As a child I passionately loved Lightnin' Bugs. Well, actually that has never changed. I still do. Last summer I relived that joy as I introduced them to a couple of my nieces and nephews. Their excitement as I brought one in to them, darkened the room, and showed them my glowing hand was priceless! The next time I stopped by their house after dark they were outside chasing them and squealing with glee!
And during "peak" lightnin' bug season I like to drive about a mile out of my way when I go home to watch them in an open country hay field where there is such a concentration of them it looks like the stars in the milky way have spilled down to the ground. The city lights can't even begin to compare to the magnificent site of millions upon millions of lightnin' bugs twinkling all at once with nothing but a midnight blue sky for their backdrop. I have to pull over and stop to watch for a few minutes, spellbound by their amazing beauty.
. . . . . . Now, to step back to a bored summer night of my teenage years. My family was all camped out at our favorite campground on Tenkiller Lake. Normally, quite a few of my teenage friends were also camped out there and we kept ourselves entertained until our parents forced us to 'break it up' and go to bed by about 2am. But this one particular weekend most of my friends had other places they had to be and it was mostly just my younger brother and me at our camp. The word "bored" is not in my vocabulary. Very, VERY, rarely do I EVER get bored, and then it is only briefly (like a few seconds, to a minute or two at the most) because I seem to always manage to find, if not create, something to do. Well, on this particular night my parents were sitting in their lawn chairs in the nearby clump of persimmon trees, busy visiting with the other adult campers. I honestly don't remember what my brother was doing, probably making "roads" in the dirt for his Hot Wheels. I didn't want to sit in the stuffy little trailer where I had lots of light and it was too dark outside to work on my afghan. As I sat there a moment thinking of what to do a lightnin' bug blinked a few feet from me. As it did it 'sparked' a thought. . . . .
I jumped up and grabbed the unsuspecting bug as it blinked again. With my hand clinched securely around my catch, I quietly walked over to our little trailer, slid open that tiny metal door embedded in the center of the screen door, and let the lightnin' but go, quickly shutting the little door back! I worked hard to keep my giggle surpressed as I repeated this process all night long! How many? I don't know. I lost count the first half hour.
It got late and everyone retreated to their own camps for bed. When several of my teenage friends were all out there, we all slept outside in a big group (each on our own cot, of course) but since it was just me and my brother, we very reluctantly had to sleep inside the trailer that night. We all went in, took our turns in the tiny little bathroom to change into our sleep clothes, then laid down to go to bed. My mom was the last one to lay down, turning the final light out. We all settled in, got comfy and was just about to drift off to sleep when......blink, blink.....blink.....blink......blink, blink, blink............ Hundreds of tiny little lights began to blink! I laid there as still as I could, pulling the blanket up over the bottom half of my face to hide my proud, satisfied grin. CINDY!!!!!!! (not my real name, of course) GET THOSE THINGS OUT OF HERE!!!!!
"But Mom, what makes you think I did it?"
"Because no one else in this family would do something like that. Now get up and get those things out of here, now!"
"But I like them. I want to watch them as I go to sleep. They're pretty."
"Well, I don't like them, now get up and get them out."
"But I'm so comfortable, can't I do it in the morning, p l e a s e?"
"No, N O W ! ! ! ! !"
Let me tell you, catching them all the second time and tossing them "out" of the trailer wasn't near as much fun.