Lightnin’ Bugs

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Transporter.”

I know it’s February, but due to the prompt, I was transported back to my childhood, and if we can go back that far, then we can also pretend that it is July.

Back then, kids played outside, all day, everyday. There wasn’t anything to do inside the house, with the exception of a occasional book or maybe some baby dolls. But, I was a tom boy. I liked to climb trees, go through the woods and play in the dirt. 

One of my favorite memories was catching lightnin’ bugs in mason jars. Now, for you younger ones and you city slickers, that would be the same as Fire Flies.

I would be sitting on the front porch with my mason jar ready. I had already punched holes in the lid so they could breathe and even put some grass in the jar for them.

Then, they would start, slowly. I would see one light up out of the corner of my eye in the field beside the house. I would jump up and run to find it. Now, no one ever told me that I shouldn’t run with a glass jar. I would never let my kids run with a glass jar, but I guess safety wasn’t a concern in my parent’s day.

Anyway, within minutes of it turning dusky dark, there would be hundreds, even millions, seemed like. I felt like I was in a big city with all the lights. being from a rural county, it was the only “city lights” that I saw until I was in my teens.  I was always considered the “expert” at catching them, telling my little nieces to just hold the jar, I would do the catching.

I would fill the jar up with 20 or so of those stinky but fascinating little bugs. I would watch them for hours, I used them as a “nite light” in my room. And sure enough, by morning, they would all be dead or close to dead anyway.

Sometimes I took it a step further. I would catch the bug and wait until it’s little tail lit up and pinch the tail off. If I was lucky, it would stay lit and I would stick it on the front of my bicycle or wheel-barrel and use them for headlights. The light would last about 10 minutes before  it faded.  I know, I know, that was cruel. But in my defense, no one ever told me not to do that either.

Nowadays, I would be reported to PETA or some environmentalist’s group. Doctors and phycologists would examine me  and I be considered a potential serial killer or something. So please don’t turn me in. I have since learned not to kill bugs and pull their tails off.

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