Peepers and Peeps

‘Twas the 1st of April, but no foolin’, we heard our first peepers. Now we’re coming up on Easter and several more have awoken. That, of course, means that if it ever warms up this month, we’ll be hearing a chorus so loud we’ll have to raise our voices each evening in order to communicate. I said “if it ever warms up” with a smidge of sarcasm; but not really, but maybe yes, I just don’t know, but this seems to be as good a place as any to inject an run-on sentence and whine about the cold nights and HOLY COW it’s supposed to be in the 30s tonight which means any peepers that may have awoken will go back to bed but it’s also supposed to be near 60 tomorrow and then the rains are gonna come and oh boy howdy the peepers will really start singing then!

For those who are unaware, peepers are frogs; and are a welcome sign of spring here in Beautiful West Michigan. Of course, they usher in springtime elsewhere too. But I don’t live elsewhere, I live here, so I’m always a little giddy when the peepers sing. If you’ve never heard peepers, well that’s just too bad. But because I love them so, I hereby include a recorded them for you so you can enjoy their songs. Now the sounds in this recording are from two different species:  peepers and toads (the peepers are the ones shouting, “PEEP!!”).  Just turn on your speakers, click on the little triangle thingy, close your eyes and open your ears. Why close your eyes? Well that’s because the peepers sing at night, and to be honest I’ve never seen them except on TV!! OK, here we go…

And now for something completely different: Peeps. You know, those marshmallow candy chickens that appear in the stores during Easter time. When I was a kid, peeps only were yellow and chicken shaped. The name and the shape went well together; because hey, they kinda looked like little baby chickens. And little baby chickens say “peep” a lot. I’ve never eaten a real baby chicken, but I suer have had my share of Peeps. Now I would never intentionally harm a baby chicken. But regarding Peeps, well just never you mind all the naughty things that went through my mind when the Peeps arrived in my Easter basket.

I admit it, I have squished their little heads. I place my forefinger on one eye and my thumb on the other, and press them together until the Peep’s head looks like one of those cartoon characters that had a very bad accident. I have also decapitated them with great delight. Usually their heads are removed with my teeth. In fact, I don’t think I can ever remember eating them any other way. I’ve never forced them to joust though. Seems like a waste of Peeps if you ask me.

Joust?? Yes, I’m not sure I’m happy to know about it; but a friend once told me about “Peep jousting.” Of course, I just had to ask what the heck-a-ma-hookey that was all about. “Well you get two Peeps and place a toothpick in each one. That’s their lance, you see. Then you put them on a plate and pop them in the microwave; hit the juice and watch them stab each other as they expand. Really cool in a microwave with a rotating plate inside.” Ummm no. Rather boring really. Yes, I tried it, with family watching.

We were not impressed.

Back the peepers… there’s a song about them that has been a jazz standard for many years. It originated back in 1938, and below is a clip with Louis Armstrong playing his horn and singing it in “Going Places,” the movie for which the song was written. When I grew up during the Mesozoic Era, this song was still being played somewhat regularly and was often featured on an extinct brand of TV program called the “variety show.” The second video is a 1958 recording of Louis Armstrong swingin’ it on “The Gary Moore Show.”