Friday, May 08, 2009

A Buggy Friday Five

Rev Gal Sophia, who lives in California, says:

As I was walking the beach today, I was surprised to find it swarming with ladybugs. The sweet little red beetles are one of my favorite insects and also my daughter's blogname... This got me thinking about spiritual insect trivia: Did you know that medieval mystics and theologians esteemed the bee for its dedicated work and transformation of ordinary ingredients into sweetness? That Spider Woman is an important creator Goddess to many Native American tribes? Or that Francis of Assisi was reminded of Jesus not only by lambs being led to slaughter, but also by worms (think "I am a worm and no man" from the Psalms)-- so he picked them up and took them out of stomping-vulnerable spots?!

In that spirit, this week's Friday Five is a magical mystery tour through God's garden of creepy crawlies!

1. Ladybugs or ladybirds? Pillbugs or roly-polys? Jesus bugs or water skeeters? Any other interesting regional or familial name variations?

Ladybugs. I used to love them until they were replaced in these parts by those annoying, smelly, biting, ladybug impostors, the Asian beetle. I don't think I have seen an honest to goodness ladybug in a long while. We don't have roly-poly bugs up here, but I remember them from California, and we called them roly polys or doodlebugs. Never heard of a Jesus bug or water skeeter??? They walk on water?

2. Stomp on spiders, carry them outside, or peacefully co-exist?

I am happy to co-exist with spiders in nature. I love spider webs, and I find spiders pretty fascinating generally. I mean, have you not read Charlotte's Web? But any spider who is foolish enough to come in my house is gonna get squished. Pronto.

3. Favorite insect?

Favorite? Hmmm...I don't have a favorite insect. See number one. I find many of them interesting, however. When I was a kid I had an ant farm.

4. Least favorite?

Cockroaches. UGH UGH and UGH. I could tell you disgusting stories from our days of military housing...Washington DC, North Carolina...but I will refrain. Suffice it to say that I once almost had hysterics just from seeing a cockroach. I'll tell you why in a minute.

5. Got any good bug stories to share?

Here is my roach story. In Oceanside, California, we lived in a charming (NOT) housing area for enlisted families called (ironically) Sterling Homes. They should have been condemned. They were WW 2 barracks that had been converted into housing, and they were pretty much reminiscent of "project housing." Ugh. They were roach infested. Periodically the bug exterminators would come through and we would have to pile everything in the center of the living room floor so they could do major bug killing. This resulted in a horrible stench of fumes, concerns that our brains were losing brain cells, totally disrupted lives---and about one week of roach-free living. The roaches, of course, just hopped over to a building that was not being fumigated and then returned when the coast was clear. The USMC would issue memos about how to keep a "clean" house. This would make me FURIOUS. I mean, it is not like just keeping one's counters crumb free will guarantee roaches will flee. Did you know that one of the cockroach's favorite foods is the glue of book bindings? Even to think of those days, and the pitter patter of little roach feet in the dark, makes me a little queasy.

Okay, here is the story. We carried those disgusting, filthy insects with us across country...and then when finally about to leave the military and head to N. Dakota to continue our education we started all out war. We fumigated, sprayed our furniture, sprayed every box before we packed it--and more. Ah, we figured nothing could survive our onslaught. Just to be safe we set off three bug bombs inside the U Haul truck before we headed west.

When we arrived, the U Haul floor was covered with bugs and egg sacks!

Still with me?

We just knew we were finally done with roaches.

We were wrong.

One day I saw ONE roach on the counter. I cried...I yelled...I mean I was seriously distraught. If one roach is on the many more lie in wait? We packed up the kiddos and we left town. But before doing so, we left the windows open. It was North Dakota, and it was November, and it was frigid. When we returned, about three days later, we did find a few dead bugs. But that was, at last, the end of the coexistence of the Owl family and the bugs. It has been a long time, but if I saw a cockroach these days I'm sure I'd still freak.

Bonus question: share a poem, song, quotation, etc. about insects.

Here is one that used to be one of my mother's favorites.

The Spider and the Fly

Mary Howitt

Will you walk into my parlour?" said the Spider to the Fly,
'Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I've a many curious things to shew when you are there."

Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne'er come down again."
"I'm sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?" said the Spider to the Fly.
"There are pretty curtains drawn around; the sheets are fine and thin,
And if you like to rest awhile, I'll snugly tuck you in!"
Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "for I've often heard it said,
They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed!"
Said the cunning Spider to the Fly, "
Dear friend what can I do,
To prove the warm affection I 've always felt for you?
I have within my pantry, good store of all that's nice;
I'm sure you're very welcome -- will you please to take a slice?"

"Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "kind Sir, that cannot be,
I've heard what's in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!"
"Sweet creature!" said the Spider, "you're witty and you're wise,
How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes!
I've a little looking-glass upon my parlour shelf,
If you'll step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself."
"I thank you, gentle sir," she said, "for what you 're pleased to say,
And bidding you good morning now,
I'll call another day."

The Spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly Fly would soon come back again:
So he wove a subtle web, in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready, to dine upon the Fly.
Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing,
"Come hither, hither, pretty Fly, with the pearl and silver wing;
Your robes are green and purple -- there's a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead!"

Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little Fly,
Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by;
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew,
Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue --
Thinking only of her crested head -- poor foolish thing!
At last, up jumped the cunning Spider, and fiercely held her fast.

He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den,
Within his little parlour -- but she ne'er came out again!
And now dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly flattering words, I pray you ne'er give heed:
Unto an evil counsellor, close heart and ear and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale, of the Spider and the Fly.

The creepy thing is, I once had to deal with a couple of church folks who put me in mind of this poem--flattery often hides evil intentions.

Wow! Who knew a Friday Five would bring back such lovely reflections? Heh heh...


altar ego said...

Roaches. Ugh. They like the glue that holds together cardboard boxes, too! Thanks for the memories, LOL!!

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

OOOhhhhh your story makes me gag and shiver! I hate roaches!

Jane said...

Yes war on roaches is something I very much understand. Have you ever seen the movieHairspray it has a dance sequence called the roach - quite funny.
Love the spider and the fly - took me right back.
Have a good weekend

Barbara B. said...

Yesss! Cockroaches are no match for Dakota winters! Bwahahaha!

MaineCelt said...

Somewhere, maybe in a carboard box, I have a sweet old-fashioned little poetry book-- I think it's "Chimneysmoke Tales" by Christopher Marley?--and he has a whole cycle of quaint, whimsical little poems, cockroaches. They're similar in style to "The Spider and the Fly" and they make great read-aloud pieces for dinner parties--as long as nobody's eating, of course!

Bad Alice said...

When I lived in NYC and had a roach problem, we stuffed every possible crevice with steel wool and laid a line of boric acid. Worked great (of course trying to seal and entire house with steel wool would be rather tiring). The bugs had hitched a ride form a friends cardboard boxes that stopped by our apt while she moved. Ugh.

As for glue--roaches are a good reason not to lick envelopes.

Dr Laura Marie Grimes said...

I forgot about the Spider and the Fly-great one.

And what an incredible roach story. Ugh.

LoieJ said...

My son and his new-wife-to-be will be moving to another part of the US later this year, most likely a roachy area. Yuk. We aren't used to that here.

RevSis said...

Eeewww on the roaches! I can't stand them either and God knows we had plenty of them in South Texas. I remember visiting my parents and trying to kill one with a broom...I whacked at it and it up and flew right at me! I ran out of there screaming my head off....

Grady said...

Just couldn't help but answer the same set of questions -
1. Pillbugs or roly-polys?

"Armadillo bugs"!

2. Stomp on spiders, carry them outside, or peacefully co-exist?

Mostly co-exist (see # 5), but once I got married, indoor co-existence went out the window!

3. Favorite insect?

Scarabs! ... Closely followed by the Golden Orb spider (I know, spiders aren't insects ;-) ) and her incredible webs!

4. Least favorite?

Totally agree - Cockroaches!

5. Got any good bug stories to share?

Within a week of my becoming a Christian, I was reading Proverbs 30:28 (in the KJV) - "The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces." The "king's palace" part didn't exactly describe the converted garage I was living in at the time, but that very night, I had a North American Tarantula walk across my floor - and the next day a Black Widow took up residence in a crack in my cinder-block wall! I will never again forget that verse!

Bonus question: share a poem, song, quotation, etc. about insects.

The web has been spun
Wait now for my dinner -
In summer's patience

DesertRose said...

I remember "Sterling" homes in Oceanside. I didn't live there mind you, but I used to go visit friends and visit the community center there for YMCA courses and Bible studies. I can remember that he roaches there and in some of the apts out in town were horrid. Thank God they've torn them down and built better housing on base.