Skinny Little Frog by Myrl Thompson

Skinny Little Frog refuses to eat flies because he is sure he won’t like them. And he has an even bigger problem than that to solve. Will he hide under his lily pad, or will he find courage in his little heart to try?

The Skinny Little Frog

By Myrl Thompson

Climbing Memory Mountain: From Down on the Farm and Back Again

It was haying time and the horses were pulling the empty hay wagon up the driveway and back out into the field.  As we passed the house, I jumped off and ran up the back steps, through the rickety screen door, and into the old country kitchen. The kitchen was full of warm cinnamon smells.  Gramma was there.  The fresh, warm donuts were there too, waiting for me in a grease-spotted, brown paper bag on the cupboard next the wood burning kitchen range. 

Climbing Memory Mountain: From Down on the Farm and Back Again

I thanked gramma, picked up the bag of donuts, and ran through the house and out the front door, just in time to meet the wagon as it passed the front porch. 

Uncle Don was driving the horses and leaned over the edge of the wagon to reach aromatic, still-warm bag of homemade snacks.  I handed them up and scrambled back onto the wagon. 

“Nice job, boy”, Uncle Don said as he held up the donut bag and looked over at me with a nod and a big smile. 

Grandpa was there too.  “Now vats you got der?” he asked me in his thickly accented German voice, a voice that sometimes seemed impatient when he was talking to me. 

“Donuts!”, I responded with a smile.  He nodded as I passed the bag back to him. 

“The Farm” or “The Homeplace”

These were my heroes.  My gramma, my Uncle Don, and grouchy old Grampa.  I worked hard to deserve the time they spent with me… to earn their respect by working as hard as I could to keep up with them. 

This is the setting and inspiration for all of my books.  My writings are rooted and grounded in this sacred place known to generations of family members only as “The Farm” or “The Homeplace”.  I lived there with my German grandparents as well as my aunts and uncles every summer of my childhood life.  Situated at the end of a ¼ mile driveway, along a babbling creek in the hills of Western Michigan, this place was an endless source of joy, wonder and fascination for me and later for my children.  

During the winter months, I lived with my mom and dad “in town” (the outskirts of Lansing), south of The Farm about a 2 hours’ drive.   My parents purchased a small shack of a house in a swamp North of town, which my dad and I renovated a piece at a time as meager funds allowed.

Many of my blog posts come from my memories of time spent with my parents in Lansing, as well as from my memories of Farm life.  Coming at the end of the Great Depression and the beginning of World War II, those years were definitely  lean and challenging, sometimes downright mean.

I went on to purchase The Farm from my grandparents, the third generation to own the land, in 1963.  Only an 18 year old kid, I bought it from my Uncle Herbert for $4,000.00, $200 down and $50 a month until it was paid off.  I raised my own children there in the summers, introducing them to all the goodness I myself had known there.  In 2019, we had to let it go, a heartache that still stings even today.

My first few blogs are going to be about some of the lessons I have learned during my parenting years; about what works and what doesn’t, from my own experience.  Later on, I might get into some reminiscences from my many years of farm life and try to paint a picture for you of the setting for my books. 

Through tests and trials, joy and tears,  I have learned life lessons that have been precious to me through the years.  Now, nearing the end of my mortal journey, I hope you’ll enjoy these thoughts and memories as much as I do, and maybe even get something out of the lessons I learned so long ago; down on the farm and back again. 

Gramma and Grampa Busch, 1952

Gramma and Grampa Busch, 1952

That’s the way it was.  Some things were true by definition.  But I was still pleased with myself that I had gone the extra mile.  It was good that he could do more than just HOPE I loved him because I was his son. 

He passed away from lung and brain cancer 15 years later, at the age of 47. 

So I guess I’ll leave you, my readers with this simple advice;  if there is someone in your life that needs to hear you say “I love you”, please, please tell them, no matter how big of a risk it seems to be.  Before it’s too late.  To this day, I’m glad I did. 

When it comes to building stronger, more mentally and emotionally resilient children, no one can do that better than their parents.  When a child is mentally healthy, he or she is more likely to hit important developmental milestones,  build healthier social skills, and even perform better at school.  With my own children, I always tried to be there with and for them and build relationships where we could talk about anything, any time. 

If you are new to the idea of talking to your child, I really like this “Conversation Starter” resource packet.  It’s free from and you can download it here.  

What do YOU think?  What is your best memory of talking to an adult you looked up to as a child?  Who, if anyone, in your past do you wish you had been able to spend more time with?  What would you say or do with them now if you had even half a chance? 


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