Saturday morning marked the resurrection of a previously recurring event that Stick Chick had not thought about for a long while. Maybe the Flying Frog makes it less forgettable. To fully grasp its unusual nature, you must recall a time fifteen years ago.
The cell phone in its infancy had just emerged beyond a military-style, corded contraption housed in a suitcase or as a limousine amenity; replaced by a black hand-held clunker with a telescoping antenna. Kids: this was before flip phones, before smart phones.
Most businesses and government entities had a fax machine. Individual pay phones stood crammed onto precious real estate of convenience stores, gas stations or city street corners. For a while, many people had a land-line and a cell. Doctors, attorneys and others who required immediate accessibility often had a pager too. An explosion of need for available phone numbers evolved.
If you moved from one area to another and needed a new land line, you had to give up your old number and replace it with a new local one. Usually for a year or so afterward, the phone company provided a recording on the old number citing the new one. But the ever-increasing need for local numbers forced carriers to reduce the time allowed before they snatched up old numbers. Consequently, your old number would be given to a new taker in short order.
About that time, Stick Chick and Loverboy moved to a new burg, complete with a new phone number.
Soon after, one Sunday morning while Stick Chick prepared pancakes for breakfast, the phone rang.
With half-stirred batter dripping off the wooden spoon, and a thought “Who would be calling at this hour on a Sunday?”, Stick Chick answered.
“Is this the Flying Frog?” asked the caller.
Giggling, she answered, “No, you must have the wrong number.”
Click. Dial tone.
Muttering, she hung up and continued making breakfast.
Frequently on Sunday mornings, the phone rang. Each time, the caller asked for The Flying Frog. Sometimes it was a female voice, other times male. Some callers insisted they had the right number, others asked whether Stick Chick might know whether they moved or even if she was the former proprietor.
Most times, in her pre-first cup of coffee stupor, she had not the wherewithal to ask questions of them.
Finally, one morning, one came from a friendly caller.
Stick Chick answered, “Hello.”
“Is this the Flying Frog?”
This time SC answered, “No, you have the wrong number.”
The caller repeated the phone number which she thought she had dialed.
Stick Chick confirmed the number but explained it now belonged to Stick Chick and Loverboy, “But can I ask you what is the Flying Frog, and where are you calling from?”
“It’s an antique shoppe. I’m in California,” she answered.
After two years, the frequency of the calls decreased, until finally, they stopped altogether.
That is until yesterday.
Stick Chick showered when the phone rang, so the answering machine picked up the call.
Later, she played it back.
“Hello. I’m calling for The Flying Frog Antiques and Collectibles. My number is…”
Today she recorded a new outgoing message for future Sunday mornings:
“Hello, you have not reached the Flying Frog. However, we have been told to take a flying leap from time to time, and if that’s close enough for you, then leave a message.”
The Flying Frog lives on.