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Friday, April 30, 2010

Save the Frogs Day and Greening Playfully

See the link below; today is Save the Frogs Day.

http://savethefrogs.com/day/index.html

Frogs are near and dear to my heart; my mother and I loved them, read about them, collected figurines of them, embroidered them, you name it. I raised tadpoles in school, and looked for them in various ponds. We had the related animal, small toads, all over in Southern Illinois years ago. Frogs are beautiful, and do a lot of good, and very little harm.

These are beautiful, windy days to play outside. Now is the time to make kites and fly them. I once made a beautiful kite with a Geisha on it; I had just visited the Japanese Community in San Franciso, and was entranced by the beautiful Kimono clad images and lavish wigs. My second grade teacher was scandalized and made me tear it up in front of her. From then on, my kites were generic. Dad and I made hexagon kites, as he did in Europe when he was small. We flew them in the local kite flying competition and one a ribbon here and there, until one year I won in every catagory and took home a small trophy.

These were the days we didn't need expensive toys, a jump rope, some chalk for making a hopscotch board, a handful of jacks, a few holly hocks to make dolls. Tomorrow is May Day, and we were big on weaving baskets out of long grassses or paper, and filling them with violets and ground ivy flowers. Before my allergies got me, I loved dandelions and clover flowers, and golden rod. Often with our mothers' help, we pressed flowers between sheets of wax paper to make book marks, coasters, and book covers.

My friends and I played "Barbies" under the cool shade of the huge oak trees in our yards, but our dishes were often flat leaves and acorn caps. We liked to make dolls out of these and out of cornhusks, too. There were still cornfields around our houses when we were very little, and we used to gather stubble, left over ears, and husks. The whole neighborhood, boys and girls, sat down one afternoon in an impromptu doll making session. We made corn cob dolls with cornsilk hair. We wrapped scraps around them from clothes, and used magic markers to draw faces. We loved making cornhusk dolls, too, and often saved little seeds and rocks to make small gifts.

There were certain dry twigs we collected that had sap in them that turned to natural chewing gum. We also loved to chew mint, which grew wild in some of our yards. We had trees and hills which were nice for games, especially tag and hide and seek. We also played a lot of Pioneer Days and Anne of Green Gables incorporating tree stumps and small groves of trees and bushes for houses and settings.

We had our own restaurants, where we sometimes had real snacks, and homemade popsicles on the menu, but we liked our fantasy parties as well. My mudpie recipe was a hit; I used the requisite dirt and water in equal parts, but added an egg. This was the suggestion of another of my gradeschool teachers, the more light-hearted sister of the aforesaid Geisha hater. This gave the mud dough the consistency of brownies. I used to pour them into large Mississippi clam shells and other shells we picked up on trips, and I would decorate them with violets, marigolds, and other small flowers.

Then, I laid them on display at the foot of the driveway. They were magnificent.

I hope you all have a magnificent day, and encourage your children and your adult friends, to play "green," and put away the Droid phones, and PSPs, and Gameboys, if only for a day.

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