Saturday, August 29, 2009

Oh My, Toady!

I recently read Wind in the Willows. Toad, Rat, Mole, and Mr Badger - what a bunch of rascals. Really, rascals is the only word to describe them. I had never read the book before and I must say it was one of the most delightful experiences I’ve had in a long time. Really, delightful is the only word to describe it. And speaking of words, I just adored the language of the book. Written at the beginning of the last century by a British author, well, I have no words to describe it. It made me laugh, it made me cry. And I didn’t even have a hard time with the fact that the animals wore clothes or could drive cars. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride at Disney World makes so much more sense now! The book was a fabulous vehicle for escape.

In a related story, a day or two after I'd finished the book I was getting into my car on the way to work. It was dark outside, because it seems I have to leave for work in the middle of the night. OK, so it’s about 5:40, but for a lot of people, that’s the middle of the night. As I’m leaning to get into my car I noticed movement at the windshield of my car. It was little toad! I tried to catch it and put it into the safety of the grass, but he escaped into the hood of my car. Being one who is never tardy for work I said to the toad, “you’re on your own if you crawl in there,” and I was off. About a quarter mile down the road the toad crawled out from under the hood and once again made his appearance on my windshield wiper. He looked as though he was perched comfortably, yet I worried as he was now entering dangerous territory.

Soon after I was out of my neighborhood I accelerated onto the freeway to a speed of 70 miles per hour. The toad held onto the windshield wiper tightly. He took a look at me once in a while and proved to be very distracting as not only did I keep my eye on him, I was also worried about what would happen if he lost his grip. On I went, 70 miles per hour, and the toad held firm.

About six miles into the trip he started to waver. I worried what would happen if he flew off my windshield wiper and went splat onto the windshield of the car behind me. Would it cause a panic? Would people think it was the end of the world with the impression it was raining toads? But still, the toad held firm.

When I arrived at the parking ramp downtown, twelve miles from home, the toad seemed to be out of breath with his little heart beating hard. He looked at me. I looked at him. Again I told him, “you’re on your own now.” I don’t know what became of Toady that day, as he disappeared from my car by the time I was done with work. No doubt he was off on another adventure, stealing cars or challenging city weasels. Good luck, dear Toady!

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