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Strange insects

I doubt if there are many people living today who remember the dirty habit that youngsters had to pass the idle hours. One, for instance was catching lightning bugs. That’s the time of my life that I refer to as the lightning bug days.
Every kid in the neighborhood  would imprison the poor innocent fireflies during the late spring and summer evenings. It must have been some sort of a contest to see who could catch the most in an evening. What a pastime! It was a cruel thing to do, but the kids in my neighborhood would  find a pint glass jar, punch a few holes in the top, and put the night’s catch in the jar, one at a time. Working alone, a person could fill that jar about half-full on a summer night.
Why we did it, I’ll never know. Somehow or other I think we felt that we could derive some benefit from the light put out by the large number of tiny flickers, going on and off in their prison. Over my entire childhood of following the sport, I have never read or heard any good purpose the game served except to keep the children busy and out of trouble.
I believe I would have slept better if I had given up the habit the night I started. Besides, there were other things to occupy the mind of an ambitious child, like capturing June bugs. I’m sure that many of you who are reading this remember catching these large green colored flying bugs, and attaching a string to one of the poor creature’s legs, and turning it loose, while you held onto the other end of the string. It would fly off into the sky, feeling as free as a little bird until the string ran out; then be halted by a tug at the string.
I believe the purpose of this activity was to make one’s self believe he or she had conquered a bit of outer space, or at  least had control of one Junebug. The big problem with the Junebugs was that by the time one put together to have a good air force, they would begin to have a very bad smell, and parents began to rebel.
All of the little bug games were not bad or dirty though. Remember the doodlebug. We used to walk out in loose dirt, and find the little inverted wigwams.
Stooping to within talking distance we would talk to the inhabitants, saying” Doodlebug,  Doodlebug, your house is on fire,” over and over. In a few seconds, if the doodlebug was at home, it would come to the surface, and the instigator would pat himself on the back over his great accomplishment. Well, I later learned that the bug was not concerned about his house being on fire, but the vibration caused by the voice of the intruder, brought the creature to the surface.
Another creature that is known to follow orders issued by some human beings is the spider known as the granddaddy longlegs. I know you’ve seen them, but have you talked to them? If you should run up on a granddaddy longlegs, slow him down and repeat this question over and over, and he will surely respond. “Granddaddy longlegs, which way did the cows go?” Watch him very closely, and he will lift one of his legs, and point it in a certain direction, and that’s the way the cows went. Of course in these modern times it isn’t necessary to know which way the cows went, so the granddaddy longlegs is gradually becoming like the much discussed snail darter … an endangered species
About the only creature that can be of any big help to mankind today is the lowly tree frog. This creature can predict the weather, so if you are concerned about a much needed rain, just go into the woods and listen for the call of the tree frog. If you hear one, you can feel pretty sure that rain is on the way. 
 Lloyd Mathews is a retired land surveyor and a historian who lives in Pulaski.

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Strange insects

I doubt if there are many people living today who remember the dirty habit that youngsters had to pass the idle hours. One, for instance was catching lightning bugs. That’s the time of my life that I refer to as the lightning bug days.
Every kid in the neighborhood  would imprison the poor innocent fireflies during the late spring and summer evenings. It must have been some sort of a contest to see who could catch the most in an evening. What a pastime! It was a cruel thing to do, but the kids in my neighborhood would  find a pint glass jar, punch a few holes in the top, and put the night’s catch in the jar, one at a time. Working alone, a person could fill that jar about half-full on a summer night.
Why we did it, I’ll never know. Somehow or other I think we felt that we could derive some benefit from the light put out by the large number of tiny flickers, going on and off in their prison. Over my entire childhood of following the sport, I have never read or heard any good purpose the game served except to keep the children busy and out of trouble.
I believe I would have slept better if I had given up the habit the night I started. Besides, there were other things to occupy the mind of an ambitious child, like capturing June bugs. I’m sure that many of you who are reading this remember catching these large green colored flying bugs, and attaching a string to one of the poor creature’s legs, and turning it loose, while you held onto the other end of the string. It would fly off into the sky, feeling as free as a little bird until the string ran out; then be halted by a tug at the string.
I believe the purpose of this activity was to make one’s self believe he or she had conquered a bit of outer space, or at  least had control of one Junebug. The big problem with the Junebugs was that by the time one put together to have a good air force, they would begin to have a very bad smell, and parents began to rebel.
All of the little bug games were not bad or dirty though. Remember the doodlebug. We used to walk out in loose dirt, and find the little inverted wigwams.
Stooping to within talking distance we would talk to the inhabitants, saying” Doodlebug,  Doodlebug, your house is on fire,” over and over. In a few seconds, if the doodlebug was at home, it would come to the surface, and the instigator would pat himself on the back over his great accomplishment. Well, I later learned that the bug was not concerned about his house being on fire, but the vibration caused by the voice of the intruder, brought the creature to the surface.
Another creature that is known to follow orders issued by some human beings is the spider known as the granddaddy longlegs. I know you’ve seen them, but have you talked to them? If you should run up on a granddaddy longlegs, slow him down and repeat this question over and over, and he will surely respond. “Granddaddy longlegs, which way did the cows go?” Watch him very closely, and he will lift one of his legs, and point it in a certain direction, and that’s the way the cows went. Of course in these modern times it isn’t necessary to know which way the cows went, so the granddaddy longlegs is gradually becoming like the much discussed snail darter … an endangered species
About the only creature that can be of any big help to mankind today is the lowly tree frog. This creature can predict the weather, so if you are concerned about a much needed rain, just go into the woods and listen for the call of the tree frog. If you hear one, you can feel pretty sure that rain is on the way. 
 Lloyd Mathews is a retired land surveyor and a historian who lives in Pulaski.

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