November 1, 2008


Visit the October 18, 2008-Winnie Trivia page in the
Archives to see the answers to the trivia questions.

Dan Thornburg earned bragging rights!


by Tom James

It was the summer of 1966 between our junior senior years.  Greg Symmes and I were spending a weekend at my parents’ place on Adams Lake north of Kendallville.  My parents weren’t there that weekend so we were left to our own devices.

On Saturday, after a full day of swimming, boating and skiing, we were trying to decide what to do next for entertainment.  Since dusk was approaching, I asked Greg if he had ever been giggin’ for frogs.  His reply was “they taste like chicken don’t they?”   I told him “I’m not sure about that but they sure are fun to catch.”  He said, “ Let’s go for it”, so we set about getting the things together that we would need.  Flashlights, a three pronged spear and a long handled net (only had one spear).

Now, anyone who has ever gone frog giggin’ knows just what thirsty work it can be.  So we had to make a quick trip Sturgis Michigan (legal age 18 and they didn’t card you) to pick up a couple of cases of brew.  When we got back we sampled a few and iced the rest in a cooler preparing for our frog giggin’ adventure.

By this time it was getting pretty dark so we loaded our gear in the row boat, made sure our flash lights worked and continued to lighten our cooler.  I suggested we go to an area where several cottages bordered the lake and it was shallow enough for wading.

When we got there we anchored the boat near shore and began wading in the shallows along the bank.  Being a moonless night, it was totally dark and the loud croaking noises made for a creepy scene.  We were searching the shoreline with our flashlights, when all of a sudden Greg stopped dead still and I heard him gulp loudly.  I played my flashlight over to where his was shining and there it was on shore about 15 feet away!

Not moving, staring at us with coal black unblinking malevolent eyes, there was this huge monster of a frog! I swear it at least 2 feet long and stood about 18 inches high, just sittin’ there looking back at us.  Once I recovered from the initial shock, I said “Greg get that sucker!”  He said “are you crazy? You get him, you’re the one with the spear!”

At just under 7 feet, I quickly decided the spear was not near long enough for me to challenge this nightmare amphibian. So we slowly backed off deciding nothing short of a 12 gauge would be needed for this freak of nature.

We scrambled back into the boat more than slightly shaken so we attacked the cooler and then quickly rowed back to our cottage to contemplate what we had just seen.  Once there, still working on the cooler, we began to conjecture that maybe it was an optical illusion caused by the flashlights and the frog just looked bigger than it was.

I even suggested that it might have been a hallucination caused by the Bud but, since neither of us had ever heard of that happing, we quickly dismissed that explanation.  Greg speculated that it might be a throwback from the Jurassic period that had survived until now.  He asked me if any people or pets had gone missing around the lake in recent years.  I told him I could just see the headline: “Winchester High School Students Discover Adams Lake Frog Monster!”  And so it went until we ran out of beer and fell asleep.

The next morning we decided to revisit the scene in the “sober” light of day.  We took the row boat and went back to the same shoreline where the whole surrealistic event happened.  As we neared the bank, all of a sudden there it was!  Sittin’ near the water in the yard of one of the cottages was........THE BIGGEST DAMNED (CERAMIC LAWN ORNAMENT) FROG WE HAD EVER SEEN!!!