Toadily in love

Published 10:18 am Wednesday, July 29, 2020

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Pam Stone

Since writing about Carl the toad I have received a flood of enquiries asking if I still see him on my way to the barn this morning, how he is weathering the heat, and if Steve the snake has shown up.


I haven’t seen Steve, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t lurking, as we speak, beneath a trunk in the tack room. Having known him since he was a tyke (if snakes technically go through such a named stage) I’m hoping that when I see him again, full grown, several feet in length, I’ll react as if seeing a neighborhood kid who shot up 4 inches over the summer, instead of recoiling in horror. He is, after all, a rat snake and not a Copperhead.


But I haven’t seen Carl in over a week. Having made our acquaintances and exchanging pleasantries (on my part, he usually only nodded) each morning as I passed his hole at the base of a wild cherry tree, his home now appears vacant. I don’t, however, believe it’s because Steve paid a visit, or something equally dreadful occurred. In fact, I know what happened.


Carl’s in love.


I know this because the last two days that I saw him, well, he wasn’t alone. In fact, as bold as brass he presented his intended to me as I stopped by.


“Ooo, Carl!” I gasped, “Who’s your friend?”


“This is Phoebe.” he replied.


“I’m Phoebe!” she squeaked.


“Surely you’re not living in sin—“


“Certainly not,” he cut me off, somewhat offended. “I brought her over to see if she would enjoy living here.”


“I’d enjoy living here!” Phoebe assented.


“Have you set a date?” I asked.


“Yes, but it’s in toad years and you wouldn’t understand.” he replied, and taking Phoebe’s hand, pulled her back inside as she echoed “Toad years!”


It was clear to me that I wasn’t being invited to their upcoming nuptials and although a little hurt, I’m really rather relieved because I’d have no idea what to get them as a gift, although I would imagine they’re registered anywhere that sells live bait.


While it’s a bit sad passing his abandoned hole each day, I know it’s only temporary. Carl and Phoebe, I’m quite sure, have eloped and are happily spending their honeymoon in an appropriately sodden and dark accommodation.