The Making of a Ham-land Marsh Myth
© 1999-2009, Duane Fischer, W8DBF
The misadventures that appear here are the sole property of the Author and may not be reprinted, copied, given away, sold or otherwise distributed in any way, form or medium without the written permission of Duane B. Fischer.


It all began innocently enough in the Spring of 1999. I was trying to figure out where I could mount my Hustler 6BTV vertical that the neighborhood darlings would not bend it into the shape of a pretzel because they were bored and could not find any small animals to torment. That was when i came up with the incredibly brilliant idea of putting the antenna in the middle of the little island in the center of my back yard pond. It was 150 feet across and 300 feet long with a depth tapering gradually down to 25 feet. It was fed by a natural spring, got plenty of warm sunshine and was easy to stock with vegetation and fish. The little island in the center was circular with a diameter of 25 feet. The nearby Pine woods provided a very picturesque back drop and occasionally a woodlands animal was seen drinking from the pond. Yes, my vertical would be safe there. The last I knew, the children had not yet figured out how to walk upon water!

There was a little creek that ran through the woods on its journey to a small lake about two miles distant. I dug a little connecting channel and tied my pond into the happily gurgling creek. The pond was stocked with Trout, Perch, Blue gills and several species of Bass. The eco balance was perfect. The lily pads flourished, the beds of sea weed thrived, the Turtles snapped, surface skimming insects fed leaping fish and life on the pond was good.

I can not explain how it happened, but when I awakened on Memorial Day weekend the pond was hosting what looked like the Frog version of an AMWAY convention! They were moving in by the hundreds and I swear I could hear them humming the humorous sixties ballad Frog Went A Courtin'! Now I wondered if that strange purplish glow I had seen in the night sky in the proximity of the Big Dipper had something to do with my uninvited guests.

It did not take me long to realize that these were not the run of the pond variety of amphibians. Some built boats with solar powered engines, others constructed sun shades for the lily pads, others set up picnic tables and little gas grills, some appeared to be mapping out the lay of the land and others were playing what appeared to be Croquet! Every once in a while some would stop and stare thoughtfully at the Hustler vertical. Then I noticed they were looking up toward the house at the Mosley TA-33 tri-band on my fifty foot R25g tower. I found myself wondering why Fly snapping sticky tongued Frogs were studying my Amateur Radio antenna farm with such interest. Maybe I had spent a tad too much time out in the Sun getting the standing wave down on my 20 meter double bazooka and was imagining all of this? "Alien Frogs?", I muttered. "Where did I stash the bean sprouts? I must be vitamin deficient."

The weather alert started howling like the neighbors dog did when an emergency vehicle siren roared by on the main road 150 yards to my west. I pressed the 'shut up you stupid siren' button and heard NOAA issue severe thunderstorm watches for several counties, including mine. Being a member of ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Services), I got out my two meter hand held, turned it on, checked the battery level, and adjusted the squelch. I hated thunderstorms ever since that one hit my well while I was residing on the porcelain throne. Butt, that is another story -

I wandered outside to get a closer look at what these green web footed hoppers were doing to my beautiful pond. I took my Shakesphere rod and reel along, as i figured I might as well catch a nice tasty Trout for supper while I was there. The Frogs were watching me as I leisurely strolled the one hundred yards to the pond. Then they all stopped what they were doing and stared at me with those unblinking bulbous eyes of theirs. There was not a sound. Unnaturally quiet. Downright spooky. I took a big drink from my can of Classic Coke and let out a burp that sounded like the mating cry of a bull Rhinoceros who just sat on a Porcupine! Windows rattled, motion sensors in parked cars sounded alarms and the Frogs all jumped into the air in one great green collective motion. I laughed until the tears streamed down my cheeks as the Frogs splatted back to earth in all sorts of undignified positions. I was just preparing to cast my dragonfly lure onto the placid surface of the pond when I noticed that all of the Frogs were staring at the neighbor's yard to my left. I glanced over there to see if their teenage daughters were prancing around again in those bikinis that were nothing more than two dots and a dash!

My 115 Db belch had startled their somewhat unstable Siamese cat. She was charging toward the pond with teeth bared, fur standing up like she had spiked it and ears laid back. Her eyes looked like two tilt lights on a malfunctioning arcade game! Who knew what was going on in that primitive feline brain. I felt something tug on my fishing rod and the line went taught. I turned back toward the pond. time to bag a big juicy Trout for supper.

There were three Frogs sitting on my fishing rod! A fourth one was just sliding down the monofilament line with a huge smile and croaking for glee! "What the heck do you slippery toed second cousins to a Toad think you are doing?", I demanded. "Get off my fishing rod or I will spear you with my Boy Scout multiple function utility knife and roast your hides in boiling low fat vegetable oil!" They just looked at me, got a silly smirk on their lips and slid down the fishing line into the water. Splash! Splash! Splash! What were the Frogs staring at now?

Just as I turned to look, the hand held hanging from my belt sputtered into life, the pager in my Bermuda shorts pocket shrieked and something yanked my Shakesphere rod out of my hand. The Siamese cat was charging at full throttle toward me! The tilt lights in her eyes had been replaced by a flashing "vacancy" sign, like you see outside small motels! It suddenly dawned on me why they call her Montazuma!

Storm clouds as black as Anthracite coal were rumbling across the sky like a steam locomotive lumbering up a steep hillside. NOAA had issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Genesee County and spotter activation had been requested. I had to get to my two meter station quickly, as I was the back up ARES NCS. I looked around quickly for my fishing rod. Great goldfish gall stones! The Frogs were taking turns flinging the dragonfly lure across the pond and giving each other a ride as they reeled it back in! No time to retrieve it now. I started to sprint toward the house and the waiting Ham Shack as KC8DNE started to take reports from the trained spotters.

The mentally impaired Siamese cat leaped into the air with a hiss and a deep throated snarl. I side stepped her flight path as she sailed by my right ear with needle sharp teeth snapping and razor sharp claws flailing the air. Ouch! You stupid feline litter box lounger! Montezuma had bitten a piece of my ear lobe off as she flew by! Splash! Meow! Glug. Glug. Gurgle.

The rain drops were starting to fall as I dashed through the back door of the house into the utility room. I glanced back at the pond as I held a Kleenex on my ear lobe to stop the bleeding. Now, what were those mischievous Frogs up to? Were they doing some kind of ritualistic dance? Almost as if they were trying to summon their Leader from the great expanse of space. Nah. Couldn't possibly be. Low blood sugar equals overactive imagination. Where ever they came from, something told me that life as I had known it, was no more! Were they chanting Frogzilla?

This page last updated 21 Jul 2001.