Monday, June 11, 2007
Three or four weeks ago our little friends began their journey up out of the ground to party. Yes, I'm talking about the 17 year Cicada. I love these things! My first experience with them as a kid was a boy's dream come true. A billion cool bugs to play with. You could not walk on the sidewalk without reenacting a scene from Godzilla (me) and hundreds of puny Japanese citizens (the bugs)...Stomp, Stomp. I can't even tell you how many wings I pulled off to make my Cicada wing stain glassed window project (glued em to a paper plate). My favorite thing was to pick the up by the wings and hold them in my hand, shake them a bit and listen to the crazy unique buzzing chirp they make. Now you will be glad to know that is the only thing from my boyhood I still do.
When I was a kid a team from U of I came out to Western Springs to do bug counts on trees. We were in awe of these guys especially when it came time for lunch. They were pulling the white transitional Cicada from their shells and popping them in their mouths. HOW COOL IS THAT? I had four guys I ran with back then and we dug in our pockets to raise enough money to pay another kid to eat one. Steve Hoadley was his name, loved that guy, let me drive his car when I was only 15. Married and lives in Gurnee...I digress. Steve agrees to eat one for a buck fifty. We stood in a semi-circle as the U of I guys showed him how to do it. Slowly the bug comes out of the shell and Steve holds it by his mouth. The College guys advise him not to look at it so what does he do? Of course, he looks at it squirming around. He closed his eyes and popped it in. On the first chew the bug came out along with his breakfast, heck I think I even saw the Milkduds he ate the week before, I even saw the mythical undigested gum that lives in your stomach for seven years laying on the ground (y'all ever hear that one?) We gave him the money, well deserved. Even though he puked, he still has bragging rights to this day. My brother had a friend that pulled the heads off of at least fifty of the beetle stage Cicadas and threaded them on a string and made a necklace. the heads continued to move for several hours, how cool was that?
Every time I see and hear the drone of the mating call of the these little friendly guys, the flood of childhood memories comes back...
If you have them, get outside and play with these harmless creatures, be sure to check out the beauty of the wings...amazing