Yesterday, I was in the swimming pool waiting for my granddaughter when a little boy floated by on an inner tube. I guess they’re not inner tubes anymore, are they? An inflatable ring? Anyway, a couple of bugs floated by and he was trying to get them away from him. They were June bugs. I picked them up and showed him that they weren’t going to hurt him and he got very curious, touching them and feeling the tiny stickers on their feet. I finally took them to the side of the pool.


I’m not much for bugs, but that brought a rush of memories of the days of summer when we went looking for June bugs, lightning bugs, Lady bugs. None of those were very threatening. We also listened for the Cicadias, calling them locusts, and collected their discarded shells along with those of the June bugs. There was something mysterious about the hollow brown bug-shaped shells. I don’t remember what we did with them other than collect a bunch of them. Maybe we crunched them…


We let the June bugs, lightning bugs and Lady bugs crawl on our hands, feeling their little steps go up our hands and arms before they spread their wings and flew away. That’s what we did in the old days for summer entertainment, back when your parents didn’t worry about what was going to happen to you outside and we walked and ran for hours, coming in only to get a cool drink of water. We sat in the grass, looking for four leaf clovers, threading the clover blossoms into chains that we wore around our necks. Today, they’re just weeds in the yard. I need to make a clover chain for my grandkids…would they just think that was weird?

Yesterday was also a milestone for one of my kiddos. My 3 1/2 year old granddaughter had taken swimming lessons last month and did ok, putting her head under, finally jumping off the side of the pool, doing a kind of water bug swim that was not much form and a lot of wiggling. Yesterday, it all broke loose and she turned into a water baby, the kind that can’t get enough. She leaped off the side and began trying to swim, trying to coordinate her arms and legs, a spontaneous burst of all those lessons. Within an hour, she was pushing herself from the bottom to swim, swimming under our legs (with a push to get her down far enough), and actually doing it so naturally you would have thought she always had. The best part was the absolute look of glee on her face as she jumped and as she came up out of the water…every time. I could see the summer fun ahead of her for the rest of her life. She had turned from a little one into a kid right in front of us. She found some goggles with one lens missing and the other one loose and a snorkel and she splashed off, taking another step into childhood.


Summertime memories are full of sunshine and bugs and swimming children…at least some of the best ones are.