The Wrong Turn

Legislative_PlazaIt isn’t every day that a writer has a story land practically right in their lap, but that is exactly what happened to me.

It was a rather nice late August day, not as humid as your average summer day in middle Tennessee. So, I had decided to take a break from the office and spend my lunch hour outside. I walked to Legislative Plaza, a large park-like area with fountains and such, right across the street from the Tennessee State Capitol.

There I was, munching on my granola bar and wondering what I could write my column about this week when I heard a loud crash. A large luxury vehicle made a wrong turn and jumped the curb, stopping on the sidewalk at the top of the wide stairs leading down to the plaza. The car was stuck and could not back up – so the driver just proceeded to drive forward — right down the long flight of stairs and onto the pedestrian plaza.

All the scraping and crunching attracted a lot of attention including that of the Capitol Police. The cops caught up with the car on foot, and the slightly bewildered driver still was not aware of the predicament he was in. Apparently he didn’t know that there was no way off the plaza except via stairs. Another cop joined the police officer and as they began to survey the situation, they broke into gales of laughter.

A crowd gathered and spectators watched and giggled as the story continued to unfold. After all, right in front of the State Capitol is not exactly the most inconspicuous spot in the city.

“How did that car get there?” mused newly arriving viewers.

I began to feel a bit sorry for the dazed, but humiliated, driver. Police radioed for assistance and soon the traffic division arrived. The traffic officer did not find the situation quite as humorous as the other officers. Unmarked security soon joined the other cops, and legislators on their way back from lunch stopped to survey the situation. “Oh, boy,” I thought, “With politicians involved they will never get anything done.” Tourists snapped pictures of the stranded vehicle to take home as souvenirs, and TV crews with mini-cams arrived.

A tow truck was called, but after much cell phoning, hum-hawing and head scratching, the driver was unable to figure out a way to rescue the car. Government office workers in the plaza ate their brown bag lunches and enjoyed the free lunch hour entertainment, wondering what would be next.

Eventually, a larger tow truck came, traffic was stopped, and a flatbed tow truck removed the car. The audience applauded. Officer workers drifted away back to their cubicles and paperwork. The misfortunate driver appeared to be receiving some paperwork of his own — undoubtedly they were throwing the book at the old guy. Legislators inspected the concrete steps for damage and will probably introduce a bill next week to put up vehicle barriers in front of the stairs.

And that’s the story just the way it happened, folks, from your eyewitness humor columnist on the scene with up to the minute coverage of minor auto mishaps and brown bag lunches. Once again we have proven there’s never a shortage of funny news when it comes to the lousy drivers in Tennessee.

Copyright 2001 Sheila Moss
Posted in Automotive, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Alligator Tale

I have a sore finger. Some people call it my “ouchie.” I really try not to think about how it happened. It is all sort of hazy now. I was outside doing yard work and became tangled up with an apple tree and a pruning saw. Never tangle with a pruning saw – the pruning saw will always win.

I thought I’d best go to the emergency room. There was a lot of blood and it looked pretty bad.

“Ever have stitches before?” the medic asked me.

“STITCHES?” Argh! I don’t know how I’ve managed to reach my age without ever needing stitches. I felt a little dizzy. The doctor came in and proceeded to casually sew me up with a needle and thread, chatting about the weather and her own similar encounter with a hedge trimmer.

I was very brave. You can be proud. I didn’t cry or pass out or anything like that. Keeping my eyes closed and not looking helped a great deal. I told them it didn’t hurt much. Actually, it hurt a whole lot. “Hold it up,” they said, “that helps the pain.” Well, I’ve been holding it up for about a month now. It still hurts.

They put this big metal thing on my finger to protect it. I don’t know what they call them, finger protectors, I guess. I felt a bit like Lurch or another monster of some sort, practically dragging my huge finger on the ground instead of my knuckles.

Needless to say, computers and keyboards became a bit difficult with a huge metal finger. I became pretty good with practice, using one hand and two fingers on the other hand. About the time I became a seven-finger keyboard master, however, I was able to remove the bandage in favor of a band-aid and life became nearly normal.

I had to return to the clinic numerous times for antibiotic shots, rechecks and getting the stitches out. The clinic became like a second home. The receptionist and nurse knew me by my first name and I was almost part of the family.

Once a little kid came up to me in the waiting room and said, “What happened to your finger?” I told him how I cut it doing yard work, and he showed me the cut on his foot. We sympathized with each other and had a nice chat about stitches, and tetanus shots.

Next time a kid asks, though, I’m going to have a better story ready. How about, “I was bitten by an alligator!” Or “A pirate tried to cut my finger off to steal my ring!” Or “I was attacked by a shark while swimming!” or … well, you get the point. Something a bit more adventurous would be more interesting.

No one really wants to hear about an encounter with a pruning saw. How mundane! Mostly people think, “Why don’t you learn to be more careful!” Of course, they don’t know what a nasty disposition my pruning saw has.

Wouldn’t ya know it had to be my ring finger that was injured? Now I’ll have a big ugly scar when I try to look dazzling. Of course, it will be a while before the swelling goes down enough to think about wearing jewelry anyhow.

You don’t have to sympathize about my ouchie if you don’t want to. Just don’t get too smart with me, though, or I might have to hit you with my metal finger. Get your alligator story ready.

Copyright 2001 Sheila Moss
Posted in Health, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Self Improvement

I was reading a magazine the other day and noticed some suggestions for self-improvement. While these suggestions were good, as far as they went, they just didn’t seem to quite cover all the alternatives for me.


Eat light and read something inspirational. Why not read something light, like a Dilbert cartoon, and eat something inspirational like a granola bar?

Greet others in a positive way. Could this just be a polite way of saying “Brush your teeth and use mouthwash?”

Be organized and make a to-do list. If it is worth doing, I somehow feel I should just do it instead of spending my time making lists.

Change your attitude. Coffee helps a lot. In the morning the dog had better not get between the coffeepot and me, or I may growl louder than he does.

Recapture past successes. Does this mean I can potty train my grandchild since I successfully showed kitty the litter box?

Count your blessings. If you can’t think of any good ones, is it okay to count troubles? Or maybe I could just count sheep and go back to sleep?

Get advice from others. If anyone has trouble with this one, my mother-in-law would be glad to help.

Think of something you would like to stop doing. I have a feeling that quitting your job is not an option here.

Be creative. But not while driving in rush hour traffic! There are times to be creative and times to conform.

Play music. Unless you work in the cubicle next to someone in which case you may want to keep your MP3 file to yourself.

Exercise. I suppose watching an aerobic video does not count, regardless of how much it wears me out.

Write down negative thoughts and then tear up the paper. Well, there goes next week’s column!

Visualize yourself the way you want to be. You’ll still be old and fat; you just won’t have to admit it to yourself.

Don’t give up. Yes, if you sit in traffic long enough, eventually you’ll get home – unless you run out of gas first, that is.

Reward yourself for saving money by getting something you really want. But what I really want is to spend the money instead of saving it.

Plan a vacation to have something to look forward to. Looking forward to dinner is good enough for me.

Just as I suspected, it’s totally hopeless. But think of the money I’ve saved by staying just the way I am. Maybe I could use it on something I really need, like more self-improvement magazines,

Copyright 2001 Sheila Moss
Posted in Health, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Spaghetti Supper


Okay, I think it’s about time that you learn to cook! We will start with something easy and fun – spaghetti! It is impossible to eat a food as silly as spaghetti without a smile. It is something that anyone can fix quickly and also makes a great meal for unexpected company. You only need three ingredients to make spaghetti: noodles, sauce, and ground beef. Some people leave the meat out, but what kind of meal is that?

We will start by cooking the noodles. Use your largest pot so it won’t boil over during cooking. Here is a trick I’ve learned for cooking long spaghetti. First, bring the water to a boil. Then insert the spaghetti noodles and let them soften on one end to wind them around in the pot and avoid breaking them in half. You are on the way to being a gourmet chef already.

Next, unwrap the hamburger. I hope you bought the lean beef or you will end up with a big pan of grease. Crumble the meat into a hot skillet and brown it. Drain off all the extra grease. Oh no, you got the cheap hamburger, didn’t you? Look at all that grease! NO! Don’t drain it in the sink! Too late… Well, maybe it won’t clog the drain.

Okay, now open the jar of spaghetti sauce and add it to the browned meat. Turn the heat on low and let it simmer. Some people make their own spaghetti sauce, but that is definitely too advanced for a beginner. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to spend hours making spaghetti sauce anyhow when we have Ragu.

By now the noodles should be about done. The only way to know for sure is to remove one and test it. It should be tender, but not mushy. They are all stuck together? Haven’t you been stirring them? Well, try to get that blob separated. Next time use a little olive oil in the water and it will help with this problem. At least we used the big pot and they didn’t boil over, well, at least not much. We can clean it up later.

Remove the glob of noodles and place them in a colander to drain. What do you mean, what is a colander? It looks like a bowl with holes in it. You don’t have one? Great! Well, drain the water off the best you can. Maybe the boiling water will help unclog the grease in the drain.

Rinse the noodles in hot water. Why do you have to rinse them when they are already wet? It gets rid of the extra starch. Don’t argue with me! Just rinse the noodles and drain them. You will never learn to cook at this rate!

Okay, we need to make a decision at this point. Do we want to serve the sauce over the spaghetti or do we want to stir them together before serving? I like to stir them together as it gives the noodles a chance to absorb some of the sauce. Also, it will give the noodles a chance to finish cooking since you didn’t let them get quite done.

What is that smell? The spaghetti sauce! I told you to turn it on low! LOW! Don’t you know that tomato sauce burns easily? I don’t know about you, but I’m about feed up with this mess. Cooking class is closed. While I go take the battery out of the smoke alarm, throw that lump of noodles in the garbage disposal and let’s get out of here! Does the Olive Garden take reservations?

Copyright 2001 Sheila Moss

Posted in Food, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Helpful Hints from a Mother-In-Law





SUBJECT: Helpful Hints from a Mother-in-Law

I’ve been meaning to talk to you for some time now about a matter I’m concerned about. I don’t mean to offend you, dear, but your housekeeping is just not up to par. I’ve noticed a number of things, and I just wanted to call them to your attention. My son is simply not used to living like that.

When I was younger, my house was absolutely spotless. Why, I scrubbed my kitchen floor on my hands and knees every day and then waxed it. It was so clean that you could practically eat off the floor! I realize that today’s floor coverings don’t need waxing, but that should make it even easier for you. I know you work all week and don’t have much time, but it really doesn’t really take that long just to mop the floor.

I’ve also noticed unwashed dishes in your sink. As I’ve said, I don’t mean to be critical, dear. I used to wash all my dishes by hand and dry them too. I put clean shelf paper in my cabinets every month. With all the modern conveniences women have these days, I can’t see any reason for having dirty dishes. With dishwashers, automatic washers and dryers and microwaves, women are just getting lazy. My mother used to wash her clothes with a tub and washboard. Thank goodness, I never had to do that, but I did hang out my clothes to dry on a clothesline. And I still managed to keep my dishes washed. Perhaps you just need to try a little harder, dear.

I’m afraid to even look into your bedroom to see if the beds are made. It gives me shivers to think that you probably don’t change the sheets every week. My sheets were always clean and spotless, and I had to iron them too – none of this polyester blend stuff like you have nowadays. I had white chenille bedspreads on every bed and no one ever saw them unmade. I just hope you are least making up my son’s bed every day so the sheets are not crumpled as well as dirty.

Finally, I’d like to mention the dust. Obviously, you are dusting around the dishes on the hutch instead of taking them off and dusting behind things. The tops of your curtain rods are filthy. You really need to get rid of the feather duster as it just stirs up the dust on the furniture. I’ve always polished all my furniture with lemon wax at least once a week. I highly recommend this if you want things to be really clean and shiny.

I won’t go into the need to sanitize the bathroom every day. Surely we do not need to discuss something this delicate. I will mention, however, that I could not help but notice how the towels were not folded and kept straight, and that the soap dish was a bit slimy. Dear, you surely can do better than this. I realize I’m not perfect, but I would never waste a bar of soap by letting it dissolve in a slimy soap dish.

As I said, dear, I don’t want to embarrass you, so I won’t even mention all the other things. I just wanted to call a few of the more obvious problems to your attention. I know I don’t keep a spotless house myself, but things were different when I was your age. I just can’t do as much now as I used to.

I’m sure you won’t mind me telling you about these teensy problems since it is for your own good. As I said, I know you are busy and have a lot of running around to do, but I just felt it was my duty to let you know about these problems. If I can help you to figure out any of your other shortcomings, be sure to let me know. I’m always glad to help. After all, what is family for?

I’m going to delete this email now, dear, and you will never see it. It took me a while to figure it out, but the best advice a mother-in-law can possibly give is the advice she has learned to keep to herself.

Copyright 2001 Sheila Moss
Posted in Health, Home, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Red, White and Blue


A strange affliction is sweeping the nation. It seems to manifest itself in a peculiar compulsion to display the colors red, white and blue around July 4th. Nearly everywhere you go, you see people wearing these colors prominently. There are lapel pins, scarves, ribbons and neckties that look like the flag. The American flag has become a smash fashion accessory that is being worn everywhere.

If this isn’t enough by itself, other strange phenomena seem to be taking place as well. Signs in front of businesses spell out bizarre messages, such as “United We Stand… Kids Eat Free.” I even saw a billboard with a picture of the Statue of Liberty.

There are unusual newspaper ads with pictures of the American flag. Indeed, there are American flags displayed everywhere you look: on flagpoles, in the windows of businesses, on homes, thumb tacked on office cubicles, on car antennas – even on fire engines which go screaming down the street with sirens blasting and the American flag flying in the wind.

Yes, Americans are afflicted with a severe case of what is commonly called “patriotism,” i.e. love of country. Though the people of the U.S. may fight and argue among themselves, they draw together on patriotic holidays to rally around the flag pole and support each other with visible symbols of their loyalty to their country. Some even proudly display Old Glory alongside the flag of their favorite football team.

I’m telling ya, it’s positively unbelievable! The other day I saw a Confederate Flag flying at half-mast.  The National Anthem is playing on the radio every time you turn around, even if the ballgame is canceled! I almost had to stand up and salute in the doctor’s waiting room yesterday as strains of the Star Spangled Banner drifted in from the lobby!

Patriotic songs are suddenly big hits and celebrities and artists rush to the microphone to get in on the act. Patriotism, which almost went out of style for a while, became the rage after 911.

Red, white, and blue without a doubt is the fashion scheme of choice for Independence Day. It has never been easier to be in style. If you don’t have a T-shirt with a flag on front, you can buy one at any drug store or supermarket these days.  You can’t even drive to the grocery store without seeing “God Bless America” on a church or gas station message board.

It is kind of nice to see people so enthusiastic. It’s sort of fun to see so many flags flying in the breeze and so much red, white and blue on display. Maybe I should go down to the local Walmart and see if I can get a flag. Maybe I should get two – one for my car also – while I’m there?

I feel a little flushed. Maybe if I hum a few verses of “America the Beautiful” it will help. This patriotism thing is really be contagious!

Copyright 2001-2017 Sheila Moss
Posted in Holidays, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Computer Crash

desktoppcIt had been a long day. Kicking off my shoes, I was ready to relax and unwind. I sat down at the computer, licked my lips and eagerly clicked the little envelope icon that would download my email.

My computer froze.

I sat there staring at it for a moment thinking that surely it was a temporary problem. Only another computer addict can really understand. I must have my computer! I rebooted.

I was already in a panic. “It must be a virus,” I concluded. “It has to be virus.” I went to my virus software to download an update. The computer froze again. I felt faint. The “blue screen of death” appeared – a fatal error. “Press any key to continue,” it taunted, so I hit a key.

The screen went black and I CRASHED.

This is bad, very bad, a major computer crash. I don’t have time for this. I want my email; I want to surf. I turned my computer off and rebooted. It came up in Safe Mode. For the computer illiterate among us, that is when the computer will not run but partially reloads Windows to allow you to fix the problem.

Fix the problem? FIX the problem? But I don’t know what to fix!

I restarted it again and again, praying the problem would magically go away, but it didn’t. Finally, I knew – I had to make that call to Computer Support. This was way too complicated for me to figure out. I felt sick. My computer was dead. If it has to go to the shop to be reprogrammed, it means no computer for a week or more. All my valuable files could be lost, and even worse there will be no email.

My heart was pounding and my forehead sweating as I suffered the first round of computer addiction withdrawal.

I grabbed my important papers scattering them everywhere, frantically searching for that 800 number. I was desperate. I thought I was a nerd, but I had totally crashed. I felt the tears begin to swell as I found the 800 number and dialed.

The first tech came on line with a deep southern drawl. I couldn’t understand a word she said. It was embarrassing, especially since I’m southerner too. “Put the Windows CD in; take it out and put in the recovery disk; go to DOS; scan the hard drive for errors.” She didn’t know what she was doing, I concluded. Finally, she decided to let the scan run and let me call back. “No errors found.” That figures.

I called back aggravated. “I need HELP!”

This time I got a geek, a sharp young tech named Josh that knew computers inside and out. I began to breathe again. I could tell he loved a challenge, and I had one for him.

“Go here, go there, and click this, run that, check this, uncheck that. What happened anyhow?” He joked. Nothing seemed to work. I was a basket case, ready for the guys with the straight jacket to come and take me away. “I think you have a corrupted file.” “It’s the video driver,” he said.

I sunk. It sounded hopeless. Josh just kept on working and talking me through the fix. At last, success. SUCCESS! My computer booted! That beautiful Windows music had never sounded so great.

“I think your problem is fixed,” Josh told me.

Thank goodness, somewhere there are young geeks that understand computers and how to make them perform. I was overwhelmed with relief. He said it took an hour. I swear it was more like three.

So here’s a cheer for Josh, where ever he is, and those others like him that listen to the groans and moans of users like me who don’t know what they are doing, but continue paddling upstream in the world of technology, desperately hoping the canoe won’t turn over.

Only another computer addict can really understand.

Copyright 2002 Sheila Moss
Posted in Humor, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

How Hot Is It?

sunIt has really been hot this summer, so hot I’m beginning to wonder if this is Tennessee or if the Sahara Dessert is migrating westward. The heat waves on the sidewalks lately are big enough to surf on. I can’t even remember the last time a cold front moved through. Spring and summer showers seem to sizzle and only create steam.

When I woke up this morning, I had been dreaming of winter. It’s probably because I keep the air conditioner turned down so low that I’m surprised it isn’t demanding overtime pay. The electric company will soon be sending me hate mail for not conserving energy — on the other hand, they should be sending love letters considering the rates they charge nowadays.

“Don’t sweat it,” I think, when I go outside to get in my car. Easy to say, but who am I kidding? I can feel the little rivers of sweat trickling down my back and my clothes starting to stick to me before I can get the car started. This vehicle is hotter than a red Corvette. I really don’t want to pump gas today, but I may stop at the convenience store anyhow. I think they still sell those flavored, slushy, crushed ice drinks.

I should have brought some ice for my overheated forehead, but I doubt if the refrigerator would give up its ice cubes without a struggle on a day like this. Was it only last winter when I said how much I hated ice and snow? Now those are my favorite words, along with “cold, freezing, chilly and sub-zero.”

My thermometer is having hot flashes. Maybe I need a vacation in a cooler place. I’ve heard it’s winter now in Australia. But I’d have to wait until my travel agent comes back from her cruise to Alaska.

Maybe I can go to the supermarket and hang out around the frozen foods section, or go shopping at the mall where it is cool. The air will be so frigid at the malls, however, that the plants will be frozen. The hotter it is outside, the more mall management seems to try to compensate. No wonder people are sick all summer! But it might be worth getting a cold if I were only sure I’d have chills instead of fever.

My main goal in life these days is to stay cool without a crisis. Wonder if the old cliché “cold hands, warm heart” works in reverse? This is one time that taking a cold shower seems like a good suggestion.

Is that a camel caravan on the interstate, or only a heat delusion? I need a drink of cold water. From now on, I’ll carry an ice cooler for emergencies. Would some one call me a paramedic if I get heat exhaustion? Even the beach umbrellas are looking for shade when the weather is like this.

Everyone complains about the weather. Maybe I could join the kids and play in the eruptions of cool water at the fountains on the mall plaza. Why is it that kids get to have all the real fun while adults only get the fun of complaining?

I used to have big, important things to worry about back when the weather permitted. Now my major concern is simply that I’ll run out of frozen yogurt before the day is done.

Copyright 2002 Sheila Moss
Posted in Humor, Rants, Weather | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Daddy’s Garden

paola-garcia-77090For as long as I can remember, daddy always wanted a vegetable garden, a place to grow his own produce. There were a few attempts with this in mind, but the weeds were very determined and his efforts never yielded much more than a few tomatoes. Eventually, life and work took over, and attempts were given up.

I was grown and married by the time mom and dad bought a house on the edge of town with a large empty lot out behind the garage. At last daddy had a place to grow his garden. He studied the seed catalogs that came in the mail and pondered about what he would plant.

Daddy had an old rusty tiller that someone gave him. He piddled with the motor to keep it running. In the spring daddy would plow the earth and get it ready for planting. The garden he planted was far too large for his needs, but he was not actually growing it for the food. He was growing it because he loved to work outside, to smell the fresh earth, and to see the seeds grow into plants and mature.

The garden was a place where you could nearly always find daddy on the weekends or when he was not at work. When I would visit, he would show the grandchildren his garden and the things that were growing. If there were any ripe tomatoes, he might even let the kids pick a few.

Daddy liked to grow a variety of things. That way if one vegetable failed or was eaten by the garden pests, he had other things to tend. In early spring he planted lettuce and green onions; later he would plant tomatoes and pepper plants, potatoes, beets, turnip greens, and green beans. He grew cucumbers for pickles, and squash and okra that mother would roll in cornmeal and fry in her iron skillet. Daddy didn’t grow corn because it took too much room and because the crows always ate it anyhow.

During the summer, you could never visit without dad telling mom, “Hon, give her some of those tomatoes to take home.” Daddy always grew far more than they could possibly eat, even though mother would freeze green beans, and anything else that could be frozen, and put it in the big freezer in the utility room. If it couldn’t be frozen, it could probably be pickled or canned in a mason jar.

Surplus produce was given to neighbors, friends, relatives, acquaintances, strangers or anyone else that wanted it. Later, the garden’s bounty was taken to the senior citizen center where seniors waited like vultures to see what dad would bring next. It pleased him to be able to give away the fruits of his labor.

When the rabbits came to sample the garden, daddy built an old wooden fence out of scrap lumber to keep them out. The rabbits probably rolled over laughing at it and hopped through a crack, but there was enough for the rabbits and everyone else he knew anyhow.

It must have been a lot of work to tend a garden so large, but daddy did it year after year until he became too old to work in the garden any more. The garden became smaller each year and finally was given up entirely. The last time I saw the garden, grass grew over the spot and there was no sign that a garden had ever been there. Funny, how the patch of land looked so much smaller than it did when daddy had a garden there.

Now daddy’s garden is only a memory and has returned to the earth that it came from. I can still see it in my mind just as it was when it was alive and thriving. And, as long as anyone remembers it, the garden will never die.

Copyright 2013 Sheila Moss
Posted in Crafts/Hobbies, Holidays, Humor, Plants/Gardening | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

The Lightning Bugs


Beautiful Forest with Fireflies by TSUNEAKI HIRAMATSU 2014 –

Firefly season is here. Every year about May or June, people start looking for information on fireflies, or “lightning bugs” as we commonly call them here in the South.

What it is about fireflies that seems to capture the imagination and make people want to understand them. Sure, kids are fascinated, but they are kids. It doesn’t take much to amuse a child.

All of us who grew up where fireflies were plentiful remember running barefoot through the cool grass, chasing the glowing bugs and catching them with our bare hands. Nothing was more thrilling than a jar full of captive sparkling lighting bugs. We were fascinated. We longed to save the beauty forever and hold it in our glass jar, traditionally with holes punched in the top for air.

We sometimes mutilated the bugs looking for the secret to the flash, but were never able to find it. Alas, when night became day, the fireflies were nothing but ugly bugs. We dumped them in disgust. Yet, we would return the next night to try again. Chasing and capturing the fairylike creatures of the night was a summer passtime for children.

Perhaps it is the memories that cause adults to return to look for firefly information, to seek to understand what was not understandable, but remained a source of wonder. Science can explain what we could only ponder about in our childish ways: a mixture of luciferin and luciferase, a chemical reaction between the two, a flash controlled by abdominal muscles.

Our adult mind seeks to comprehend all this, but our heart knows that they are magic! No, we no longer believe in magic because we are adults now and know that there is no such thing. Everything has an explanation and a reason. But the heart of hearts can still wish that it were so.

Here in Tennessee the lightning bugs have appeared. They seemed somewhat earlier this year than normal, perhaps because an unusually warm spring aided with the hatching of the glowworms and the maturing of the fireflies, who are actually beetles with two pairs of wings and not flies at all.

Now that I am older and wiser, I’ve learned that there are hundreds of species of fireflies and several can often be seen together. I’ve learned that moisture is what is needed to keep them alive, not air holes in the top of a jar. I’ve traveled and studied them and read articles, though I’ll freely admit that bugs are not really my forte.

In the western United States, fireflies are rarely, if ever, seen. It is difficult to imagine a warm summer night with no fireflies, California children growing up without the fireflies to light their way to maturity. In most of the states east of Kansas, however, their flashing dance brings joy to even the most seasoned cynic.

The firefly season is here. Take a moment to watch, to smile, to enjoy the simple pleasures. It is but a season, and like childhood, like life and like magic, it will soon be gone.

Copyright 2002 Sheila Moss
Posted in Creatures, Environment, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments