ROCK HILL — Nine-year-old Alyson Lindsey most certainly is a princess. And on Wednesday, she most certainly did kiss a big, slimy frog named Joe one of the hoppers at Saturdays annual Rock Hill frog jump.
Just a peck, but she kissed that fat frog.
I dont want him to turn into a prince, though, said Alyson. Im 9.
Alyson knows frogs are stinky, just like boys.
Joe the frog sat on her shoulder and stared at Alyson without so much as a ribbet. He stared straight ahead with those big, gold-green eyes, then leaped to the ground. Alyson chased and caught Joe in three seconds.
Gotcha! she beamed. Some prince.
The Mayors Frog Jump competition is always one of the best events at Rock Hills annual spring festival, Come-See-Me. It is the best because grown-ups are not allowed.
Just children, just fun.
Alyson and her friend, Pace Howey, also 9, are volunteers to help other kids. Their fathers, who work at Comporium Communications, the events main sponsor, volunteer to run the event, but they let the kids have the fun.
Any kid that comes can jump, said Alysons dad, Paul Lindsey, an account manager at Comporium by day, frog babysitter by night. These frogs are ready to jump.
Except that one.
Inside one of three huge tubs of frogs was one that was belly-up after being mailed to Rock Hill.
Hes a goner, said Alyson.
A decade ago, a frog shortage was so severe that frogs arrived just hours before the race. The Heralds coverage of the frog shortage went worldwide. The BBC and other national and international networks did stories on the frog crisis.
This year, though, the frogs showed up fat and ready.
The top kids get trophies at the frog jump. Some years, more than 400 kids have brought frogs they caught themselves in ponds and muck. Others opt for the frogs that the people at Comporium buy each year from a supply house that raises frogs for biology classes and restaurants.
Yes, frogs that do not jump Saturday go under the knife for either dissection or frogs legs dinners, complete with snail appetizers.
These frogs are lucky, then, said Pace. Im not eating my frog. His name is Ugly.
And Ugly sure was ugly. Ugly had green slime all over him. Ugly ate crickets whole without even a single chew.
And then Ugly heard all that talk about frog-leg dinners and dissections and decided that he was going to hide. He jumped free of Paces grip and hid under a car. Pace slid right in under the car and grabbed Ugly by his slimy leg.
Gotcha! said Pace.
Then Pace did what 9-year-old boys do: He put Ugly the frog on top of his head.
Better wash my hair, he said.
Andrew Dys • 803-329-4065 • email@example.com