Monday, June 15, 2009
Lightning bugs and summer
Just as sure as our old buddy Joe Dell going around without his shirt, lightning bugs are a sign that summer has come again to the South. One thing is for sure, lightning bugs are far easier on the eyes than Joe Dell’s grey haired beer belly. Further, lightning bugs do not brag about beers drank, women never had, etc.
But, lightning bugs are a sign that summer is here in the South. Just last night, I sat on my porch and watched a few of them light up the sky around me. It reminded me of my childhood, when I once tried to capture such lightning bugs and put them in a Mason jar with air holes punched in the top.
Capturing things and putting them in a Mason jar has to be a Southern thing. Remember when mama and them would give you two or three Mason jars, and you would punch holes in the tops and put things like lightning bugs and big grasshoppers in them? Chances are if a kid did such today, some sort of political group would protest and call that kid a monster.
But, 30 years or so ago, we kids called such fun and even learned from it. We could also ride our bikes all around town without our parents worrying about some molester. Summer was a time when we as kids looked forward to going outside and playing. There were not only activities like riding our bikes, but swimming and fishing. When the evening got late and you could see the lightning bugs, it was time to go home. There were no mobile phones, only the sight of lightning bugs and the booming sound of mama’s voice. Neighbors would tell you, “It is getting dark, you better get home.”
Oh, how the world has changed. There are perverts out there like never before. Further, let’s be frank, if a parent today let a little kid play outside all day, chances are the South Carolina Department of Social Services would be called in by some neighbor to investigate a possible child neglect case. Frankly, today’s kids are overprotected in so many ways and spend way too much time on computer and video games instead of being outside and interacting with the rest of the world.
I guess that is why today’s generation of kids will never get how much lightning bugs mean. To me it means summer is here. The lightning bugs remind me of the carefree days of my childhood. For today’s generation of kids, summer means finding Joe Dale, shirtless, holding a beer and cursing on You Tube.