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June 04, 2011

love your neighbor

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In the dark is where the really big huge monster bull frogs appear. So they waited all day for night to fall, the three brothers, the dad, and the neighbor girl. We began our third hunt in as many weeks, eager to see what kind of Nessies may be found croaking in the deep.

We approached the (now) legendary Grantham pond, each of us armed with net and flashlight. The sliver moon hung low, reflecting off water, moss, and muck. We were sneaking, excited but whispering to each other going into turn one of the pond, when from the corner of the pond we heard a...

A voice. Of a person. With a pretty alarmist tone for four kids and a dad quietly hunting frogs.

"'S"cuse me, the park is closed at 9:00."

Oh. My. Frog. Of COURSE. Of course someone would have a problem with this, four kids and a dad hunting critters together on a Friday night and letting them go a day or two later in their backyard one mile up-stream.

I pulled out my phone.

"Yeah look at that, it's 9:20. Were we bothering you?"

"Well the neighborhood around here keeps watch of the park at night and the park closes at 9:00."

I stood there silent, staring at the shadowy figure, a middle aged woman trying to catch her breath.

"I thought that meant the pavilion and the playground. So we're not allowed to be here, even for catching frogs with nets?"

"No your not. And we like having some frogs around, ya know?"

I thought of the hundreds if not thousands of frogs and tadpoles that we've seen or caught at the pond over the last few years, many of which probably find their way back when we release them.

I looked over at the small campfire she had going about halfway between her town home and the pond, wondering if it was placed on park property. Upper Allen Township prohibits campfires without a permit from the fire warden, recalled the one with a small ring of stones in the far reaches of his own back yard.

"Okay guys, lets head back toward the car."

We made our way back along waters edge. I caught a glimpse and paused to point out an almost wholly submerged monster bully. Seeing that we weren't moving out at a pace suited to her liking, the woman pretended to call the police. This had the effect of me wanting to go ape shit, especially since I had plenty of leverage with the illegitimate camp fire likely on park grounds.

I'm just a concerned citizen. And rules are rules.

And so I moved more slowly toward the car. Pausing here, listening there, not attempting to net anything. Rounding up four kids takes a while, you know? I somehow managed to keep my mouth completely shut. Not a word about the frogs. Or the rules on campfires. Or my disappointed children.

Is it wrong for me to smile at the thought that tomorrow, Lord willing, we will be there an hour earlier?

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