Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Fireflies

by Cassondra Murray


Steve and I went to Sonic tonight. Yes, we were desperate for quick, easy food. It's been a hard, fast, three-weeks-of-hell beginning to the summer (you'll hear more about that in later blogs from me almost certainly).


I don't have to work tomorrow for the first time in about 15 days straight, AND I'm sort of back online after a computer meltdown. Slow connection, but it's there. So the last thing I was gonna do tonight was cook. Okay, so there are stacks of boxes and books and the leftovers of a major garage cleanout piled in my kitchen and dining room, but the fact that I can't get to my cookware may or may not be a factor in the Sonic decision.

For you unfortunate souls who don't have Sonic near you, it's a double-sided drive-in with a big patio in the center. You can order right from your car, or you can get out and sit at the tables on the patio. We'd dug our way, with those stupid flimsy plastic forks, at least three bites into our foot-long chili-cheese dogs when we noticed the little girl at a table in the center.

She was probably seven or eight years old, and had on a purple outfit with a big glittery butterfly on the shirt, and long blonde hair. She was with her dad. He was eating a hot dog (not foot-long) and she was eating something that looked like popcorn chicken bites. But she was not eating many. She was too busy chasing fireflies.


There weren't many visible. There's way too much light around a Sonic to see them well. But she was completely entranced, jumping into the air and ducking under bushes trying to capture them. I got so caught up in watching her that I stopped eating less than six inches into my foot-long coney.



What is it about fireflies?



To this day, I think they're magic. Do all the research you want, tell me how and why they do what they do, and it won't dim their magic one bit for me.


I think it's because of the memories. Some of my best memories are of fireflies, or "lightning bugs" as we called them.
About this time of year in Southern Kentucky, the fireflies come out. Oh, nowadays there are a few rebels flickering their lonely little lights in early spring, but right about now...mid-June...that's firefly season here. It's also the time of year when it gets too hot in un-air-conditioned houses to enjoy sitting inside in the evenings. I did not grow up with air conditioning.



When I was little, in late May and early June, as the afternoons grew hot and humid, and the evenings grew warm, my dad would go outside after supper, in search of a cool evening breeze and the sound of the tree frogs and crickets, and since I went everywhere with my dad, I went outside too. He'd set up a lawn chair in the middle of the lawn. One of those cheap aluminum-frame chairs with the nylon webbing that lasted a couple of seasons if you were lucky.



Honestly though, the seating quality didn't matter much. We were there for the view. I grew up on a small farm about eight miles south of nowhere. No artificial light except the faint glow from the kitchen window around the side of the house. Quiet.



When my dad got his chair off the porch and headed for the front yard, I'd run into the kitchen and dig under the sink for my jar.


Mine was a Mason jar with a mayonaise lid. Daddy had taken a nail and hammered a few holes in the top for air flow.


Once I had my jar and he had his chair, we were ready for what, to this day, I consider some of the best evenings of my life.




First we'd sit until the last glow of day had faded in the West and the sky had grown dark. The stars flickered on just for us. If we put the chairs right in the middle of the lawn, we had a great view of the Big Dipper almost straight overhead.


Then came the contest--who could spot the first lightning bug in the tall, uncut fescue hay across the road. As the little bugs crawled up the grass from where they'd spent the day hidden, they'd start to flash, one by one. Just a flicker here, and a flicker there.


"There's one!" My dad would say in a loud whisper, then he'd lean forward and point, adding drama to the hunt. He always saw them first. Inborn talent I guess.

Soon though, there would be hundreds, all around, high and low, blinking and streaking across the yard like tiny shooting stars. My dad would hold my jar and keep the lid on real loose for expedient transfer of fireflies from my little-girl hands to the jar. To us, injuring a firefly was a sin almost as grave as the killing of a unicorn is today, in the world of Harry Potter. I'd chase the bugs and catch them ever-so-gently, then I'd run across the dewy grass and my dad would open the lid just a crack. Into the jar they'd crawl. Soon enough I'd have my own lantern.


This lantern was good, of course, only until the first mosquito bit my dad. Then it was time to go in, and the last ritual of the evening was to let the fireflies go.


Tonight I sat at Sonic and ignored my foot-long hot dog as I watched that little girl, and I realized that some magic is timeless. I'm not the only one enchanted by "lightning bugs." Apparantly it's nearly universal. When I googled pictures of fireflies, I found essays, research, pages and pages of photos of the bugs themselves, and even "faux fireflies in jars" with little electric firefly lights, just for effect I guess. Lots of people seem to want to hold onto a bit of the magic.



Catching a jarfull, just to let them go again is one of those things that goes away with make-believe and childhood I suppose. Sometimes I wonder why, as an adult, it's no longer fun to do simple stuff like that.
Nowadays I sit by my firepit with my very adult glass of cabernet, a long way from that dew-covered yard. I know the Latin names of the trees and plants around me, and I have the stresses and worries of an adult in a fast-paced world.



But I can still watch that same Big Dipper sail overhead, and listen to the frogs on the pond behind my house.


And I still go out there early, just so I can try to spot the first firefly.

So tell me, did you ever catch fireflies as a kid?


If you grew up in the city, were there fireflies there?


If you have kids or grandchildren, do they still like to chase the flickering lights?


Apparantly, in some parts of the world, the fireflies all light up at the same time, synchronized, like this picture on the right. Have you ever seen that happen?


What time of year do the fireflies come out where you live?

Do you pay attention, and watch for the first firefly each season? Or am I the only one who still does that?

121 comments:

Jane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jane said...

Hi Cassondra,
I've seen the commercials, but I've never been to Sonic. There aren't any near us, but I will be visiting family in another state that has Sonic and I've already looked up the address on Map Quest so my cousin can drive me there. What do you recommend I order at Sonic? I didn't catch fireflies as a kid and don't think I've seen them in the city.

Anna Campbell said...

Jane, I can see you've lit a fire under that rooster's tail! Make sure he lets the fireflies go once he's caught them! Congratulations!

Cassondra, what a gorgeous post. I could absolutely picture everything you talked about as if it was on a cinema screen in front of me. I've never seen a firefly. We don't get them in Australia, or not as far as I know. Madame? Hopefully I might see them at the Nashville conference. I can't imagine them fronting up in DC!

I've always found dolphins really magical. When we caught the barge over to play school sports (needless to say, I kept score if I had any duty) on the Moreton Bay island, the dolphins would come and play in the bow wave. And I loved holidays at Stradbroke Island and sitting on the high headlands watching the dolphins surf in on the long waves. Brilliant!

Helen said...

Congrats Jane have fun with him

Cassondra I do love your posts and to my knowledge I have never seen a firefly but I have heard of them they must be really lovely to watch and what wonderful memories.

I actually love the Christmas Beetles that come out around late November and early December (hence the name) and as children we would listen for them hiting the windows and screen doors attached by the light and then catch as many as we could and let them walk over our hands they tickle. When I was a child they were really big up to an inch long but over the years they seem to be getting smaller and there seems to be less of them.

This past Christmas my grandson Jayden and I would go out in the yard and catch them and we had so much fun but yes we always let them go.

Have Fun
Helen

sherrinda said...

Your post brought back so many childhood memories! I grew up away from the busy city and lived next to a 5 acre wooded area (in Texas). The fireflies were abundant and my sisters and I spent many evenings catching and releasing them. What a delight! I have never heard of them lighting up all at once. What I magnificent display that must be!

Christie Kelley said...

Cassondra, cool blog and timely too. I saw my first firefly of the season last night as we came home from Maggie Moos. I pointed it out and my SIL who is visiting said, "Well, it's officially summer."

I felt the same way. My boys are past the firefly catching age but my youngest still likes watching them.

Deb Marlowe said...

Hi Cassondra!

We have Sonic here too. My youngest kidlet loves their foot longs and their icy flavored drinks.

We live in firefly central! I love them--one of the best things about summer, even if they do stink up your hands a little when you catch them! We still all love to sit out and catch them, and we have the same phobias about harming them. There is some lore that the rate of their blinking is related to the temperature, isn't there?

Anna Sugden said...

Lovely post, Cassondra. I adore fireflies - there is something special about them that makes you believe in magic. In NJ they came out around late June and were gone by the end of July. Never caught them, because I always thought it would spoil the magic. Totally confused our cats though!

We don't get them in England at all - and I miss them.

Fo - I love dolphins too. I was amazed to see them off-shore in Cape May, NJ. One of my ambitions was to swim with dolphins and I got to do that in the Bahamas - awesome!

Beth said...

Cassondra, I've never been to a Sonic but I get a kick out of their commercials. And I'm guessing we'd love their food *g*

We do have fireflies although they don't usually arrive here until late June or so. I spent many a childhood evening catching them and then letting them go. When they weren't lit up, they looked just like a normal flying insect and sort of lost their magic to me.

My kids chased fireflies a few times but not often. But they've caught more than their fair share of tadpoles and peepers (tiny frogs) :-)

Gillian Layne said...

Oh Cassandra, I love this post! First of all, I'm so sorry you're having a rotten beginning to summer. But hanging out at Sonic is very much a summer ritual here, too.

Jane--the foot-long chili dogs, hold the onions, are dreamy. And cheese covered tator tots. And a Route 44 (extra large) cherry limeade. Or a cherry slush. And their new popcorn chicken is good. Yup, we spend WAY too much at Sonic.

We get our fireflies at the beginning of July, and it's wonderful. My girls and I chase after them many evenings. It's a catch and release thing. The real magic is when we're at my mom and dads and you see them light up an entire field.

Anna, I was so sad you've never seen them, but I think your dolphin magic is pretty amazing. :)

Barbara Monajem said...

Lovely! I watched a few fireflies drift past last night (I'm in Georgia), but stand outside our place even two minutes and the mosquitoes start partying (which is why I do all my stargazing in winter). When my kids were young and they were all out catching lightning bugs, one girl put them in her pocket to take home... Gulp.

Susan Sey said...

I had the pleasure of watching my kids discover fireflies last summer at their Auntie Cheryl's house. We were visiting her in Chicago & she has the cutest, teeniest city back yard. As fate would have it, the yard was chock-full of fireflies every night we were there & my girls--barefoot & in their nighties--spent the most adorable half hour after baths & before bed chasing those things all over the soft green lawn.

You're right, btw. It's magic, pure & simple. You don't believe me? Cut a toddler & her big sister loose on a bunch of dancing, flickering bugs at dusk & see what your heart tells you.

Susan Sey said...

Would it be sacriledge to say I've never been to a Sonic?

My dad thinks it's the cat's pajamas, though, if that counts for anything. There's one by his shop, so he goes all the time. I know this because every time you jam on the brakes in his truck a bunch of Sonic cups roll out from under the seat. :-)

But his shop is, like, an hour from the house (I know, some kinda commute every day) so we didn't get Sonic. I'll have to check it out next time I'm home.

Joan said...

Cassondra....we can always count on you for soul stirring, heart warming wonderful posts.

Oh yeah to the lightening bugs. Not fireflies...not here in KY.

I'm amazed that you had your bugs trained to crawl into the jar! WE had to chase them around and catch them with our hands. Then ever so lovingly cupped, we'd take and deposit them in our little jars.

To this day, I will go to great lengths to shoo one out of my house. (the same with ladybugs).

And Anna C.? I'm pretty sure those HUMONGO lizards that live down under with ya'll ATE the poor dears!

Joanie who is in awe of the exoticness of being able to count DOLPHINS!

Joan said...

Oh, and as to Sonic....only been a couple of times. Not super impressed but do love their commercials!

penney said...

How neat! I wish we had those here in California! I've never seen any. I look for the Monarch butterfly's here every year I love them,
Penney

flchen1 said...

Aww... I've never chased a firefly, although I've read about doing that ;) Sadly we don't live near any in the city. Thanks for giving us a taste of the firefly life!

Janga said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janga said...

Terrific blog, Cassondra! It brought back wonderful memories.

I wrote a poem years ago about childhood summers similar to yours.

Times ago
racing with feet bare
and thickly red from Georgia clay,
we chased lightning bugs.
Some children called them fireflies,
a prettier name—
too pretty
for the smell on our hands
after we caught them.
We put them in old Mason jars
and laughed to see the light
dance through their clear glass prison.
Mother made us set them free
and hurried us inside to soapy
baths and long prayers to a nearby God.
Lying on sheets that smelled
of summer morning,
we whispered secrets.
Later we would sneak
across the room to lean
on the window sill;
with noses pressed against the screen,
we counted stars.


One of our favorite family stories also concerns lightning bugs. One summer evening my youngest nephew, who was about four at the time, rushed into the kitchen where his grandmother, his mother, and I were cleaning up after a family dinner. “Come quick, come quick!” he said. “It’s Christmas in the magnolia tree.” What he saw was a host of lightning bugs moving in and out of the branches. That was more than twenty years ago, but I can still see the wonder in his eyes.

terrio said...

I never saw a Sonic until I moved south back in the early 90s. They have the best dang onion rings.

This blog had me choking up. I spent so many nights in the front yard, staring up at the big & little dippers and chasing lightning bugs. My jar was an old mayonaise one, with the holes in the lid, of course.

That was in the subburbs of the Ohio Valley and now we live in the city. I can't remember the last time I saw a lightning bug. Maybe kiddo and I will wonder out after dark and see if we can find some.

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

I saw fireflies in Michael's yard the night I got back from BEA. That's my favorite thing about North Carolina, I think - I always go into raptures when I see fireflies.

Never had that in California, and they really are magical.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Wow, Janga, what a great poem! And I adore that line about christmas in the magnolia tree. Oh! What a lovely image.

Jane, congrats on that GR Catch. Have fun with the rascal today!

Cassondra, you are such and evocative writer. Like Christie, I saw my first lighting bug last night. I was closing the front door for the night, turning off the porch light and caught the flicker.

I stood, holding my breath, waiting to see if it really was a lightning bug. Sure enough, there he was, flickering solo in the cherry tree. Before too long, I saw another, but not too many yet.

And, like someone else said, I thought, "Yep, it's officially summer."

I remember doing exactly what you described. Going out after dinner to catch fireflies, ease them into our jars, and go for more. We always put grass and sticks in the jars too, so they'd have something to crawl and climb on. (besides one another!) My folks would sit on the screened in porch and watch us, and mind the jars.

The evening ritual was the joint "release point" where we all let ours go before going in to bed.

I can still smell the cut grass, the magnolia blossoms just opening to bloom, the daylillies closing up for the night, and lightning bugs.

My boys love them. They also think its funny that their Mama is as excited as they are about the "lighty-uppity-bugs" as Tigger calls them.

Great post. :>

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Oooh, Anna C, and Anna S., Dolphins...ahhhhh. Do love them. Like Joanie, coming from the mountains of NC (way inland) the thought of seeing so many you could count them, is just...magic.

Trust me, you'll see lightning bugs when you're here in DC. City or not, there's LOTS of trees and grassy areas and park, so...lightning bugs. :>

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Oh! Forgot to say that I like Sonic too. The slushies are good, and the hot dogs too. :>

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Terrio, you reminded me, my jar was always a big Dukes or Miracle Whip jar. (Requisite holes in the lid!)

I think Mama would save them up in the winter for just that purpose, because come summer, there was always one for each of us. :>

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Alexandra, I've always thought the NC lightning bugs were the thickest, lighty-uppity-est. :>

Barbara, I saw a lot in Georgia too, when I lived there. Even in Atlanta, in Piedmont Park, there were always lightning bugs.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Penney, are there just tons of the monarch butterflies in California? I know they migrate through there, right? So beautiful. We have those here in DC, as well as tons of swallowtails. I have butterfly bushes - for those not in US, these really are a type of shrub that are wildly attractive to butterflies! - and my neighbor does as well, so butterflies are everywhere 'round here!

Cassondra said...

Hello everyone! The vampire has risen. I may be incoherent at first, as the coffee is still brewing, but once the sacred brew hits my lips, I'll come back to life a bit. No worries.

If I post something that stops abruptly in the middle though, send help. I may have fallen over in mid-post.

jo robertson said...

Super post, Cassondra! I love the nostalgia of remembering those childhood activities.

We certainly DID catch fireflies when I was a child, and we also called the lightning bugs. We don't have as many fireflies here in California, or maybe I've just forgotten the magic of it. But as a child, I caught them in mason jars just as you did. It seems to be a universal childhood activity.

We also looked for four-leaf clovers and my grandchildren are now awed by catching June bugs or lady bugs who are so cooperative about being caught LOL.

Cassondra said...

Jane! Congratulations on the rooster!

I'm so sorry you didn't catch fireflies as a child. Perhaps if we are all together someplace in the summer, we can take you out to the country and let you experience this phenomenon.

I'll bring the jar. I have plenty.

Lessee...what to order at Sonic. Their burgers don't suck, for fast-food burgers. But my favorite thing to order there is the foot-long chili-cheese coney. Now I recognize that you live in New York, and have maybe had chili-cheese coney dogs that are FAR superior to our fast-food versions (they are named after Coney Island after all, right?), but still...Sonic's are okay in a hunger pinch.

I do recommend you sit in the car and eat the first time. It's about as close to the real "drive-in" experience as you'll get--around here anyway. We used to have little neighborhood drive-ins all over the place. In particular we had A&W drive-ins, and they had the BEST food. Drive in food is like no other of course. And Sonic is trying, in its modern way, to replicate that.

The servers who bring the food to your car here even wear roller blades or skates.

So if I have to make a recommendation, it's the foot-long coney. Also get a cherry limeade with extra cherry syrup if you like that sort of thing. Fresh squeezed limes, ginger ale, and cherries. yum.

They have great banana splits and their root beer floats are decent for soft ice cream too.

Dianna Love said...

Ah, the Sonic is so fun, and reminds me of places like Whataburger we had years ago where you pulled up and someone came out to the car window with your order. I grew up in Tampa,Fl where fireflies (or lightning bugs) were prevalent. We loved catching them then turning them loose later.

That's a great memory - thanks for sharing your entertaining dinner.

Cassondra said...

Anna Cambell said:

I've never seen a firefly. We don't get them in Australia, or not as far as I know.

Oh, Anna, I figured you guys had fireflies the size of small aircraft down there! You know what we all hear about the bugs in Australia. (Just kidding.)

I'm sorry you've never seen a firefly. Someday you must take a trip and make one evening free to sit out on the back porch of a cabin on a lake in summer and watch the fireflies come out. It's not one of those grand experiences like seeing the Rocky Mountains or the Grand Canyon the first time, but it has its own powerful magic about it.

And see...I've never seen Dolphins play. I was skimming the posts over the last month and one of the guests said she'd taken a cruise where she got to touch baby whales. I got very excited about that. Whales and dolphins are also magic to me. I just didn't grow up with them. They fascinate me though.

Cassondra said...

Okay the coffee maker is beeping. Be right back.

Virginia said...

Hi Cassondra, we do have a Sonic in town but I usually don't go there for some reason. Is their hot dogs good?

I was raised in the country so yes we caught fireflies and put them in a jar, it was so neat. My son also did when he was small. I haven't seen them this year yet. I have been watching the humming bird though. Its about time for the June bugs to hit. We use to fly them as children. We would tie a piece of thread to their legs and fly them around. I know it was not a good thing to be doing but we where kids.

Cassondra said...

Helen, Christmas Beetles???

I've never heard of these!

They hit the screen door and windows you say?

We have a beetle that comes out in the summer here. It's about time for them too--and they're attracted to the light and have a hard shell and slam into the screen doors and window screens with a PINGINGINGINGING sound and bounce off. I've always hated the ones we have because if they get in they go nuts bouncing around the house, buzzing and banging into things, and if they get caught in your hair(I have long hair) I freak out.

Cassondra freaking out is not pretty.

But I LOVE June bugs, which we used to catch and harness with sewing thread and "fly" around in circles for a while before we let them loose. It sounds cruel, but we didn't hurt them either, honest.

Christmas Beetles. Wow. I will have to do a Google search on these.

Cassondra said...

Sherrinda said:

I have never heard of them lighting up all at once. What I magnificent display that must be!

I've never seen it, but I've heard it happens at only certain spots in the world. I think Trish has seen this, and maybe based her first Golden Heart winning book on it. If she chimes in later, maybe she'll know. I think her experience of it was on a river in the Smoky Mountains, but as I was searching for pictures, I noticed that Google mentioned a few other places where the fireflies are synchronized.

Cassondra said...

Christie said:

My boys are past the firefly catching age but my youngest still likes watching them.


Why do y'all suppose this wears off? I mean, I grew out of playing with Barbies and Matchbox cars and toy trains (though toy trains still fascinate me), but catching fireflies--why this wears off bemuses me a little. I'm not quite certain (I'm sure experts claim to know) why people grow out of "pretend" and "make believe"...and I guess fiction writers DON'T grow out of it in some ways. But fireflies have a kind of magic that's held on for me. And yet still...the desire to catch them and put them in a jar--it lingers--but maybe I just don't have the energy to chase them around the yard.

Hmmm..This is philosophically way too deep for me at this time, having had only a few sips of coffee....

Cassondra said...

Deb Marlowe said:

There is some lore that the rate of their blinking is related to the temperature, isn't there?


You know, I haven't read the folklore. As fascinated as I am by their appearance, I've learned very little about them. All my life growing up, I'd never seen a glowworm. I knew a song about it, but I thought it was some kind of myth. Then one day as an adult I was digging in the garden, and there was one! I know their flashing is designed to attract mates, but beyond that, I haven't a clue. Now I shall have to go and learn all about the biology of fireflies!

We didn't have a lot of folklore surrounding them. I don't know why. I think my dad just taught me to not ever injure them because he appreciated them so much.

Cassondra said...

Anna Sugden said:

We don't get them in England at all - and I miss them.


REALLY? No fireflies in England?

That surprises me!

Now I really WILL have to go searching. I know there are lots of varieties and they are in other parts of the world besides here in the States. For some reason, I just assumed there were fireflies in England. Strange that I didn't notice their absence when I was there.

Cassondra said...

Beth said:

My kids chased fireflies a few times but not often. But they've caught more than their fair share of tadpoles and peepers (tiny frogs) :-)


Oh, Beth I never caught a tadpole--not with my hands anyway. With a bucket certainly. (My dad used to cath them to fish with :0( )To this day I can't see a teensy tiny frog in the garden without going after it. I still like to pick them up and hold them. That's crazy, I know. I don't understand why this adult likes that, but I do.

Cassondra said...

Gillian Layne said:

The real magic is when we're at my mom and dads and you see them light up an entire field.


Gillian, isn't that just awesome? Maybe that's the trick--as a kid I loved catching them and seeing them up close, and that still holds magic for me. But to see them flicker all over a field is even better to me now that I'm older.

And I'm SO glad you concur on the food Jane should get from Sonic. You know, the onions don't come standard here. You have to ask for them extra, and I never do.

Cassondra said...

Barbara said:

I watched a few fireflies drift past last night (I'm in Georgia), but stand outside our place even two minutes and the mosquitoes start partying (which is why I do all my stargazing in winter).

Yeah, this is what ALWAYS ended our firefly fun. Not me really--mosquitos never have driven me crazy the way they do my husband and my dad. But of course, I don't live in Georgia, either. Still, if STeve sits outside with me at all, he has to use repellent.

When my kids were young and they were all out catching lightning bugs, one girl put them in her pocket to take home... Gulp.

LOL! Oh, those poor bugs!

Cassondra said...

Susan Sey said:

You're right, btw. It's magic, pure & simple. You don't believe me? Cut a toddler & her big sister loose on a bunch of dancing, flickering bugs at dusk & see what your heart tells you.


You know, I don't think anything less than magic can fascinate at that level. It's like a faerie dance of some kind. You have to wonder if there aren't other invisible, magical beings out there dancing among the flickering lights, right along with the kids.

Cassondra said...

Susan Sey said:

My dad thinks it's the cat's pajamas, though, if that counts for anything. There's one by his shop, so he goes all the time. I know this because every time you jam on the brakes in his truck a bunch of Sonic cups roll out from under the seat. :-)

SNORK! I have the visual. Oh, so clear. SNORK.

And it's only sacriledge if you haven't been to Dairy Queen. Sonic is just a nice bit of nostalgia, and decent quick junk food when your kitchen is piled with the remains of 20 years worth of accumulted crap.

Just sayin.

Their Cherry Limeades are to die for though. WITH extra cherry syrup.

Cassondra said...

Whoops. Left the a out of accumulated. Time for a coffee refill.

Cassondra said...

Joanie said:

I'm amazed that you had your bugs trained to crawl into the jar! WE had to chase them around and catch them with our hands. Then ever so lovingly cupped, we'd take and deposit them in our little jars.

Well, that's what we did too--but I figured out that if you set the situation up so that the jar opening is above your hand, they'll crawl in. They almost always try to crawl "up"--that's how I got them to crawl into the jar. Gosh. Didn't realize I'd made it sound like they went in the jar all on their own! Nope. I caught them and cupped them just as you did, very carefully so as not to injure one, then my dad would crack the jar lid, hold it kinda sideways above the bug and my hand, and with teamwork, the bug crawled in.

And Anna C.? I'm pretty sure those HUMONGO lizards that live down under with ya'll ATE the poor dears!


Oh, Joanie! I bet that's IT!

Donna MacMeans said...

Cassondra - Fabulous post!

Lightning bugs are most definitely magical. Our nights have been cool so it's early here for that particular delight. Come July, though, and they'll be blinking like little fairies dancing in the bushes.

I grew up in Baltimore, MD near John Hopkins Hospital that actually bought captured fireflies for research purposes. This seemed like sacrilege. We ALWAYS released the magic back into the universe.

Haven't been to a Sonic yet, but those commercials have me craving a milkshake.

Cassondra said...

Joanie said:

Oh, and as to Sonic....only been a couple of times. Not super impressed but do love their commercials!



You know, some Sonics are better than others. It just is.

And I don't mean to be buildin' y'all up to a grand expectation. It's not a Dairy Queen or an A&W or anything, but for a modern-day drive-in, it's not too bad.

Still, our new one here is a really good one. Must be the management. Although I have to say, I don't much like their new ice cream sundae cups.

Cassondra said...

Penney said:

How neat! I wish we had those here in California! I've never seen any. I look for the Monarch butterfly's here every year I love them,


Oh, WOW! That's something I've always wanted to see. We don't get the big infux of monarchs here. We get one colored almost like a monarch, and it may be that we actually get a few. I'm not certain. We get the big yellow and black ones, the smaller black and blue and (a little bit of)yellow ones, and some orange and black. But I don't think we get the true monarchs here. Those documentaries where they arrive by the gazillions--oh, MY. THAT has to be its own kind of magic!

Still, Penney, you need to get yourself to somewhere at some point, to see the lightning bugs.

Cassondra said...

flchen1 said:

Aww... I've never chased a firefly, although I've read about doing that ;) Sadly we don't live near any in the city. Thanks for giving us a taste of the firefly life!



Flchen, you just need to take a bit of a trip--out to the country in firefly season. Everyone should see fireflies at least once in a lifetime.

Nancy said...

Jane, congrats on taking home the rooster!

Cassondra, what a great post. I had one of those jars, and I think it may have been a mayonnaise jar. I grew up in a small NC town, and we used to sit outside on summer evenings and catch fireflies and look at the stars.

The dh built a nice stone patio where we could sit and watch fireflies and birds (too much ambient light for all but the brightest stars), but we don't often do it. Something in our neighborhood has changed, and we have a much worse mosquito problem than we used to.

Unfortunately, the mosquito and firefly seasons seem to coincide, except that the mosquitos endure until 1st frost, and fireflies don't. I miss those firely summers.

Your descriptions were wonderfully vocative.

Cassondra said...

Oh, Janga! I LOVE the poem!

I can feel your childhood in there. I'm so impressed!

“Come quick, come quick!” he said. “It’s Christmas in the magnolia tree.”

It DOES look like that.

You know, I think it's not fair that the Aussies don't have fireflies. They have Christmas in the summer after all! Fireflies would be so fitting.

Nancy said...

BTW, Cassondra--the Sonic ice cream commercials are extremely enticing. Are those sundaes as good as they look?

Cassondra said...

Terrio said:

My jar was an old mayonaise one, with the holes in the lid, of course.


I had those too, some years. The lid would rust, usually, over the winter, and my dad would make a new one each year. And sometimes if my mom was short of jars for canning, all the masons in the house got appropriated, and I got left with a mayonaise or a pickle dog jar. I didn't care. As long as it was clear and made a good lantern.

Terrio, get thee to the country and heal your soul while the magic bugs are flashing.

Cassondra said...

Alexandra said:

I always go into raptures when I see fireflies.

Never had that in California, and they really are magical.


Hi Alexandra! It's amazing isn't it? And I wonder why they aren't in California? Not enough rain maybe?

Cassondra said...

Jeanne said:

The evening ritual was the joint "release point" where we all let ours go before going in to bed.

Oh, MAN! I bet that was beautiful! I was the only kid at that time (my siblings were all older and gone, so I grew up like an only child in many ways). So there was only one jar at our house. Just every now and then my cousins would come over and want to catch a jar of bugs, but I didn't like it when they did, cuz they weren't careful, and now and then they'd squish a bug, or tear a leg off, and that hurt my heart.

I can still smell the cut grass, the magnolia blossoms just opening to bloom, the daylillies closing up for the night, and lightning bugs.

Oh, you're making me dream back. For me it was fresh-cut hay, which, though it may surprise some people to find out, smells very different from fresh cut lawn. There was cut lawn, too, of course. And sometimes a bit of honeysuckle on the air, if the lightning bugs were early or the honeysuckle a bit late. And then there were the smells specific only to me and my family--the smell of tractor grease on my dad's clothes maybe--and probably some sweat where my dad had been in the field all day and hadn't cleaned up for bed yet, mixed with the smell of Ivory soap where he'd washed his hands and arms before dinner.

And the juxtaposition of the heat of the evening against the cold glass of iced tea with the beads of glass-sweat trickling down the sides. The tingle of lemon on your tongue when you took a drink (of COURSE there was lemon in the tea). The glow of the porch light when mom came out now and then, with the moths bouncing off of the bare bulb. Owls screecing in the walnut trees down the hill...

Oh, yeah. Jeanne, you brought back some memories by bringing up those scents of yours.

Cassondra said...

Jo, did you grow up in California? Or did you move there later in life? I'm still wondering why there aren't many fireflies there.

We also looked for four-leaf clovers and my grandchildren are now awed by catching June bugs or lady bugs who are so cooperative about being caught LOL.

Okay, have you had them tie a string to the June bug and "fly" him in circles yet? If not, that's a must-do. But you have to be careful so you don't hurt him. Yes, they are surprisingly cooperative, aren't they!

Cassondra said...

Jeanne said:

I stood, holding my breath, waiting to see if it really was a lightning bug. Sure enough, there he was, flickering solo in the cherry tree. Before too long, I saw another,

This is what happens to me every time! I see the little flash, and think it's a reflection, or some light from somewhere else. There's SO much light around now, even in the country--can't seem to get away from the security lights or the glow in the East from the Soccer Complex MILES down the road (grrrrrrr). So I stop cold when I first see it, and yes, hold my breath, waiting for another flash. I still can't say why it's so comforting to know it's actually real, but that feeling never goes away.

Cassondra said...

Dianna Love said:

I grew up in Tampa,Fl where fireflies (or lightning bugs) were prevalent. We loved catching them then turning them loose later.


So, they're in Florida too! Excellent. I've never met a kid who didn't love lightning bugs.

And yet another Sonic fan! When I was a kid, the old-fashioned drive-in carhops came to the car window to take the order, then brought the order out later. For those who've never been, at Sonic, now, of course they have a button and a speaker so you talk to someone inside, THEN the carhop brings your order. On skates, if you're lucky.

Cassondra said...

Virginia said:

We use to fly them as children. We would tie a piece of thread to their legs and fly them around. I know it was not a good thing to be doing but we where kids.


We did this too, Virginia, but we never ended up hurting the bug. We tied the thread up around the bug's body, so his wings weren't impeded at all. Later, we'd snip the thread with tiny scissors. The hard shell on his body didn't seem to be bothered at all by the thread, and we flew him for a few minutes and then let him go. Very cooperative, those June bugs. I keep waiting for the first one, but it's always late June or early July before we see those around here. Made me wonder why they called them "June" bugs.

And yes, Sonic has pretty good hot dogs! Go for it.

Cassondra said...

Donna said:

I grew up in Baltimore, MD near John Hopkins Hospital that actually bought captured fireflies for research purposes. This seemed like sacrilege. We ALWAYS released the magic back into the universe.


Oh, Donna! That's just AWFUL! I know, I KNOW they probably were doing it for a good cause, but still....I'm so glad you released your bugs and didn't sell them for research!

We've been having cool nights here too--it's just warmed up in teh past two weeks, and they're starting to come out now. Not as many here as where I grew up. There are so many grain farms here and a lot of pesticide use, and my guess is that's the culprit. Flatter land, fewer trees, all that. I'm really grateful for the ones we do have here.

I wouldn't want to move somewhere if there were no lightning bugs there. I just wouldn't.

Cassondra said...

Nancy said:

Unfortunately, the mosquito and firefly seasons seem to coincide, except that the mosquitos endure until 1st frost, and fireflies don't. I miss those firely summers.


Nancy, I have two words for you:

Screened. Porch.

That's what we're going to do if we can ever get our act together. Mosquitos just ARE worse I think, than they used to be. At least they're worse around here than they were where I grew up, further east in Kentucky. Hillier country there, more running water and less standing water I think. In any case, a screened porch is a very good thing, I've decided.

The thing that's bothered me most the past few years is that I've been too BUSY to sit out in the evenings during firefly season. I've caught only glimpses of them. The few nights I do get to sit out by the fire and watch the lightning bugs flicker are really precious to me now.

Cassondra said...

Nancy said:

BTW, Cassondra--the Sonic ice cream commercials are extremely enticing. Are those sundaes as good as they look?

*sigh* I'm sorry and sad to say...no.

At one time, I blamed Sonic for the demise of Dairy Queen in this area. All the DAiry Queens disappeared when the Sonics got thick. And Sonic's ice cream menu would rival DQ's at that time, and the banana splits were damn near as good as DQ's.

But I noticed last night that their ice cream menu is a bit streamlined. They do, however, have things like Butterfinger Blasts and such. But their soft serve (at least at the one here) is no longer as good as Dairy Queen, and the shape of their sundae cups does not allow the correct proportion of strawberry syrup per bite of ice cream. It's in there--but it runs into the bottom of the too-tall sundae cup, and you can't get at the syrup in the bottom, which you need to balance the big poof of ice cream on the top.

Sundae cups were made short and wide for a reason people!

I'm just sayin.

Now, I am a milk shake snob in that I like ONLY DQ shakes unless I have one made by hand from hard ice cream. But Steve loves Sonic's blasts and shakes, so I think it's a matter of personal preference on that.

p226 said...

Oh, we always chased them as kids. Put 'em in mason jars too. And let them go. We had contests to see who could collect the most.

It was just the day before yesterday that my wife said, "Yep, it's summer."

"Why?"

"Fireflies."

Then just yesterday, she and I were out for a run right at sunset. We're jogging along, and I see a lightning fast flick of her hand. "Gotya!"

"Uh" *huff* *puff* "Got what?"

"Firefly!" The expression on her face was that of an eight year old girl. I jogged and watched as she held her hand out, table like while we ran. I watched as the firefly crawled slowly across her open hand as we jogged, finally taking up a scenic perch on her index finger like a passenger on the bow of a cruise liner. When he got to his perch, he stopped, and she curled the rest of her fingers. And there she was, running. Index finger extended. "Everyone's going to to think I'm holding up the number one sign. I'm number one! Yay!"

It's surprising how long a lightning bug will ride as a passenger on an index finger. He just sat there, head turned into the wind, wings occasionally fluttering. I ran. I huffed. I puffed. But the lightning bug had it easy. Lucky stowaway.

Finally, she says "This is getting tiring." So she gives him a gentle judge. He turns sideways for a second. Flutters his wings again. Turns back into the wind, and settles back down. A second nudge likewise failed to disturb him from his scenic perch. Finally, after a third, he flew off.

He was her little buddy for about a half a mile.

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, Helen, I'd forgotten the Christmas beetles. We used to catch them too - they had that beautiful irridescent carapace. I haven't seen one for years. How sad. They used to be everywhere.

Hey, Joan, I think you'd like my lizards. They're full of charm and personality. Button your lip, Miss Christine Wells! As I think is clear, Christine thinks my fondness for the lizards is just strange!

Anna Campbell said...

Actually this last summer, we were invaded by butterflies. I don't remember seeing so many in years. I thought it was purely my old fogey imagination - awww, back in my day, we got butterflies a foot long and there were a thousand on every garden bed - but then I heard a news item saying that something about the wind currents had brought more than usual onto the coast. I love them. They're so beautiful.

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, Janga, what a lovely poem and I adore that story about your nephew. Gave me goosebumps!

Actually, Jeanne, another really magical thing on Stradbroke Island was standing at the top of a rocky gorge and watching the green turtles come in and lay their eggs. I wonder if they still do. The island was wild and rather inaccessible when we holidayed there when I was in primary school and it's become a bit of a fashionable retreat since.

Anna Campbell said...

Actually, Cassondra, bugs in Australia can be seriously scary. I'm already plotting a blog on the subject that will give y'all nightmares (hmm, been hanging out with the Southern banditas a bit much lately, bless their hearts).

Nicola Cornick got to touch the baby whale. That was an amazing story. Gave me goosebumps too!

P226, love the story of the lightning bug stealing a ride. How cute is that?

p226 said...


P226, love the story of the lightning bug stealing a ride. How cute is that?
...

Actually, she kind of stole him. She snatched him out of the air. But once he got on her finger, he didn't really seem inclined to dleave.

Pissenlit said...

I've always lived in the suburbs. When I was a kid, there was just this one night, one summer where there were fireflies in my backyard. I thought it was the most magical thing ever! My mum and I watched them from an open window, though because it was pitch dark outside and our backyard isn't always people-friendly. :D

Helen said...

Anna

They are a lot smaller than they used to be and not so many off them but we still get some.

Talking about dolphins when my kids were younger we were away on holidays down the south coast and at the beach the kids were in the water and we were standing on the beach watching when I saw a fin in the water firstly my heart stopped I think but then I realised that there were dolphins in the water swimming through the waves a couple of feet away from the kids and other swimmers in the water it was awesome to see and my kids were so excited that they were swimming only a few feet away from about 6 dolphins.

Have Fun
Helen

Pat Cochran said...

Cassondra,

Thanks so much for the renewal of
memories from my childhood:
listening to the summer symphonies,
stars pinpointing their way to our eyes and outlining a sky map as it guides us, fireflies flickering
their special signals to the world,
and June bugs thumping on the
windows, trying to reach the light.

Thanks also for making me realize
that I'd never heard my grandkids
speak of catching fireflies. I
just talked to daughters #1 & #2
and my eldest granddaughter. Their
schedules now include firefly
watching "parties." I felt so bad
when Ashley told me that she knew
what fireflies are but she has not
ever seen one!

Pat Cochran

Cassondra said...

P226 said:

It's surprising how long a lightning bug will ride as a passenger on an index finger. He just sat there, head turned into the wind, wings occasionally fluttering. I ran. I huffed. I puffed. But the lightning bug had it easy. Lucky stowaway.


They really are fairly gentle little bugs aren't they? And hey, that lightning bug knew it had a good thing going! Why fly when you can ride?

Every now and then one will get inside the house and land on our door. Both our front and back doors have a lot of glass panes, so the bugs think they're getting out that way. They'll be crawling up the glass and the cats will get WAY too interested. Panic! Run to the door, shoo away the cats (no small feat)and save the lightning bug.

We do this with dirt dobbers too, since I like dirt dobbers. They prey on spiders after all, and I'm not a fan of spiders. Don't mind the little jumping spiders, but the big hairy ones? Not.

It's interesting to learn that our fireflies are on schedule with D.C. and West Virginia. I figured it was a bit cooler in the mountains where you are, and D.C. where Jeanne is --well it's a little further north than us.

Microclimates I suppose.

Cassondra said...

Fo said:

Oh, Helen, I'd forgotten the Christmas beetles. We used to catch them too - they had that beautiful irridescent carapace.

I have GOT to figure out what these are....

....off to google Christmas Beetle.

Cassondra said...

Oh, dear.

It appears, from the brief google search, that the "festive" Christmas Beetle of Australia is the same creature as my loathsome "screen door bug." I have no idea what its actual name is in the States, but I call them Screen Door Bugs because they PTANGGGGGG against the screens at night in the summer.

And they're loathsome because they get tangled in my hair, leading to fits of swatting and screaming that look a bit like seizures I'm certain. HATE having bugs tangled in my hair. Not the bug's fault, but that's just how it is.

*sigh* One woman's Christmas Beetle is another woman's menace I guess. ;0)

Cassondra said...

Fo said:

another really magical thing on Stradbroke Island was standing at the top of a rocky gorge and watching the green turtles come in and lay their eggs.

Oh, WOW! I'd love to see that. One thing I reget about growing up in landlocked Kentucky--no time spent at the ocean, and no exposure to the wildlife that frequents salt water and beaches.

Strange to think I'd be going "oooo, aaaaah" over dolphins and turtles, and y'all would be going "ooooo, aaaaah," over our simple fireflies.

Jessica Scott said...

Thanks for a great post. You reminded me of something I'd forgotten I enjoyed, growing up in Maine. The summers there are shot but the fireflies are always out at night. When I get home on R&R, I'm taking my two kids out to a field and showing them how to catch fireflies. I hope it will be a memory they'll take with them forever when my husband and I have to return to Iraq.

Cassondra said...

Pissenlit said:

I've always lived in the suburbs. When I was a kid, there was just this one night, one summer where there were fireflies in my backyard. I thought it was the most magical thing ever!

Just one night? Wow, that must have been a magical evening if you don't usually see them.

Cassondra said...

Helen said:

we were standing on the beach watching when I saw a fin in the water firstly my heart stopped I think but then I realised that there were dolphins in the water swimming through the waves a couple of feet away from the kids and other swimmers

Oh, how cool is that!!!!!

I've always wanted to swim with dolphins, rays, and I've wanted to get up close to manatees. I understand there's sort of a protocol to being in the water with dolphins--you don't approach them, you let them approach you--and other such rules. They're very powerful. I have to wonder how it would be in the water right there with them.

If I'd seen a fin, I'd have panicked too! I know how to recognize a dolphin fin from a shark, but there'd be that moment when my heart would stop.

Cassondra said...

Pat Cochran said:

Thanks also for making me realize that I'd never heard my grandkids speak of catching fireflies. I just talked to daughters #1 & #2 and my eldest granddaughter. Their
schedules now include firefly
watching "parties." I felt so bad
when Ashley told me that she knew
what fireflies are but she has not
ever seen one!


Oh, Pat, good on you for calling up your daughters and getting that set up! Every child should experience magical stuff like this. I would HATE to think I'd missed out on something like this when it was in my own yard. I think a lot of kids just live indoors nowadays. I know all the reasons. We're busy. It's dangerous. It's hot and we're used to air conditioning now....

Ya know, I don't think any of those is enough reason to miss out on stargazing and lightning bugs and crickets and frogs.

Let us know how the firefly parties go!

Cassondra said...

Jessica Scott said:

When I get home on R&R, I'm taking my two kids out to a field and showing them how to catch fireflies. I hope it will be a memory they'll take with them forever when my husband and I have to return to Iraq.


Jessica, that's GREAT! Are you in the military? If so, thank you for your service. Don't forget the jars with the holes in the lid! I know your kids will remember it forever, and maybe you could make it a yearly outing.

Pat Cochran said...

To Jessica Scott & husband:

Lot of hugs, much respect, and
many thanks to both of you for
your service on behalf of all
of us. We will keep you both
in prayer!

Pat Cochran

Anna Campbell said...

Actually I swam with a ray once on Moreton Island, another of the islands not far from where I grew up. It was completely accidental and nearly gave me a heart attack. It was the first time I'd snorkelled and I was having a wonderful time. Then suddenly this thing came up from out of the sand and turned into a stingray right in front of me. Eeeeek! Lots of coughing and spluttering!

Pissenlit said...

Cassondra - Just one night? Wow, that must have been a magical evening if you don't usually see them.

Ya, it was! The few of them were hanging out in the one corner of the backyard that's carpeted in not grass, but some sort of nice low-to-the-ground greenery with glossy leaves and sometimes little purple flowers(no idea what it is or how it started growing there). We make it a habit to keep the lawnmower away from there, hoping it'll spread and carpet more of that part of the yard. I keep hoping more fireflies will show up one day...unless they weren't fireflies and maybe were little faeries on a stopover or something. They're welcome too! ;)

Cassondra said...

Pissenlit said:

unless they weren't fireflies and maybe were little faeries on a stopover or something. They're welcome too! ;)


Well,you know...it could be! After all, you saw them only that one time. You just never know when you're going to have a faerie visit. They're welcome here too. ;0)

Cassondra said...

Anna Cambell said:

Then suddenly this thing came up from out of the sand and turned into a stingray right in front of me. Eeeeek! Lots of coughing and spluttering!


Yup, I'd be coughing and spluttering too if that happened. I'd have to be expecting it. I'm not a strong swimmer anyway and tend to get weirded out by the currents and tides in the ocean. Add the surprises of rays and other ocean life, and you've got definite possibilities of a freak out. I don't freak out much as a rule, but it could happen.

I understand you can touch them and stuff, but I also understand their tails can be really dangerous. I know so little about actually living near marine life. I know tiny bits and pieces from tv and reading, but faced with living in that environment, I'd have to have a coach.

Cassondra said...

Pat Cochran said:

To Jessica Scott & husband:

Lot of hugs, much respect, and
many thanks to both of you for
your service on behalf of all
of us. We will keep you both
in prayer!


Amen. Add me to the list of those sending prayers to you both.

Louisa Cornell said...

Sincere gratitude and prayers for Jessica and her husband. Thank you for standing guard in the night so that I can sleep soundly. I hope you have firefly memories for years and years to come.

Great post, Cassondra. Magical indeed. And very timely as I saw my first fireflies of the season last night as well. My rescued outside dogs were barking and I went out with a flashlight to see what had disturbed them. They were barking at fireflies. I sat on the steps of my back porch and watched the fireflies dance across my back yard and into my neighbor's pasture. There are some things in life that are simply perfect because they are perfectly simple. Fireflies on a sultry June evening in Alabama happens to be one of them. And if, as last night, they are accompanied by whipporwhills it is even better.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Louisa said: There are some things in life that are simply perfect because they are perfectly simple.

Poetically said, Louisa. And so true.

It stormed here this afternoon like nobody's business. Wicked forked lightning marching across the sky - like you usually see in late July or August. Cancelled the oldest boy's baseball game, which is good. But then with the storm passed, we enjoyed another of those fun summer rituals....playing barefoot in the water puddles and getting soaked in the wet grass, checking out the storm damage. :>

We've had TONS of rain this year and today was bookended by storms - one at 4:30 this morning, one this afternoon starting at around 5:00. We lost power within minutes and its just now come back on.

Yep. It's summer.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Grins. I reread that post and realized it sounded like I didn't want him to get to play ball. I did, but I don't want him on the field when its about to storm. SO...glad it got cancelled before they even got out there.

This was to be a makeup game for another rained out game.

Did I mention we've had LOTS of rain up here?

Cassondra said...

Louisa said:

There are some things in life that are simply perfect because they are perfectly simple. Fireflies on a sultry June evening in Alabama happens to be one of them. And if, as last night, they are accompanied by whipporwhills it is even better.


Louisa, I could not have said it better. In fact, I couldn't say it even half as well as that, or I would have done so.

We don't have whipporwhills here, but we do have screech owls, great horned owls (hoot owls) and nighthawks to serenade the advent of the night.

The older I get, the more I appreciate the magic of the gentle and the simple.

Cassondra said...

Jeanne said:

I reread that post and realized it sounded like I didn't want him to get to play ball. I did, but I don't want him on the field when its about to storm.

Ya know...

I think it'd be okay if you wanted him to get rained out. Less stress, more splashing in puddles.

Odds are, when he's 30, he'll remember splashing in puddles with mom (the simple thing) more than he'll remember THIS PARTICULAR GAME, yaknow?

I don't know, as I'm not a mom, but I'm just sayin. I'd take splashing through puddles any day over most other things that could happen.

Nancy said...

Cassondra, a screened porch would be lovely.

I forgot to tell you the lawn chair pictured is just like the ones my folks had. They used to set them outside in the evening, and neighbors would drift over to sit and visit.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Me too, Cassondra. We had a blast. Then, with the power still out at the house, we went to 5 Guys Burgers and had dinner. Simple food. Real meat. Good stuff.

Came back to power and baseball on TV, and now bed.

Oh, and I can see the lighty-uppity-bugs outside my office window. :> They've shaken off the wet and are beginning to get their groove on...

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

We used to have those too, Nancy. Not colored like that, but essentially those. :> I remember the year my dad tried to re-do the webbing.

Hmmm. Difficult. He got so frustrated. "Why do they sell the stupid webbing if they're not meant to be repaired, I ask you!?!"

We sneaked off to laugh, then soberly went back to help. Grins.

Nancy said...

Jeanne, a couple of kids in youth sports were killed by lightning because either the game didn't get called or they stayed on the field after it did (I forget the details, having heard about it while on vacation). So you are right to be concerned.

I agree with Cassondra--the particular game will matter less in a year than the memory of splashing in puddles with you.

We've had more rain than usual this year, too. Better than a drought, though!

Nancy said...

Jeanne, Daddy never tried to repair them, which is probably good since he didn't believe in reading (or asking for) directions.

Those things didn't get as hot as the rubber tubing ones that came later.

Nancy said...

Jessica Scott, please add me to the list of those grateful for your service and your husband's and wishing your family the best.

Nancy said...

Helen, the late Arthur C. Clarke may be best known for his outer space stories, but he also wrote about the sea. I have a vague memory of a story, which I think he wrote, about dolphins rescuing swimmers off the Great Barrier Reef.

I love dolphins. Like Cassondra, I've always wanted to swim with them.

Every November, I go to the beach with other women from my college class, and we've seen dolphins comparatively close to shore every year. I'll be disappointed if we don't see them again this year. I've come to count on their presence.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Nancy said: a couple of kids in youth sports were killed by lightning because either the game didn't get called or they stayed on the field after it did

It happened up here in Northern VA just last week. We're all very careful about that, anyway, but that brought it home. The fields are so exposed, and they use metal bats. If there's a rumble of thunder, they come in. Period.

In this case, I'd just gotten home w/ the C-man to change for the game and get a snack when BOOM! the skies opened and the earth shook and the deluge arrived. Oh, then the power went out.

Oh, well, that's fun too. We had the lanterns and were playing chase through the darkened house with flashlights.

That's something else he'll remember doing, probably more than the game. :>

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Nancy, one of Clarke's stories, Deep Range, is about the ocean and the "herds" of whales, and the sentient dolphins. I haven't read it for years, but its still very vivid for me. :>

Cassondra said...

Nancy said:

I forgot to tell you the lawn chair pictured is just like the ones my folks had. They used to set them outside in the evening, and neighbors would drift over to sit and visit.


At one point, my folks got me a "kid-sized" webbing chair. I don't remember what happened to that chair, but I do remember them sitting out theirs and mine--the two big chairs and the wee little chair.

And my dad DID re-web our chairs. I don't remember there being any instructions, but he somehow managed to get it done. Nowadays, with chairs like that costing under ten dollars, I imagine we'd just toss them and get more. That's a major difference in the times and the generations. They'd re-weave the chairs to save five dollars. I'd toss it and say the four hours it takes me to re-do the chairs is worth WAY more than five dollars.

Not sure which is the better philosophy, actually....

Okay, so NOT going to turn this blog into a deep philosophical meandering.

Am. Not. Going. To. Do. That.

Not.

PinkPeony said...

Hi Cassondra!
We don't have fireflies here in CA but if I'm in NJ during the summmer months, I see them, at least I think they're fireflies or lightning bugs? No Sonic around here either but we do frequent "In N Out". Great burgers. Bad for the waistline. :(

Cassondra said...

Jeanne said:

Oh, and I can see the lighty-uppity-bugs outside my office window. :> They've shaken off the wet and are beginning to get their groove on...


Hmmm....no lighty-uppity bugs out tonight here. I can hear the frogs hollering on the pond, but no flashers....

I wonder if it's the approaching weather front? There was a big green line on the radar coming across the middle of the country when I looked a bit earlier.

Like most bugs, I'd assume the lighty-uppity ones are weather-sensitive.

Cassondra said...

Nancy said:

a couple of kids in youth sports were killed by lightning because either the game didn't get called or they stayed on the field after it did (I forget the details, having heard about it while on vacation). So you are right to be concerned.


You know, that is just about unbelievable. With the modern radar capabilities, I just can't imagine why this happens.

Just...unbelievably sad. I'd tend to be all up in their faces if they didn't call a game at the slightest puff of a cloud. How strange that it doesn't even make the national news when this happens. Those poor kids.

Jeanne, I didn't even consider the metal bats. Lightning rods.

Cassondra said...

Jeanne said:

We had the lanterns and were playing chase through the darkened house with flashlights.

That's something else he'll remember doing, probably more than the game. :>


Oh, yeah.

Once again, the simple things rule. Cardboard boxes make the best toys. Aquariums and hamsters are more fun than super-robotic ninja warrior snap-together mechanized whizzos.

And lighning bugs are better than tv.

Cassondra said...

Pink Peony said:

if I'm in NJ during the summmer months, I see them, at least I think they're fireflies or lightning bugs?

Hey, if they're out there in the air and flashing, they qualify.

Glad you've gotten to experience this! And glad you have a great junk-food hangout. Hey. It's summer. No counting calories! ;0)

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Cassondra said: Cardboard boxes make the best toys

SO true... refrigerator boxes become the BEST spaceships. They also make great stables for the imaginary horses, dragons, etc. (Not stabled in the same box, of course, as that would be unwise)

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

PinkP, we were just talking about In and Out when we were at dinner. We'd picked up one of my son's teammates to get him to the aforementioned cancelled game. We called the parents and said, hey, power's out, meet us at 5 Guys.

The dad live in SoCal for a while and kept saying that the In and OUt burgers were SO much better than the ones we had... :>

Gannon Carr said...

Cassondra, I love "lightning bugs." My sisters and I would always catch them when we were kids. They are out here in the the mountains of NC now. My boys are teenagers so they don't get into catching them, but my daughter loves to see how many she can catch. My husband and I sit on our front porch and just love to watch.

PinkPeony said...

I've heard of Five Guys...but I never saw one when I was in NJ.
The problem with In N Out is that the place is always packed with customers. Everything is cooked as you order so it takes a bit longer than McD's or BK. I'm fond of the crispy lettuce they put on the burgers.

Nancy said...

Cassondra wrote: You know, that is just about unbelievable. With the modern radar capabilities, I just can't imagine why this happens.

With no newspaper and limited TV, I couldn't check on it. However, it occurred to me that I'm now home with the computer and have Google. I found an article in the Baltimore Sun. An umpire halted a game in Fredericksburg, VA, because of weather, but parents let two kids stay on the field and play catch. Lightning struck one and transferred to the other. One boy died, and the other was in critical condition. So I didn't remember it quite right.

But it's still tragic. My parents used to order us out of the neighborhood pool as soon the clouds got threatening, back in the days before fancy radar. On the whole, I think I'm happier being a slightly paranoid parent.

Nancy said...

The box the boy's transitional bed came in (used the crib mattress) became his "house," complete with mail slot and windows. The cutouts from the windows, cut in half, became "letters" for us to push through the slot.

The box house took up a good chunk of our small living room for about a year. He would go into it and peer out and even watch TV from there.

Anna Campbell said...

Cassondra, a ray killed Steve Irwin. This guy just did some flapping and swam away. I suspect I was probably more discombobulated than he was!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Nancy said: On the whole, I think I'm happier being a slightly paranoid parent.

Me too:

Cassondra said...

Jeanne said:

They also make great stables for the imaginary horses, dragons, etc. (Not stabled in the same box, of course, as that would be unwise)


Indeed. A wise stable manager you are, Duchesse Jeanne. ;0)

Cassondra said...

Gannon Carr said:

My boys are teenagers so they don't get into catching them, but my daughter loves to see how many she can catch. My husband and I sit on our front porch and just love to watch.


Ha! Interesting that when the boys catch the teenage disease, even lightning bugs become "olde."

I bet the mountains, the fog in the hollers, and the lightning bugs make for an incredible view. What a great place for your daughter to grow up!

Cassondra said...

Nancy said:

My parents used to order us out of the neighborhood pool as soon the clouds got threatening, back in the days before fancy radar. On the whole, I think I'm happier being a slightly paranoid parent.


When I was a facilitator for ropes courses, I had people 40-60 feet up in trees, walking around on steel cables. Talk about paranoid! If it came so much as a rumble way off in the distance, it was instant Condition RED, GET OUT OF THE TREES NOW!!!!

Nothing like being in the air on a steel cable while a lightning storm is moving in. Been there, done that getting somebody down who was panicked, but don't want to ever do it again.

Cassondra said...

Nancy said:

The box house took up a good chunk of our small living room for about a year. He would go into it and peer out and even watch TV from there.


A big cardboard box is a wondrous thing. Much like a good book, it can take you anywhere.

Back when I was into drama and was involved in a big, active local church, I volunteered to direct the play that went along with the Vacation Bible School program. I'll never forget it because one of the required props was a refrigerator box.

The "explorer" star of the play travelled back in time--to Bible Times--and visited Adam and Eve and several other famous Bible story settings.

The portal? Yep...the refrigerator box. It was set center stage and to travel through time, our "star" had to but roll through the box. She came tumbling out one side or the other and there was nary a peep of disbelief among the crowd of adults and children.

Refrigerator boxes are not QUITE as magical as lightning bugs, but almost.

Cassondra said...

Anna Campbell said:

Cassondra, a ray killed Steve Irwin. This guy just did some flapping and swam away. I suspect I was probably more discombobulated than he was!



Really? That's awful. I knew they could do some damage, but I'm not sure I'd ever heard of them being deadly. No wonder you were sputtering.

Okay, maybe now I don't wanna swim with them. :0.

Genella deGrey said...

Cassondra - I grew up in Los Angeles, no fire flies here. :(

But I wanted to say that I'm just about as enchanted with your dad as I am about the fire flies.

What a cool dad.
:)
G.