Froggy lifestyle brings smiles

Published 12:51 pm Saturday, July 18, 2009

Molly Clark, self–professed “Queen of Tacky,” caught my attention when I noticed she was wearing a series of colored paper clips as earrings.

“During my stint working in the Samford library, a friend observed, ‘Molly, you do tacky so well!’” said Clark.

In fact, Clark has really elevated the usually derogatory term to include a delightful and exuberant expression that includes retaining a childlike appreciation of her world.

“Most people can access their inner child, but I let mine run rampant,” Clark says.

This is reflected in her home and yard, where every object has a story — especially the numerous frogs that cohabitate with Molly, husband, ‘Coke’, and dogs Chelsea and Nutmeg. Meg is designated ‘Queen Mother’ dog, being 105 dog years old.

Clark’s large collection of frogs began with Mexican pottery, ‘Mama Toad’, a gift from her college roommate jokingly commemorating a boy named Toad that Molly dated while in nursing school at Emory University.

Her second frog, ‘Papa Toad’ — made from fabric — long ago met his demise. Friends have now gifted her with innumerable frogs.

One of her favorites is Storyteller Frog, made by Joseph and Caroline Gachupin of Jemez, Mexico, two well-known storyteller clay artisans.

There is a King and Queen with their Royal Frog Court; Golem, a hand-made frog from the Kentuck Arts Festival; Ben, a waving frog purchased at the Hong Kong airport and named after their tour guide; and a cowboy frog christened Stubby Pringle, after the children’s book character.

The Clarks use salt and pepper sets appropriately named ‘Croak and Molly’ that nestle together with their froggy arms around each other. In their home office hangs an old-fashioned printer type tray displaying some 81 of the smallest members of the collection.

Clark has frogs made from jade, from onyx, from Brazilian soapstone; a batik frog from Thailand and a frog her son fashioned out of a green Andes Mint wrapper.

In her younger years Clark worked as a camp counselor and part-time music teacher; today she volunteers at Shelby Ridge Nursing home, continuing the service of her calling.

After raising their two sons, Clark, at age 51, enrolled in seminary school at UAB and served as staff chaplain there from 1996–2007. She enjoys, with 3–year–old granddaughter, Sarah, their magical backyard where hummingbirds and lizards dart about, sunflowers grandly beam their sunny faces and fairies may live in the hedges.

Columnist Laura Brookhart can be reached by e–mail at