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Warrior Memories: An old friend and old story about frogs

A short time ago I lost one of my most favorite Warrior teammates, Larry Holcomb.

Larry and I graduated together with the class of 1951. We played football and ran track together all the way through school. Larry passed away recently from pancreatic cancer.

During our senior year, Paul Conner, a World War II marine veteran whom Larry was living with, was called back into active duty during the Korean War. When that happened, Larry came to live with my family. We were like brothers and did everything together.

Even though I had lived here  a long time, I did not know that Dead Lake had lots of jumbo bullfrogs. This was before the mill was built there. One day, when we were looking for something to do, Larry suggested going to Dead Lake and catching bullfrogs. Since he was so sure that there were lots of frogs there and I knew my mom liked frog legs, I said let’s go.

When we lived in Lakeport we used to catch bullfrogs all the time. With Larry’s directions we took a long pole, hung a line on it and with a trible hook on the end, put a piece of red felt on the hook and off we went.

When we got to the lake Larry showed us an old row boat that we could use to row among the lillypads.When we got out there, to my surprise there were lots of frogs. We  dangled the hook with the red felt in front of the frogs, they would grab it and into our grainsack they would go. When we had enough for a good meal for the family, home we went.

We put the sack full of frogs in the kitchen sink, fully intending to come back in a short time and clean them for dinner. As teenagers we sometimes got sidetracked doing something else, as we did here, and didn’t get  back to take care of our catch as soon as we should have.

In the meantime, Mom came home from working at Pykes Variety Store, went to the sink to get a glass of water, turned on the tap and bullfrogs jumped everywhere. We heard a loud shriek and ran into the house to see what was wrong and quickly found out: frogs everywhere! We collected our catch, took them and prepared them. While Mom did cook them for dinner, she made it very clear that she never wanted to come home home to bullfrogs jumping all over her kitchen. Mom had a great sense of humor, and until her dying days she would tell the bullfrog story.

Larry and I learned never to bring frogs home and put them in her sink again.

Larry will be missed by his family and well as myself, but I know he is with Mom laughing about bullfrogs.

Dick Trone writes on his reflections and the history of Del Norte High Warrior sports. Trone, who played football for the Warriors and graduated in 1951, had an illustrious career on the gridiron at Humboldt State University. Trone was football head coach at Del Norte High for a number of years before retiring.

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