“These messy leaves have covered everything,” said Toad. He took a rake out of the closet. “I will run over to Frog’s house. I will rake all of his leaves.” (from The Surprise, Frog and Toad All Year by Arnold Lobel)
Today the first few leaves of fall brought this delightful story to mind. I love this early introduction to both friendship and irony. In The Surprise Frog and Toad each wake up to find leaves everywhere. They each decide to surprise the other by raking his leaves for him. They sneak to one another’s homes, rake all of the leaves, and sneak home. Then the nasty old wind interferes, but I’ll let you read it for yourself sometime.
The reason I love it is that it reminds me of friends who have seen a mess in my life and just taken out a rake. Frog and Toad are some of my favorite friends in literature. I love that they don’t go to the other animals and talk about what a mess their friend’s yard is. They don’t sit around worrying over the mess. They don’t scold. They don’t even put their own needs first. They just go to the closet and take out a rake. True friends will help clean up each other’s messes.
Also, I always say it’s a mark of the strength of my friendship with someone if I will invite them into my home while it’s in its messiest state. I know that a real friend won’t judge me if she trips over toys or sees the pile of unfolded laundry on my bed. A really, really, really good friend might even help me fold it while we chat. Do you have friends like that? I do.