Lightning Bugs

Lightning Bugs

A Story by Gabalicious!

Here's a small snapshot of My youth.


            “If grass can grow on the ground, and clouds can fill the sky, what are lightning bugs for?”  My papa looked sideways at me and smiled, the wrinkles around his mouth deepening. 

“I don’t know.” 

The last of the setting sun twinkled off of his eyes as he lifted his mason jar to his mouth and emptied half the ice tea down his throat.  “Well, McGee, they mean something different to everyone.  Take a look at Johnny and your brother next door,” he said, pointing at the two kids across the yard taking swings at the little flecks of light floating in the air with whiffle ball bats.

            I walked over to the table and picked up papa’s mason jar and took a big gulp of its contents.  Above, last bursts of vibrant purple, orange, and red streaked the twilight sky, while over our yard, our own set of green flecks burst to life at shoulder height.  “I don’t know.  What do they mean to you papa?”

            He picked me up and sat me on his lap. I could smell the day’s work on his hands and in his clothes: freshly cut grass, barbeque smoke, and sweat from working in the July sun, a lazy mix of suburban life.  “They mean a couple of things to me.  First, they remind me of marrying your Gran.  We had a party after the wedding and during dinner there were lightning bugs all around us.”  He turned the gold wedding band around his third finger.  “Second, they remind me that its that time of year to mow the lawn and plant the garden.”  He popped his knee, briefly bouncing me into the air.  “But the most important thing they do is they keep me company after dinner when I sit out on the porch and rest after a hard day.”

            “Like tonight?”  I lifted the jar to my mouth.  Its big rim pushed against my forehead and my warm breath returned cooled by the tinkling ice cubes floating in the jar. 

            “Just like tonight.”  He looked out over the yard.  “So what do they mean to you?”

            I hopped down from his lap and started to twirl in circles in the grass, “They mean I don’t have to wear my mittens or my smelly winter hat.”  I spun a few more times and collapsed dizzy.

            Those were my favorite nights: my brother put to bed or playing with the neighbor, my Gran doing the dishes or watching the Tonight Show with my mother, and me with Papa all to myself.  We didn’t always talk; in fact, I think we didn’t talk more than we did, but, together, we sat on the front porch and watched the lightning bugs float around the yard. .

My papa and I live a thousand miles apart now, but when get the chance I sit out on my front porch with my wife, close my eyes and smell the fresh cut lawn, and take myself back to the memories of what lightning bugs mean to me.

© 2008 Gabalicious!

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What a sweet story. I can see the whole thing in my head. :)

Posted 10 Years Ago

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Added on February 9, 2008
Last Updated on February 14, 2008



Denver, CO

I was born and raised in Chicago, where my family still lives. Thanks to them I have a large amount of material to draw from in regards to my writing. I have finished several short stories, one of whi.. more..