Lightning bugs spur happy memories

Published 5:00am Saturday, April 13, 2013

The other night I was just hanging around outside enjoying the balmy temperature and the sounds of crickets and occasional sleepy bird chirps. I strolled to the end of my carport to check out the carpet of stars visible on that particular clear evening and when I glanced toward the trees between our house and our neighbor’s, there they were – lightning bugs.
As I watched, I counted more than a dozen of the tiny yellow glows blinking through the tree branches. Seeing them was a reminder of one of the innocent pleasures of my childhood.
Catching lightning bugs was one of the things most of us did. I can remember the adults in my life sitting in the back yard talking, while I chased after the red and black bugs.
Personally, I liked to capture them and put them in a jar with a few leaves and seal it up with a lid with lots of air holes in the top. When I’d collected several, it made a pretty display as they alternately blinked on and off.
Before going back in the house, I would open the jar and leave them to make their escape – of course hoping to capture them or their relatives the next evening.
I guess I was pretty naive as a child. I wholeheartedly enjoyed just catching and watching the lightning bugs for a little while, so I assumed that’s what everyone did.
When I found out that some kids caught them and pinched off their little flashers, I was horrified. Why on earth would anyone want to do that? I never got a satisfactory answer, just a kind of sick feeling about it.
So, I tried to avoid the people who didn’t subscribe to the catch and release school of thought. Meanwhile I continued to have fun with my own pursuit of them – especially the first ones that came out in March and April, because we all knew they meant summer was on its way.
Then there were the tadpoles and crawfish we caught in the drainage ditches around town. But that’s a remembrance for another day.
Get out this evening and enjoy a few lightning bugs.
Until next week …
Peggy Blackburn is managing editor of The Wetumpka Her­ald and Elmore County Weekend. She can be reached at 334-567-7811. Her email address is

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