Okay, it’s only because we’re friends that I’m about to share this with you. It is, without a doubt, my most embarrassing moment. Ever.
My youngest daughter, who was about 16 at the time (and, as a point of reference, a very intelligent girl who 2 years later received an academic scholarship to USC), and I were in Boston for her participation in the Irish Dance National Championships. As we poured over a city map, must-sees flowed across our lips like verbal diarrhea: “Harvard!” “Paul Revere’s house!” “Boston Harbor!” “Old North Church!” “Boston Common! with a frog pond!” A frog pond! That’s were we’d start! First thing in the morning!
We walked along Boylston Street and ate warm cinnamon bagels out of a bag until we came to the southern entrance of Boston Common, then wiped our fingers, unfolded our map, and took a left toward the frog pond.
“How do you think they keep the frogs from leaving?” one of us asked the other (I don’t remember who said what. Let’s pretend the least ridiculous more lucid statements were mine.).
“I don’t know. Maybe they keep them in crates at night? Or one end’s covered, and they corral them by using a special whistle or something every night?” Like some sort of frog honor system.
Disclaimer: As a native Southern Californian, I have no knowledge, expertise, or experience with frogs. Pastel mechanical frogs at Disneyland come to mind, but I’m not sure they exist. I might be imagining them.
As the two of us walked, we debated the pond’s dimensions and depth. Was it fenced? Were we talking a few frogs, or hundreds? Our pace increased.
We race walked as the sidewalk veered left, then saw a decent-sized shallow-looking body of water. The sign said “Frog Pond.” There wasn’t a frog in sight. We looked at each other. I don’t remember for sure, but our foreheads probably furrowed.
What was going on? The sign clearly said “Frog Pond.” It was still early: maybe they hadn’t been let out yet. A girl of about 18 stood in the distance, hosing off the pond’s perimeter. “Let’s go ask her,” I said.
“Excuse me.” I said to her.
“We just had a question.” I got the map out as evidence we weren’t making this up. “It says this is a frog pond. Actually the sign back there says it, too. Where are the frogs?”
“The what?” she said.
“The frogs. For the frog pond.”
I kid you not, she glanced around before she answered. I’m positive she was looking for the hidden camera. “Ummm. There are no frogs. It’s a kid’s wading pool.”
I think we mumbled thanks before hightailing it out of there. Then again, maybe not.
We still had the Swan Boats to visit on the other side of the Common, but we didn’t get our hopes up. We were on to these people; there’d be no barebacked swan rides in our future. Fool us once…
Images: crossfitfenway.com, travelpod.com, and bostonartsmarathon.com