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Pamela Fagan Hutchins | Froggy went a-courtin’.

The music of a million trumpets in our own backyard.


All the signs were there.

We even talked about them, way back then.

“The owners must love frogs,” Eric said, as we toured the back yard of the house that would become our home.  He nudged a knee-high pottery frog planter with his foot.

“Umm hmmm,” I said.  I could have cared less.  I was calculating our offer.

“That one is…odd,” he said.  He pointed at a large concrete frog Buddha almost hidden by greenery beside the waterfall pouring from the top pond into the middle one.   Those ponds and that greenery, with its giant elephant ears and bougainvillea, were visible through the full length seamless back windows all the way from the front door of the house.  They reminded us of home, of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, of Estate Annaly.  How could we not buy this house?   Unconscious to my reverie, Eric continued, “It’s like a frog shrine or something.”

I remember saying something noncommittal, like “Whoa, that is odd,” as I walked back into the house with the real estate agent.  In retrospect, she seemed … in a hurry.

We moved in March 9th, springtime in Houston.  Beautiful springtime.  For roughly six weeks, the temperatures are in the 70’s with a soft breeze.  Flowers bloom, but mosquitoes don’t (yet).  Sunlight dapples the ground through the vibrant foliage on the trees.  Birds don’t chirp, they sing.  The fragrance is clean more than sweet.  It’s heaven.  We moved into our house, and it was like heaven to us.

During our third week there, it started.  Our furniture would not arrive for another month.  Until then, we had exactly one piece of “furniture,” a standard double mattress on the master bedroom floor.  The kids slept in sleeping bags.  It was spare.  We ate our meals on paper plates sitting cross-legged on the floor.  When we called to each other, our voices bounced from wall to wall in our 4,000 square foot echo chamber.   Still, it was like heaven.

Until about midnight during that fateful third week, when the first frog croaked.   His piercing rasp drew our attention, but not our consternation.  What was one frog to us, here in heaven?

Oh, had it only been one frog.  Or one hundred frogs.  Or even one thousand.

By three a.m., Eric stood pond-side in his skivvies, 300 pounds of canine looky loo’s beside him.  I stood in the doorway.

“Fucking frogs,” Eric said.

Well, yes.  Yes, they were.  Frogs were, ahem, fornicating everywhere.  It was overwhelming, really.  I swear, if you’d googled “swingers’ resort for frogs” you’d get our address.  The amorous amphibians held their tongues now, though, from the second Eric switched on the backyard light.

Muttering more curses, he snatched them up by stubbornly conjoined two’s and flung them over the fence.  I did not dare ask his plan and after 10 minutes I sneaked off to bed.

Night after spring night, Eric battled the frogs.  Day after spring day, he looked online for ways to “off” them.

Eric’s crazy campaign against the frogs was beginning to drive me insane, too.  Their sounds had long since become white noise or, at worst, bedtime music to me.  Eric’s tossing, turning, cursing, and trips-in-and-out, on the other hand, kept me wide awake.  He would report the body count when he returned to bed.

“If I could just think of a way to poison them, I could sleep,” he said.

“If you poison them, you’ll poison the dogs, maybe even birds,” I said into my pillow.

Based on my urgings to quell his frog-blood lust, Eric, for a time, pursued repatriation.  Armed with black industrial-sized garbage bags, he loaded up his little nemesi for a trip to the nearby bayou.  Unfortunately for him, citizens were on alert for a serial murderer that spring and a man seen dumping lumpy garbage bags into the waterway attracted attention.  Eric drove home and only just barely arrived before the cops came to check him out.   Reluctantly, I vouched for him.

The kids got into the spirit of Eric’s quest.  Instead of one underwear-clad man in the backyard, we had him (thank the Lord he now took time to don a pair of camo shorts — and at least it wasn’t camo face and body paint, too) plus the 9-, 11-, and 13-year olds.  Like me, the dogs slept through most of it now, except when one of the kids would make a particularly good snatch and yell in triumph. Well, at least this would take care of any lingering need for sex education.

Buddha Frog.

The children created an offering of dead froggies to the Buddha.  I feared this would have opposite of the desired effect.  Maybe it was my imagination, but I could swear their numbers doubled overnight.  It was bad.  It was very, very bad.

Read Part Two HERE on or after March 24th!  (Because I’m taking Erin Margolin’s advice and keeping this post short, rather than running all 1600 words at once)

Until then,


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60 Responses to Froggy went a-courtin’.

  1. April Phillips says:

    Oh Pam! That made me laugh hard! We have frogs in our landscaping but nothing near as bad as that! Do the other people in your neighborhood have the same problem with frogs? Or did the previous owners of the house somehow put them there on purpose?

  2. Michelle says:

    LOL I love this. I used to live near a pond with enormous bull frogs that were so loud. My daughter was terrified of them when she was little. I can’t imagine having the whole yard overrun with them.

  3. Sandy says:

    Pam!! This a just too funny. I really think the croaking would drive me crazy too. The Buddha frog…OMG!!! Is he still there? I had no idea there was a frog problem in Houston. I am looking forward to reading the next installment of “Frogville”. Love this, thank you!!!

  4. julie says:

    Oh this is hilarious! Brings me back to our house hunting ten years ago. We did almost buy a house that seemed…ummm….frog friendly. A lot of little ones hopping around in the damp, mossy backyard. It was a beautiful yard.

    But fertile.

    Can’t wait to read your second installment.

    (and congratulations on your BlogHer syndication. went there and sparkled you yesterday!)

  5. “Swingers resort for frogs”. LMAO. I’m thinking making money off those woopie-making frogs. Have frog-effing siting tours starting at midnight and charge at the door. It could become a cult with the after-hours bar crowd. Instead of heading to Denny’s, they’d all head over to your place to watch the frogs. There are a lot of stupidly drunk people who would pay to see that. Seriously, I could come lead the tours while you TRY to sleep. I need the work.

  6. Eric Hutchins says:

    There is just something about the sound of those frogs when they get wound up. Its like like a chorus from hell. They all have slightly different sounds, different pitches, Different frequencys. When you put them all together it is this horrendous, nightmarish noise.

    The pellet gun idea is a good one but we have so much glass in the back of our house and there is so much rock out there I am worried about a ricochet and broken glass. Not to mention all the dead bodies.

    I think this year (oh god its almost time again) I have to go an alternate route and try to use the earplugs. It is an un-win-able war.

    it is kinda funny seeing them fly through the air stuck together. Talk about highs and lows….

  7. JennyBean says:

    Pamela, I was riveted! You’ve got a good recipe there–a lot of smut (even if it is froggy fornification) and murder. Can’t wait to read the rest

  8. You killed the froggies?!? Oh no! They are the sign of a healthy Earth. The frogs and the bees. Kill them off and we are all going to DIE. DIIIEEE! Way to go, Pamela. 2012 will be ALL YOUR FAULT.

  9. something similar happened to us when we were little. we were putting in a pool at our new house…only the frogs seemed to think it was the hippest place to meet up and “swing.” it was loud. we all climbed into the pool in our pajamas with our empty garbage cans and loaded them up. then hauled them down to the end of the block where there was a ditch with some water. somehow they kept managing to find their way back to our not-yet-completed pool. oy!

    • Pamela says:

      That’s hilarious about the garbage cans, a la hefty trash bags and eric.
      They are immortal.
      Frogs are the original zombies.
      I’m convinced.

  10. Irene says:

    Welcome to my world! With an inground pool, we do everything we can to keep the frogs and toads from fornicating and spreading their genes. And each time I find one, I immediately haul his sorry ass down the road to the stream and drop him off to find his ancestors. Meanwhile, my pool cover is a breeding pond for a million and one tadpoles.

    I have a blog post about this. I should dig it out. And I’ll dedicate it to you!!!

    Tell Eric I agree….fucking frogs!

    • Pamela says:

      Eric was worried that environmentalists would attack our house after I published his story, but I told him that people can understand frog-sex sleep-deprivation-induced insanity. :)

  11. Ally says:

    Fantastic! Someone else lives in my world! From March through April, you cannot have a normal conversation on our back porch at night. After that, they settle into a little softer, but no less constant barrage for the rest of the summer. I really have learned to enjoy it. I look forward to the beginning of it to tell me spring is really coming. The only down side is if we get an early spring teaser of weather and want to open windows at night before May – it’s pretty loud.

    We have a huge swath of wetlands behind us. I could pick frogs forever and never get rid of them. They often like to surprise me while I’m gardening. Something that usually makes me shriek like a 3rd grade girl. I don’t mind them, just don’t surprise me!!

    I’ll admit, ours are Pacific tree frogs – they are little. In fact the first time I saw one, I did not believe that little thing could make so much racket!

  12. SuzRocks says:

    Oh YUCK! I don’t dislike frogs, ‘per se’, but I would never want them in my back yard. ewwwwww.

    Did the cops really come to check out your husband? If so, that’s hilarious.

    • Pamela says:

      The cops really came to our house, because of the bag of frogs. Can you believe? Now, one piece of it is not true. Let’s just say the name of the guilty party was changed. And an innocent maligned. But, as I am ever-so-fond of saying, “IT’S MY FRICKIN’ BLOG”. Now, let’s see if the guilty dog barks or vice versa. :)

  13. LBDDiaries says:

    Oh my gosh – I am so glad our house sold. We had a rain run off ditch, flowing into a bigger ditch, then under the road into the neighbor’s field across the street. THAT is where The Do Drop Inn 1 hour motel pond was for all the cheating frogs and sex-craved frogettes. When we moved here, we had to evict two bull frogs after the changed the liner – they thought they owned the former scummy pool water. They died for their arrogance. It scared off all other contenders. Ahhhh, peace and quiet – except for those yipping coyotes…

  14. ridgely says:

    This one’s priceless- 3/24 is big day : NEW Vet Bradley spring colors AND Part 2 of Froggin’. 😉

  15. Ohhh, you R too Funny :) xx

  16. Galit Breen says:

    OMG I am *dying* over here! THis was written so much like a novel. I was cozying in, reading about your new home, sipping my coffee and then the frogs! Good lord! The frogs! I can’t wait to read part 2~ And for the record: I always want to publish 1000s of words at a time, too! :)

    • Pamela says:

      Hey! I just followed you on twitter, thanks for the tweet. I think I saw you over on BlogHer too…at least your alphabetical profile struck a chord :)
      Nice to meet you.
      Glad you enjoyed my little fellas.
      I’m having fun writing about them — they weren’t so much fun a few years ago before my husband started his road back to sanity!!!

    • Pamela says:

      No, I didn’t see you on BlogHer, duh, I saw you last weekend on RDC when I visited your blog. Ignore what I said earlier. As soon as I opened your page, I remembered you :)
      Nice to see you AGAIN.
      {I need coffee}

  17. I had no ideas frogs were so… communal with their friskiness. I hope you find some peace and quiet soon!

  18. KIR says:

    Oh My God, that was hilarious, it reminds me of Sex and the City, when Carrie tells Burger, “I don’t do Frogs”
    I simply just loved this, it made me smile and giggle, and think of your hubby in his underwear. LOL

    I always run on with my writings too, but this one worked, can’t wait for PART 2!!!!

    • Pamela says:

      OH, I remember that episode! I once bought the entire series and watched all of them in an endless marathon over a long weekend. It was *awesome*.

  19. Gil Gonzalez says:


    This is too funny. Thank you for sharing and for the laughs. Also, I like you took the advice from Erin and split this into two blog posts. It really is a polite gesture to your audience AND it’s got me giddy with anticipation for the second half of the story.

    • Pamela says:

      Erin is so smmmmaaaarrtttt
      I write novels, and blogging is somewhat new to me. I had a hard time learning that 600-900 really is the max. *sigh*
      Very funny on twitter :)

  20. Alexandra says:

    Oh, hilarious

    BEST reading on the internet today.

    I wish I had the guts to publish so many words…I really do.

    • Pamela says:

      I love your words. You’re funny and poignant. And you achieve brevity! I went from novels to blogging. I should have done the reverse. Speaking of which, I need to get cracking. I’m editing novel #3 today. novel #2 in the hands of a great agent — wish me luck — she’s considering representing me. Oh, how I love words. :)

  21. Grace says:

    I think I’ve read this story somewhere before. Oh yeah, in the Bible!


  22. […] This week I wrote an anthology contribution piece (details in a few weeks), contributed a syndicated piece to BlogHer called Couples Who Make You Want to Puke (a different version than the post on Road to Joy), edited novel #2 (Going for Kona), worked on novel #3 (Conceding Grace), and posted the oh-so-much-fun Froggy Series. […]

  23. Pauline says:

    Hi Pamela,
    Sandy recommend I pop over to read this post after I posted about the thrill of finding a frog in my house. Just one frog and I hoped for more in the future – not in the house, in my pond, silly! Not so sure about that now!
    Thanks for an entertaining read!

    • Pamela says:

      OH MY. One frog becomes one million overnight. One million screaming little friends, loving’ it up in your pond. :) However, I think nature is beautiful. It’s my husband that can’t stand it. I hope you love your froggies! Thanks for stopping by.

  24. […] you will laugh out loud about. Promise. Take a look. Leave Pamela a note, tell her I sent you. Froggies went a courtin’ Part 1 and Part […]

  25. […] hours yesterday on my 2nd edit of Grace with my biggest fan, first reader, and eagle-eyed editor Eric (oh he of the froggy fame) taking pages for his edit the moment I finished mine.  We made it […]

  26. Eric Hutchins via Facebook says:

    This is an awesome one. Not sure it is my favorite but there are so many good ones.

  27. Eric Hutchins via Facebook says:

    That and floaters

  28. you know, of those 120k words, I bet a lot were recycled. You probably used “the” many times, for instance…

  29. Susie says:

    Great post. ( hi!)

  30. […] your smart phones, whatever you do, don’t take on this challenge.  I’d rather overlook my husband’s frog obsession and snuggle nose to […]

  31. […] Blog Comments by RSS Road To Joy Blog Categories Select Category Hot Flashes & Half Ironmans How to Screw-Up Your Kids Less Words, More Pictures Love Gone Viral My Half-Assed Efforts to Become a Serious Writer Puppalicious And Beyond Rednecking Can Lead to Redneckedness Stuff Written by People Way Better Than Me The Clark Kent Chronicles Utter Nonsense Working for a Living Sucks /* 0 ) { location.href = ""+dropdown.options%5Bdropdown.selectedIndex%5D.value; } } dropdown.onchange = onCatChange; /* ]]> */ Reader's Favorite Scribblings (# of comments)Wasted Days and Wasted Nights (108)The pain of puppy love. (77)Couples who make you want to puke. (76)My diet is not a racist. (75)Dear Tim Tebow: Only You Can Save My Daughter. (73)The Redneck Adventures of Bubba-Mon and the Quacker (65)The Best Laid Plans of Cardinals and Men (64)Froggy went a-courtin'. (58) […]

  32. […] bayou frogs are back. Eric asks for your prayers As reminder of how bad it can get, here are Froggy went a-courtin’. (part one) and Froggy went a courtin’, part […]

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