Home Opinion Mine Creek Revelations by Louie Graves: Fireflies & Sex

Mine Creek Revelations by Louie Graves: Fireflies & Sex


ANIMAL CRACKERS. In April of last year I wrote the following 81-word piece about fireflies. Read it again, then I have an update.

Here it is: “One of the things I love about warmer months is the appearance of fireflies. A decade or so ago they were in my backyard in uncountable numbers. Now, I get excited when I see just one or two.

“I didn’t know that fireflies flash differently in the east and west of America.

“According to ‘Smithsonian’ magazine only the male firefly flashes in the east. He does it while in flight, and the reason he flashes is to notify females of his availability. “Here I am, ladies.” I suppose that ours are the eastern variety.

“Out west, only the female flashes. She does it weakly and while she’s on the ground. I’m guessing that this is some sort of plan she has for only a low level notification of her availability. “I think I’ve got a headache tonight, boys.” Don’t mean to get things stirred up, it’s just my fertile imagination.

“Some perfesser at a hoitsy-toitsy natural museum says that there is a sort of Continental Divide between the varieties of fireflies.”

End of quote.

UPDATE (and a warning — if you get upset about all of this LGHBT stuff in the news, just throw this column away now and make sure the kiddies don’t raid the trashcan to secretly get a look).

It finally hit me right between the eyes. I’m talking about the name for the Continental Divide for fireflies — sometimes called lightning bugs.

It is LBGHT. Lightning Bug Gender Home Transcontinentaldivide.

If you’re looking north, on the left side of the Divide is the western firefly variety, and on the right is the eastern.

And right now you can see why the population of lightning bugs (fireflies) is declining. If they cannot make up their mind whether to flash or not flash — or whether to do it high or low — then there is no hope for the species. I am afraid that the bugs (actually, they are beetles, not flies) just cannot make up their minds whether they are male or female, high blinkers or low blinkers, east or west, L or H.

And admit it right now, you counted my words just to see if I gave the right number.

MORE ANIMAL CRACKERS. At about 5:30 a.m. I am usually out walking my neighborhood. I have a two-mile routine, and have been doing this for at least 25 years.

One reason I get out so early is to hear the birds. At some point before the first pale rays of the approaching day make their appearance in the east, the birds usually start serenading.

But for the last week or so they’ve been mystifyingly quiet.

I now hear one bird which I cannot identify. Monday morning he/she finally started chirping at about 6:15 for just a few minutes.

Maybe the birds think it’s the end of summer. Maybe they’re saving their energy to handle the heat of the day. Maybe they’re too excited about college football and the chance of the Hogs running the table in the SEC-West.

While the birds are silent, the insects are not. There must be jillions of insects out there to make such a noise.

MORE ANIMAL CRACKERS: this week in Detroit a 9-year-old girl riding her bicycle was attacked and killed by three pit bulls. Don’t let anyone tell you that our town doesn’t need a ban on pit bull breeds.

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A HEALTHFUL and spiritual reminder: The Mormons have notified their members that coffee drinks — even if called by another name — are still forbidden. In my hellion opinion, the church elders would have better luck if they forbade English peas or beets.

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AN OBITUARY in the state paper for Rev. James Mancini, 78, a catholic priest who once served rather briefly in churches at De Queen and Nashville. Father Mancini looked very Italian, as you might assume from his name. What is noteworthy for my protestant friends is that he was an exorcist. I do not know details of any of his  exorcisms.

Reminds me to thank all men and women who devote their lives to religion, no matter the denomination or non-denomination. My own feeble opinion is that for us to do well individually and as a nation, it is important to live by the Ten Commandments.

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THE INCREDIBLE and Mostly Unbelievable Adventures of my distant kin, Uncle Parry Normal: Uncle Parry lost his job driving a daycare bus because he taught the pre-school children to sing bawdy songs he learned before he got kicked out of the Merchant Marines.

He is one bad boy! The kids loved him, though.

He got caught because one sweet little girl surprised her teacher and sang one of his songs at the end-of-school recital.

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THINGS I LEARNED from opening (and believing) email: After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring. He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him.

The moral: When you’re full of bull, keep your mouth shut.

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WORD GAMES. The twins: Show and Tell. They were only around for kindergarten and early school grades. Then, they just disappeared.

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HE SAID: “We must become bigger than we have been: more courageous, greater in spirit, larger in outlook. We must become members of a new race, overcoming petty prejudice, owing our ultimate allegiance not to nations but to our fellow men within the human community.” Haile Selassie, emperor of Ethiopia

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SHE SAID: “Prayer does not use up artificial energy, doesn’t burn up any fossil fuel, doesn’t pollute. Neither does song, neither does love, neither does the dance.” Margaret Meade, anthropologist 

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