Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bumble Bees and Lightening Bugs

Sometimes on our evening walks our conversation turns nostalgic when we recall things we did as children. I guess this is what you do when you're 60 something.

Looking at the stars last night, we lamented that we couldn't see as many as we used to. Unfortunately city lights and pollution have practically obscured the Milky Way. Larry remembered that even though his neighborhood in Newport, Arkansas, had street lights, they didn't obscure the stars because someone was always shooting out the lights with a BB gun.

Here are a few of our other recollections:
  • On Crestwood Road in Camden, Arkansas, we played outside at night under the street lights. In the summer it was too hot to stay inside because the only window air conditioner was in Mother's and Daddy's bedroom. So we stayed outside until Daddy whistled us in.
  • Catching lightening bugs was a favorite nighttime activity. We would put a whole bunch in a Mason jar in an attempt to make a lantern. Unfortunately, the lightening bugs didn't live very long.
  • During the daytime, we also played outside. Believe it or not, it was cooler outside than it was inside, even during the summer season. The lightening bugs weren't out during the day, so we liked to catch white headed bumble bees, tie strings around their necks and fly them around. They had to be white headed bees because that kind wouldn't sting. Glenda said that she and her friends would do the same thing with June bugs.
Speaking of bugs, it's a wonder any of us who grew up in small towns in the South are still alive. In our neighborhood, the "fogging machine" would come around in the summer spraying for mosquitoes. This was a contraption pulled behind a pick up truck that would drive up and down the residential streets. We loved to run behind the fogging machine, but no telling how much DDT we breathed.

In Newport, they sprayed the stuff over the whole town with crop dusting planes, so you couldn't escape it if you wanted to. Larry has a classmate who still has the contract to spray Newport for mosquitoes, but I'm certain he doesn't use DDT anymore.

Back to the stars, Larry and I had the opportunity to see a beautiful night sky on our recent trip to Colorado. Driving back to Durango from Ouray one night, we pulled off the road, turned off the headlights and got out of the car. Almost immediately we saw a shooting star, and the Milky Way was magnificent.

When we're in Camden for Thanksgiving, I think I'll go out into the pasture away from the lights and have a good star gazing.

4 comments:

Malvie said...

This is one of my favourites.

Baumbastic said...

What memories that brings back! My cousins and I caught lightening bugs and put them in Mason jars with holes punched in the lids, or maybe it was mayonnaise jars?

And I remember sitting on my grandparents front porch to be in the cool.

the osbornes said...

When I was little I always thought y'all were making that up about the bees on a string! But I guess if you're still telling the story it must be true :) I can just picture it!

Abbie said...

I hope you're printing out all of these great family memories to save a hard copy...These are priceless! Your grandchildren are going to want to read them someday.