What happened to all the lightning bugs?

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Lightning bugs — are they still around?

Remember how we used to catch them around sunset during the summer?

They were so beautiful, and also remember we did not suffocate them as we captured one and kept it in a mason fruit jar or an empty, cleaned mayonnaise jar. We punched holes in the lid so they could get air.

Those late evening summer days of yesteryear were heated ones, because there was no air conditioning. Fans were a luxury.

Remember? Of course you do.

We slept with the doors open and the windows raised, hoping for some kind of breeze.

Those summer nights were hot and humid, but probably better than those brutal winter nights we combated with wood and coal burning heating systems — usually an ol’ pot-bellied stove that once cranked up, glowed red and felt better than good.

But, back to lightning bugs. Are they still around?

I have not seen one in years, but have to admit I do not go out looking for them either.

A jar full of lightning bugs was a prize, and it also told everyone in the neighborhood where you were as you toted it around.

Those flying little critters were not that hard to catch, but one had to be careful, because they were delicate and even a slight damage could easily have killed them.

I got pretty good at catching them, but never was able to catch a bat.

Remember them?

They showed up about the same time as the lightning bug, but were more than elusive.

We kids in the neighborhood declared war on them, but never, ever caught or killed a single one.

We had an endless supply of ammunition in using the rocks along the railroad tracks in shooting at those creatures.

Even the best pitchers on the neighborhood baseball team could get nowhere close to hitting one of those diving, darting bats with their so-called “built-in radar.”

Often, I would throw a fastball at a bat and the rascal would dodge it, laugh and follow the useless rock to the ground.

Then, it flew off into the night doing bat things, I guess.

Still today I have fond memories of lightning bugs and walked out on the deck the other night just to see if they still stir.

Not a single one.

What if such a fate were to happen to cardinals?

Supposedly, the appearance of that beautiful bird is a visit of a loved one from Heaven.

I see plenty of cardinals, but not a single lightning bug.

William Holloman is a staff writer for the Mount Olive Tribune.

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