Fly Free!

Here in the Northeast, we have far fewer bugs and critters that get into the house than we did when we lived in Texas. My Yankee-kids have never become accustomed to having many insects in the house. Consequently, they haven’t grown up with the aversion to the creepy crawlies that I have. Whenever a cricket, fly or spider have courageously entered our domain, the kids want it out…but they want it kept alive [heavy sigh]. So to indulge them, we have perfected the plastic container method of slamming it over the creature, securing the open end with a piece of cardboard and releasing the insect out the door with a hearty toss and a farewell benediction of “Fly free!”

It has become a tradition to shout to the little bugsfirefly.  Last week, a firefly got into the house. Not a big deal during the day, but a bioluminescent insect in a dark bedroom will illuminate the area like your own personal supernova…every few seconds…and make it pretty hard to sleep!  We liberated the lightening bug, but it tried to fly right back inside. I guess it didn’t want to leave. Maybe it felt safer indoors, protected from its natural predators. But did I mention we have indoor cats who like to hunt things that flit about?  So we conducted a second, successful rescue mission. 

It’s our own family catch and release program. Ordinarily, I would not have a problem scooping up an ant and giving it a “burial at sea”  or sending it off to Flushing, Queens. (Although my grandmother always insisted that if you kill a spider, it would rain. She seemed to be pretty accurate with that wives’ tale — or maybe spiders just come out right before it is going to rain anyway).  But some varmints are a little harder to heartlessly dispatch — like the fireflies. 

Later this summer, it will be time to pack up my son and his stuff in plastic containers, drive him hours away to college, and shout “Fly free!”  This will probably be one of the hardest catch and release occasions we will ever do (that is until his younger sister goes to college, too). So I leave you with several variations on a theme found on the internet:  “If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it’s yours forever…”

  • …If it doesn’t, then it was never yours to begin with. If it comes back, love it forever.
  • …If it doesn’t, hunt it down and kill it.
  • …If it comes back to you, you have a stalker!
  • …If, however, it just sits on your couch watching TV, eating your food and making a mess, you probably married it or gave birth to it.
  • …If it comes back to you before you let it go, it probably found a time machine and has returned from the future to wreak horrible vengeance.

So, this summer, fly free, my sweet little boy (who is not little anymore)! And after flying out in the world, feel free fly back inside once in a while.

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