Saturday, February 18, 2017

Instead of chants; Popsicles; A young man then; Happy days

Extra Small Wood Percussion Frog, 2" long
These are the original Rrribit frogs from Thailand. 
They are made from Monkey Pod wood, which 
produces the best frog croaking sound
 you will ever hear from a wooden frog. 
To play it set it in your palm with the front 
of the frog facing away from you 
and run the thicker end of the stick over the ridges up 
the back of the frog from the rear to the front. 
You can change the sound by covering and uncovering
 the holes by his mouth. You can also use the holes to store 
the stick when not in use. Anyone can play it 
the first time they pick it up. With a little practice 
you can more closely mimic the sounds of a happy frog. 

(Please note that we are not responsible for plagues of frogs.)

Turtle Island Imports

No, but we the American people, can put Thailand 
on the map by getting several million 
of these monkey pod miniature noisemakers, 
carrying them to cities like Wash. DC, airports, 
or our own home town's street corners, 
pulling them easily from our purses or pockets
and make at the strike of noon 
or another predetermined time
a collective racket across the land.
Like the biggest spring peeper bog there ever was.

The spontaneous pushing of the little wands across the ridged frog backs 
will create waves of Ribbits.  The noise WILL be heard!  
Astounding volume from such  small thing.  

The Raccoon has two so far but has ordered several for family and friends
from Turtle Island Imports. Reasonable rates.  But they won't do the job 
unless enough of them are used!

Notice the zig-zag motif on the frogs' backs.
Rubbing the wand over the line of them
is what creates the sound.

It is natural that we 
are especially attracted to that feature of the frogs.

Native American zig-zag
is a dominant motif
on these premises:



My Father Was a Young Man Then

Only 16, when he came from Italy alone,
moved into the Riverside neighborhood
full of Italians from Cilento-all of whom
spoke the same dialect, so it was as though
they had transported those mountain villages
to Paterson. At first, America was terrifying,
English, a language they could not master,
but my father was a young man
and he became friends with other young people
and they learned how to take buses and trains
or to borrow a car, and off they’d go
on the weekend to Rye Brook or Coney Island,
free from their factory jobs on the weekends,
reveling in the strength of their bodies,
the laughter and music and the company.

My father was a young man then,
and even when he died at 92,
he never lost the happiness
that bubbled up in him,
the irrepressible joy of being alive,
the love of being with friends.

I imagine him in that time
before he married my mother,
before we were born,
before he had a tumor on his spine
that left him with a limp.
Imagine him with his broad smile,
his booming laugh, his generous spirit,
his sharp intelligence,
imagine him as a young man,
his head full of dreams,
his love of politics and math,
the way he carried those qualities
all the way into old age,
though his legs failed him,
though his body grew trembling and frail,
his mind never did.

When I’d arrive at the house
all those years after mom died, he’d smile
at me with real pleasure,
the young man he was at 16 would emerge,
sit in the room with us
and laugh.

"My Father Was a Young Man Then" by Maria Mazziotti Gillan 
from What Blooms in Winter. © NYQ Books, 2016