Gregory Green was upset, and not just a little upset, he was terribly upset. He had just moved to a new house, in a new neighbourhood, in a new town. Although his parents told him he should be happy because he had finished his school year before moving, he was not. He didn’t want to exchange the hot dry summers in southern Alberta for pleasantly warm northern ones.
To make matters worse, when Gregory finally got up the courage to go out into the new neighbourhood he found it deserted! Everyone was gone away on summer holidays. Now Gregory was lonely too. “You can make your own fun,” his parents said. “Go explore the backyard, have an adventure.” With that Gregory was ushered out the back door.
Grudgingly he marched straight toward the back fence kicking at the grass with his feet. Lost in thought he plunked down to sit in silence, only it wasn’t silent. Gregory could hear a strange sound, a musical sound coming from somewhere nearby.
Crawling on his knees Gregory moved toward the music. Quietly he parted the branches of a bush and pushed his head through into a small clearing, and in the middle was the strangest sight Gregory had ever seen! Six bullfrogs playing frog sized instruments: drums, guitar, and keyboard, with a leader singer and a couple backup singers. Gregory gasped in surprise; the bullfrogs stopped playing, and looked at him with golden coloured eyes.
Gregory’s eyes went wide as he tried to retreat back through the bushes. He remembered reading that male bullfrogs were territorial, and they could be aggressive to intruders, but before he could escape one of the bullfrogs yelled “WAIT.” Gregory stopped. The frogs huddled together making low croaking sounds, then one of them looked at Gregory and asked if he could keep a rhythm? Gregory nodded yes. The bullfrogs got excited croaking loudly, a strange sound like mooing cows. The same bullfrog smiled at Gregory, “perfect our triangle player moved to a new pond, so we have a spot to fill in the band.”
The frogs quickly introduced themselves as Sam, Lilly, Bull, Leap, Fly, and Hop. “I’m Gregory Green,” said Gregory settling himself in. “What is your band’s name?” The bullfrogs looked around at each other and croaked in unison. “Well,” said Hop, “it’s called Army. Now let’s play.” Gregory looked closely at the bullfrogs, their skin was bumpy and blotchy with light bellies of yellow or grey, but their backs varied from olive green to brown, and a couple were grey. Their bodies looked strong. Their heads were large with wide mouths, and circles that Gregory knew were their eardrums.
Gregory spent the rest of the afternoon with his new webbed feet friends. He was surprised when his mom called him in for the night. The next few weeks passed in the same manner, and Gregory forgot about his loneliness.
Gregory and the band were making music one afternoon when two heads popped through the bush and stared at them. The frogs kept on playing. Unsure Gregory stared back as a girl about his age, and a small boy pushed into the clearing. “Hi, I’m Brie and this is Cam. Who are you? Are these your frogs?”
“I’m Gregory. This is Sam, Lilly, Bull, Leap, Fly, and Hop. We are band friends!”
“Well, Gregory your music sounds great,” said Brie with a smile.
“Can you play us one song before we go?” asked Cam. His freckled face smiled brightly as he looked closely at the bullfrogs. Hop shot a long sticky tongue out of his mouth, and the band burst into song. When the song was done Brie and Cam clapped loudly. Cam scrambled through the bushes giggling. Brie smiled and thanked the band. “We are going to our Grandma’s now. Can we come back tomorrow and listen to the band?”
“Yes please,” said Gregory smiling now himself.
As the summer progressed more neighbourhood kids crowded into the clearing, some even joined the band! Sometimes the bullfrogs were away, and the kids played without them. Gregory was feeling very happy as the summer grew to an end; he had lots of new friends, and he had a wonderful summer.
Gregory was alone in the clearing after dinner when the bullfrogs came in. “Gregory,” croaked Hop. “We need to talk to you.” Gregory put down the triangle he was polishing and looked at the frogs. “Well,” said Hop, “we are moving ponds Gregory, and we have to say goodbye.” Before he could respond the bullfrogs gave a long harmonious croak and hopped off.
Shortly after they hopped out of the clearing some of Gregory’s friends arrived. Gregory explained that the Bullfrogs had moved. The group went quiet for a minute before Brie spoke up and said that they could continue with the band. “But what do we call ourselves?” asked Gregory.
Brie smiled, “Gregory Green, and the Backyard Bullfrogs.” A cheer went up. The next day the group made a large green banner displaying their band name, and that afternoon they played their best songs at the last neighbourhood barbeque of the summer!
By Shari Marshall – 2016