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Home arrow Opinion arrow Jeff Petersen: ON SECOND THOUGHT arrow Beware of the frog


Beware of the frog

By the time you read this the Mild, Mild West might be frozen as stiff as a wood frog.


And “The Nutcracker” might have carpel tunnel — as well as 10 extra pounds of love handles thanks to overconsumption of that holiday lightning rod, fruitcake, which in Australia is sometimes used as a wedding cake.

First, about our friendly frogs. The other morning a frog was curled up on the welcome mat at my spacious 3/4-acre ranch.

The frog had apparently chased away the raccoons that usually hang out there.

The Cove frog was most certainly not a wood frog. My East Coast friends, fascinated by my wildlife encounter, say the wood frog has a special way of hibernating. It lets itself freeze solid under a blanket of leaves on the forest floor. In the spring the wood frog wakes up and checks the antifreeze in its radiator.

About the time the frogs visited, my mom’s Christmas package arrived. Among other things it contained hazelnuts, the official nut of Oregon.

Since my mom is a Depression baby, and remembers it being not that Great, she sent me the nuts uncracked.

Growing up, I often had to crack nuts. In the last 30 years, however, the world has become a softer, gentler place.

The Nutcracker, and we’re not talking about the ballet, went right to work on the hazelnuts. The stars of YouTube — monkeys  and crows — can crack nuts. Why not me?

Using pliers, The Nutcracker cracked the first of the hazelnuts, which exploded all over the kitchen.

Then The Nutcracker got bright. He went online to eHow and learned to hammer the hazelnuts in a plastic bag, effectively containing the mayhem.

Mom also sent the traditional fruitcake she makes each December.

Fruitcake is one of the most maligned desserts ever. Its main use seems to be as a punchline in jokes.

Suggested uses for fruitcake include doorstop, or as a “stone” to throw in the Scottish Highland Games.

One wit even suggested using fruitcake as a boat anchor.

While in America fruitcake has fallen into ill repute, Australians, a Facebook friend who lives there wrote, love the holiday treat — and even sometimes use it as a centerpiece of other occasions.

“You can’t imagine my shock when my mother-in-law suggested we use it for our wedding cake,” this friend commented.

The Wonder Woman put her foot down. When we tie the knot on 9-10-11, she says we will absolutely not have fruitcake as our wedding cake.

If she makes me hazelnut bread, and a Beware of the Frog sign to place at the end of my driveway, who am I to argue?

Reach the author at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it


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