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At Play in the Fields of Frei

The Frogs and the Bees enjoyed a Fall romp in the bucolic Rhode Island countryside two Sundays ago, as the guest of one of our most beloved RC Professors. Frances Frei is already a legend, her place in 2002 lore assured on the first day of TOM, when she famously got in the face of a slouching Bee, but she outdid herself once again.
The trip began with a challenge issued to Sections B and F by Professor Frei back in the old days (RC Term 1). Each Section was to devise a plan for wiring her new summer house, with a party at the house for the winner?s Section offered as the reward. The Frogs easily won the challenge, due to the genius of Todd Feinman, but Professor Frei graciously invited the Bees along anyway.

The two Sections piled into a pair of yellow schoolbuses and a convoy of cars and trucks for the trip down, on the second Head of the Charles afternoon. While some US-schooled students could barely contain their glee at being back in a big, yellow bus, it was a rocky and frightening experience for some of the foreigners. The merciless taunting they received for not knowing how to open the windows did not help.
We were welcomed to the picturesque shoreline community by a mouth-watering barbecue spread laid on by Redbones. The house itself sat on the edge of a farm, a few hundred yards from the water. A tour through the beautifully-restored home was marred when someone got stuck in one of the bathrooms. The Redbones tent was set up outside, next to a barn. We sat on bales of straw and soaked in the beauty of the place over plates of chicken and ribs. Not a great day to be a vegetarian, but the cornbread probably made up for it.

It was all beginning to seem a little too easy when Professor Frei?s deputies began to round up a pumpkin picking party. No one was allowed to opt out. Both Sections, and their partners, were frog-marched to a field about 3/4 of a mile away, where dozens of ripe pumpkins lay in an open field. A carnival-like atmosphere prevailed as people dodged good-natured jibes about the size of the pumpkins they chose. We made our way back to the house and began a mass-carving.

A short time later it was time for our work to be judged. While the panel was not too amused by the Brazilian G-string wearing pumpkin (use your imagination), everybody loved the malevolent “pumpkin-eating” cannibal, which took “Scariest Pumpkin” honors. The overall winner, the Snowman, was so popular it had to be defended from Professor Frei?s dog, which took a few button-shaped muffins as souvenirs.

The trip home was pleasant and uneventful. In the buses, students fought to hold down their barbecue, mindful of the $200 per incident “hurl fee.” In true TOM fashion, we arrived back at Spangler at 7, exactly as promised, happy in the knowledge that, one year on, no matter what else has changed, Frances still kicks ass.

November 5, 2001
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