Joel was a pleasant, gentle man, trim and slightly uptight. He was an unmarried marriage and family counselor This is an oxymoronic title akin to a Catholic priest giving sexual advice to his flock. He invited my wife and I to a pool party at his parents almost completed new house. They had sold their prosperous chain of food stores in eastern Canada, and were retiring, like many other of their fellow Canucks to thaw out in the more hospitable weather and environs of San Diego.
At the party, Joel introduced me to his father, a short, balding, bulldog force of energy. Instantly, I sensed his strong directive manner that likely was the key to his successful business career. Joel seemed to melt under the power of his dad’s personality. He wisely chose not to follow in his father’s footsteps. He would have been ground to a pulp, packaged, and sold in the meat case as a “Joel burger.”
“Let me show you around,” Joel’s sire commanded. The pool was a large rectangle, having escaped the era of the kidney-shaped plunge. However, this was no ordinary layout. One end of the pool narrowed to the width of a stream and continued on into the house itself. It meandered under the foundation, looped through the master bedroom, and continued its passage back under the foundation, closing the loop back into the main pool area outside.
“What’s the purpose of the pool passing through the house, particularly in this narrow configuration?” I asked.“Well, I love bullfrogs,” he replied. “I own several of them. I love to wake up in the morning to the sound of their croaking.” “Come here,” he commanded, “I want to show you my favorite.” He pointed proudly to the only picture hanging on the wall. It was a large expensively carved gold frame, matted and displaying a full sized color photo of a bullfrog. “This,” he said lovingly, "is Handsome Prince, I’ve never had a frog I’ve enjoyed more than him. He’s in Canada until his new home is finished. I don’t want him to be bothered by the dust and noise. I miss him terribly, He’s being air freighted here in a few days.”
Don’t ask me about frogs living in chlorinated pool water swimming alongside human beings. I don’t remember how he solved that problem.
My old Uncle Dave used to say, “Every man has his own way of masturbating, some men like to fish, some play cards, some bet on horses."- And this one has a frog named “Handsome Prince.”