culture, family, life, parenting, pop culture, random thoughts

Lightning bugs or fireflies?

Here in the South, they’re lightning bugs.

logo designOne of the clearest memories I have of when I was 4 or 5 is when I stayed out late to catch lightning bugs. Dad claimed that he used to catch lightning bugs when he was a kid and put them in a jar, and that’s how he had enough light to read at night.

I’m pretty sure he was kidding.

Anyway, I saw my first lightning bug of the year tonight. We were driving home after Game 1 of Thing 1’s softball tournament. (It was ugly, but we won 11-7.)

Thing 1 saw them first, then Thing 2, then I did. School’s out, it was in the 90s today, but seeing those lightning bugs really made it feel like summer.

Photo by jamelah (Flickr)

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39 thoughts on “Lightning bugs or fireflies?

  1. I am from Philadelphia, PA… we always called ‘em lightning bugs.. I used to sit and watch them for hours, and try to guess where they’d light up next.
    :) Thanks for the flashback!

    Darlene

  2. I’m from Philadelphia, PA. We always called ‘em Lightning Bugs…
    I used to like to see them flash and then guess where they’d light up next.
    Thanks for takin’ me back a couple decades :)

    Darlene

    • Reminds me of that old Far Side cartoon where a bunch of ants had managed to squeeze a fat kid into their ant colony. The caption was, “It was late, and I was tired.”

  3. In Maryland they’re lightening bugs too! I’ve only heard them called fireflies in movies and literature. Wonderful creatures…hard to classify them as bugs.

  4. We called them lightning bugs when I lived in the city growing up and then when I moved to the country after I got married they called them fireflies.

    Whatever the name…I love them and watch expectantly for the first to appear around here this season.

  5. I grew up in Chemung County, New York. It’s on the Pennsylvania border about halfway between NYC and Buffalo. I grew up calling them lightning bugs AND fireflies. We also called it pop AND soda, depending on mood.

    Best of both worlds.

    • Pop. Definitely pop, although, here in the South, the generic for “pop” is still sometimes “Coke.” i.e.

      “I’ll have a Coke.”

      “What kind?”

      “Root beer.”

    • You know, Maryland borders the Mason-Dixon line, but I don’t consider it a Southern state. You’re part of that New York-Washington, D.C. corridor. Tell me this: Do you go “to the beach” or “down the shore?” Also, have you ever poured peanuts in your glass bottle of Coke? Also, true or false: “The Andy Griffith Show” is the best TV show, ever.

      • I’m going back in my mailbox and I missed this one. Permit me to answer on Thoughts’ behalf:

        Those in the general Baltimore (“Bawlmer”) vicinity say “downy oshun, hun,” except in certain circumstances. “To the beach” is the “fireflies” equivalent to “downy oshun… .”

        I’ve crossed the Mason Dixon line a couple of times, noticing no particular effects.

        They were always lightning bugs to us, and the first sighting of the year is still a wondrous event to me. There are lot of pretty song titled Fireflies,” though. Lori McKenna and Ellis Paul are the first two that come to mind.

  6. They’ve always been lightning bugs to me, but I think that “firefly” is a more poetic name.
    I haven’t seen any around here yet. Gotta keep my eyes out for them!

    • True fact: There’s a brood of lightning bugs in the Smoky Mountains that flash in sync with one another. The only other place where that happens is parts of Asia.

  7. Definitely lightnin bugs. Hell, our local electric company had Louie the Lightning Bug as their mascot for children to learn more about down power lines and stuff.

  8. Funny, I was just thinking about lightning bugs and wondering when they’d appear. Last night, when I escorted my dog outside for his final bathroom call of the day, I looked hard for some twinkling but sadly found none — while it feels warm and sticky enough for them, it must be a tad too early. They’ll arrive though, and my dog will be back to trying to catch them!

  9. Michelle W. says:

    It’s soooooooo lightning bugs and coke. And as for is Maryland a part of the north or south. . . here you get unsweetened tea when you order tea. You have to either ask for sweet tea or put sugar in your own serving. So to me, Maryland is in the north. :-)

    • If you have to sweeten your own iced tea, you’re up North. (I remember when I went to Maine, and they had iced tea “in season.” That’s really North. When isn’t it iced tea season?)

  10. Anyone fluent in Twanglish knows they are lightning bugs. The real question is: are you one of those sickos who squash them and paint yourself with bioluminescence, or are you on a catch-and-release policy?

    And yes, Coke is a generic term.

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