"The Tin Frog"
by Leslie Robinson
Quite often we would stop at the store in Potter's Hill before going to church on
Wendesday and Sunday nights. One such night I decided on a box of Cracker
Jacks and my heart leaped as I found the prize. It was a Tin Frog that clicked
when you pressed it. It would go Tick Tock, Tick Tock.
When we arrived at Church it was to early to go in, so I lingered outside. Soon
Preacher George Turner arrived with his wife and two sons, Coy and Roy. Preacher
George was well liked and respected . He was known as George Dick Turner and
was a member of our neighberhood. He had sold my Mama her Bible which she
I showed Coy my Frog and made it go Tick Tock for him, Coy being the kind of
fellow he was grabbed it out of my hand and ran with it. Coy could run very fast.
I couldn't run nearly as fast. Soon Mama said come here Leslie, they are ready to
start. I stopped chasing Coy and went into the Church. I sit down beside my Mama
and Coy was on the other side sitting beside his Mother. Coy looked at me and
stuck out his tongue and showed me my Frog. My face turned red with anger, the
taunting went on. The grown ups stood up to sing and Coy kept showing me the Frog.
I was so mad by now that I was beside myself. The grown ups finished Rock of Ages
and sit down. Preacher Burton Turner started with his Sermon. Coy took my Frog out
of his pocket and stuck out his tongue again. This was more than I could stand. I
sprang across his mother's lap and down under the bench we went. I pummeled Coy
with my fist and being taken by susprise he dropped the Frog. I quickly grabbed it. He
started hitting me but I endured it as I put the Frog in my pocket. This accomplished I
turned my attention back to the source of my anger and starting making him pay. We
were wrestling, punching and hair pulling, rolling under the bench behind. We were
oblivious to what was going on around us, we were only interested in the destruction
of the other.
The Preacher had stopped preaching, my mama reached over the bench and hauled
me to my feet. Over on the Deacon's Bench George and my Daddy had come to their
feet. Our Mother's took us outside, Coy's Mother took him around the side of the building,
they returned with Coy crying. My Mama was telling me how bad what I had did was and
how ashamed she was of me. We went back into church. My Daddy promptly summoned
me to the Dreaded Deacon's Bench to sit with him. There I couldn't follow through with my
plan to antagonize Coy and treat him like he had treated me.
The church settled down, the Preacher called for a song. Soon I'll Fly Away was resounding
off the rafters. When the song was finished, the Preacher started with the message. We
soon went home, as I settled in the front seat of the old Ford between Mama and Daddy.
I felt that all was well in my world. My Daddy and Mama didn't say anything at all, but my
sister's were laughing and calling me "Joe Louis" which was the only fighter that they knew.
Soon Daddy said, "That's enough". As they fell silent, I won the eveing but not the peace.
Coy and I were enemies and had lots of fights all through the first and second grade. We
stopped in the third grade for some reason.
Coy is dead now but for many years he was a Pilot for a small airline in Arkansas. I feel a
sense of loss and sadness that I am sure is partly because of my youth being gone. Roy
had an accident on his tractor and was killed. When my Daddy died George Dick Turner
preached his funeral at the Memorial.
I salute you Coy and Roy and your Mama and Daddy. My Mama my Daddy and my Sister's
are all gone now.
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