Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Ballad of Tom and Jerry

Once upon a time there were some little frogs.  African Dwarf frogs they were, though they found themselves, along with a couple dozen other frogs, in a third grade classroom in the United States.  They heard that they were part of some sort of science experiment, and that frightened them.  Fortunately, they weren't forced to wear any makeup, eat 12 times their body weight in aspartame daily, or have tumors grafted onto their wee bodies.  Instead, they were only present in the classroom for "observation".  This observation consisted of the little frogs being placed into small tanks in groups of 2 or 3, and some children looking at them every day, along with feeding them and keeping their tank clean.  All in all, it wasn't too bad a gig.

After a few weeks though, the gig was over.  What would become of these dwarf frogs?  The teacher in the classroom placed them for adoption with some of the students, ones whose parents had signed a form agreeing to take care of them, students who had to explain in writing how they would care for these miniature amphibians.  And so it was that two of these frogs found themselves joining the family of a girl named Rebecca.  Rebecca, you see, loved frogs, had loved them ever since she was a toddler.  When the teacher said that the frogs could be adopted out, Rebecca pleaded with her parents to let her have one.  They agreed, though they would need to purchase a home for the new family member, as well as food.  When the adoption day came, not one but two tiny frogs went home with Rebecca.  African Dwarf Frogs are social frogs, and prefer sharing their home.  Having a buddy in the tank would make their latest transition  much easier.  As soon as they arrived at Rebecca's house, she and her dad set them up in their new tank.  Soon everyone in the family was captivated.

Naming of the pair was a hotly debated subject among Rebecca's family.  Many names were suggested, and just as many were rejected by the adoptive mom.  After watching the frogs chase each other around their watery home, Rebecca settled on Tom and Jerry.  One frog was noticeably larger than the other, so it was easy for the family to distinguish between them.

They lived on Rebecca's family's kitchen table and life was good.  They swam, they rested, they observed Rebecca and her family while the family observed them.  But then Black Monday struck.  That evening, Rebecca's sister noticed Tom floating on his back, not at the surface, but closer to the bottom of the tank.  Distraught, Rebecca lovingly fished his lifeless body out of the tank.  She wanted to bury him in the yard, but her parents insisted on a burial at sea instead.  So Rebecca took Tom's body into the bathroom, locked herself in, and held a private service for him.  Rebecca was very sad about Tom.  She asked why did he have to die?  Her parents couldn't give her an answer, so they just comforted her as well as they could.

The next day, when Rebecca came home from school, she found Jerry lying at the bottom of the tank.  In a panic, she called her mother and left her two increasingly sorrowful messages, before reaching her mother on the phone.  Jerry had joined Tom over the Rainbow Bridge.  Rebecca was heartbroken.  Her parents told her that once she felt better, they could get more frogs, or maybe some fish, which improved her mood.

Goodbye, Tom and Jerry.  We're sorry to lose you; you fascinated and entertained us.  Thank you for letting us share our home with you, however briefly.  Your time here was so short that we never had the chance to even take your pictures.

1 comment:

Minnie said...

Its always sad when pets die, but the pleasure of living with them far outweighs the sadness of loss. Hope your little girl is feeling better