad farewell to Nancy and Bret Rugg, whose last day owning the Fullerton Inn was Friday, July 31. We wish them a happy retirement.



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Filed Under: Chester Chatter

About the Author: Ruthie Douglas is originally from Springfield but has called Chester her home for 58 years, and has been writing the Chester Chatter column for more than 40 of those years. Ruthie is also a longtime volunteer throughout the community.

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