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A Tale of Two Toads

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

You may recall my sojourn into a Savannah antique mall in January, where I found these two charming antique ceramic toads.
I like ceramic animals that look like the animal in question. Not so crazy about the cartoony ones. Something like this, it's fine, whimsical, but it doesn't spin my globe.

 The Savannah toads, on the other hand, really had Essence of Toad about them. And so what if the big one had been broken in half and glued, and if both of them were missing toes here and there. I didn't care. They won my heart. You don't have to be in mint condition to win my heart.

I don't buy much stuff any more. There was a time when I haunted places like this and bought all kinds of funky things. Those times are gone. I don't need more stuff. But something in me needed these toads, as a souvenir of a magical trip to the South.

So I bought them and stuffed them, wrapped in paper, in my photobag for the flights home.
Transportation Safety Authority, which in the last couple of years has become my personal nemesis, saw fit to unzip my gate-checked photobag somewhere in between my relinquishing it at planeside and claiming it on landing. Of course, they failed to zip it back up. Just like they failed to zip up the secret compartment on the bottom of my backpack, letting a hand-made fabulous much beloved Michael Coleman pennywhistle slip out, forever gone.

When I got to it, the big toad was falling half out of the photobag, and the little toad was gone like the wind. I was deeply bummed. Not because it was valuable, but because I loved the pair of them and had visions of them squatting under my bonsai trees come April.
I mulled over that missing toad for a week or two.

Then went on a Google image search for "ceramic toad."  Daggone it, I wanted a second toad.

I found this on, offered by a shop called The Pantages, with the following description:

 Beautiful green glazed ceramic toad or frog. Has some great patina and few chips as pictured. This is a piece that I imagine finding at my grandmas house.

Oh, yes. You, with the clunky toes and the fresh chip on your upper lip. I want you. I don't know how big you are. You look very small.

You and your warty back and well-observed hind legs will do nicely to fill the toad-hole in my heart. It haunts me to think that these photos were taken before you were mine. Ah well.

Only problem: he was a whopping (for me) $28.00. Eeek. I'd paid something like $8 for the pair of my original Savannah toads. This one was in undeniably better condition, but still... So I came back and visited him on Etsy a few times over the space of a week, and finally decided I couldn't live without him. You like something well enough to stalk it, you oughta just buy the dang thing. I learned that about the oak and slag-glass Hoosier cabinet I visited for six months. Told myself the last time I went to see it that if it wasn't gone I'd buy it on the spot. Now it houses our optics and chargers and batteries in the foyer, and I'm so glad I bought it.

There came the day that Toad arrived in the mail, in a box big enough to house a guinea pig. What the heck?? A sticker on the box announced that it was "packed full of awesome." No kidding!

Opened it and laughed out loud as I lifted the massive toad from his deep cushy wrappings. He was enormous, every bit a thirty-dolla toad, big as any Bufo marinus (cane toad)  I've seen plopping about cement sidewalks in the Neotropics. A real lunker. I wasn't expecting THAT.

I sent an enthusiastic email to the seller, Chris from Pantages. We'd been corresponding. We were both delighted to come to know each other; he checked out my blog, and will be visiting Savannah with his wife soon. May the circle be unbroken.

First thing I did was take a little watercolor to the chip on his lip, making it less noticeable.

Big Toad dwarfs the bigger toad of the Savannah pair. He's huge, more than a handful.

Now Toad watches over my orchid collection in the bedroom, and I smile every time I see him.

Sometimes you just have to go hunt down the thing that you want, listen to that little voice. I don't know why I needed Toad. I just did.


Perhaps, in the infinite wisdom of the Universe, there was some reason for your and Chris' paths to intersect. In any case, I congratulate you on your new toad. And I scowl in the general direction of airline security. If you have to rummage through people's belongings, make sure that they still HAVE their belongings intact when the flight is over. Zipping up bags would be a start.

As my mother has often said, "A little bit of what you fancy does you good." I guess even when it turns out to be a bit more than a little bit.

They look great!

I get it. I saw Frog bookends on Ebay and HAD TO HAVE THEM. They are wonderful. They are toads from the Wind In The Willows books!

Posted by JeannieW March 12, 2013 at 9:52 AM

In my family, toads are our personal totem - my father was called Toad rather than dad, and our mother was called Mother Toad, then M Toad, then Emily. I salute your fine and wonderful toads! Good Toad-quest, without a doubt.

Miss Weezie in TX

Posted by Anonymous March 12, 2013 at 1:37 PM

I always carry some of the USPS flat rate shipping boxes with me when I travel so I can ship what I buy back. You can always find a post office and they are far more friendly and offer far better service than TSA. Plus the Post Master General takes no poop if some thing is lost or stolen.


Um, I think, and this I learned from your great stuff on your wicked hummingbird-eating bullfrog of days gone by, that your littlest toad may have "gone missing" on account of its larger counterpart, who now looks well uneasy about being on receiving end of same from thirty-dolla fella. When will you learn?


Posted by Anonymous March 13, 2013 at 4:54 PM

Love them! I've kept a little brown ceramic toad I got in the '70s and he makes me smile.

Posted by Cindy Biles March 15, 2013 at 5:44 AM
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