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    Growing up, we spent the summers at my grandfather’s house outside Nashville, Tennessee. Our parents “let” us go without them—even encouraged it—which meant they spent the entire summer without us. For some odd reason, they looked forward to summer vacation as much as we did.

    At the time, the area was fairly rural (near the intersection of Hillsboro Pike and Old Hickory Blvd for those of you familiar with Nashville who want to chuckle at the memory of that being rural). Otter Creek ran along the side of his property and we played in the creek endlessly. He had a huge garden in the backyard where we learned the delicacies of eating sweet corn straight off the stalk and consumed far more strawberries than ever hit the basket we were dispatched with. Our grandfather even “let” us mow his field (apparently the same Tom Sawyer logic my parents had used).

    My mother had a horse growing up, so there was a horse barn, but he no longer kept them. The people on either side did, though, which added to the mystique.

    On summer evenings, he helped us fashion mason jars with nail holes punched in the lids so we could catch lightning bugs. For those of you not from the South, those are fireflies. They floated above the grass, flicking their lights. Before the evening was out, we let all of them go.

    I hadn’t notice them much in recent years. Our house in Maggie may have been at too high an altitude and the house in Murrells too low (can’t get much lower than sea level). Too my surprise, though, we are perfectly situated at our new home in Asheville.

    For the last few weeks, we go out in the evening with the dogs for last turnout and the yard is glowing with their blinking. Dozens and dozens—maybe hundreds—of them softly fly about.

    We are often mesmerized by the big predators in the animal world. Mother Nature provides us coyotes and wolves, bobcats and mountain lions, alligators and crocodiles, hawks and eagles, bears and sharks, and much more. I love seeing these amazing creatures with their awesome power.

    On a quiet summer evening, though, I am in awe of the peaceful beauty of our surroundings. The sun sets and darkness grows while insects flutter about with the inaudible flap of their wings. We know of their presence mostly through the magical flicker of their beacon.

    I realized I wasn’t alone in amazement. To my side was one of my dogs, head tilted, eyes wide, watching the blinking on and off. He didn’t try to catch them, but watched in wonder. When it was time to go inside, he resisted.

    So we sat a little longer.

    Books I’m Reading

    Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot is one of the great scary books I read as a kid as I mentioned last week, so I had to re-read it. The story holds up well nearly fifty years later.

    Ben Mears returns to Jerusalem’s Lot, the town of his haunted childhood, to work on his newest book. When two young boys venture into the woods and only one returns, Ben realizes evil still resides there. He suspects it’s centered on the Marsten House, a place of legend in the town’s history and nightmares in Ben’s own memories.

    The Marsten House has recently been sold to an Austrian immigrant named Kurt Barlow, but no one has seen him yet. They know only his business partner, Richard Straker. Ben comes to suspect that Barlow is an ancient vampire, attacking and killing residents who rise from the dead to stalk their own families and friends.

    Ben finds few allies who accept his theories, but joins forces with twelve-year-old Mark Petrie to do battle with the rapidly expanding vampire forces.

    This is King’s second published novel (after Carrie which brought his name into public view) and shows his mastery in creating numerous characters you come to know—before he kills them.

    NOTE: The ebook is currently on sale for only $1.99 at all the major retailers I checked (my links can be found if you click on the cover of the book above). I don’t know when the sale will end, so I clicked over on Kobo—my preferred e-retailer—and bought my copy.

    Interesting Link

    If you enjoyed today’s story about fireflies, you may like this article in our local newspaper—A Firefly Season Recap from the Experts.

    It’s mating season for black bears, so they are roaming all over our mountains. In general they are fairly docile animals, but sometimes events happen to remind us they are wild animals. My thoughts are with the girl recently mauled in the park (aka, Great Smoky Mountains National Park for those of you who don’t live here). Note the camping restrictions now in place and take this as a reminder to give these beautiful creatures plenty of respect if you see one.

    Gratuitous Dog Picture

    No, this isn’t Landon’s face when he saw the fireflies (you can tell because it’s daylight!), but this is the face he makes when he sees or does something cool to him. As our wonder boy—the dog who is always amazed at things that happen around him—he makes this look often. In this case, he had just been balancing on the benches in the backyard.

    Background title image courtesy Toan Phan

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    1. Jean Burkhardt on June 21, 2021 at 6:36 am

      LOVE the Monday Musings -as far as my childhood in New Jersey-we did the same thing with Mason jars to catch what we called-LIGHTNING BUGS! It’s amazing how as children who grew up in different places but seem to do a lot of the same things! Your parents were VERY sly to LET you go to your grandparents place in the summer!

      Gotta LOVE Landon’s face-always cool!

    2. Debbie and Ruby on June 21, 2021 at 9:33 am

      How ironic that you write on lightning bugs today. Last Wed-Fri we were camping in VT and watched the lightning bugs each night. We have not seen any around our home in NY in a few years and it was good to see they are still surviving. Landon notices the world around him, Ruby was content to sleep thru the light show. Monday Musings are great.

    3. Juno's mom on June 21, 2021 at 10:11 am

      That’s a real ‘yippee’ expression. What a cutie!

    4. Hokie Pack on June 21, 2021 at 12:26 pm

      I too used to catch lighting bugs – what we called them in SW VA!! So fun and when life was simpler or so it seems!

      Love Boom’s smile! Our Fuzzball has the same look of happy joy over the silliest things ?

    5. chris on June 21, 2021 at 1:27 pm

      It is really neat to watch the lightning bugs at night here in the Midwest. At dusk, they appear to be floating up from the grass. Later in the dark, there are so many of them that they appear to be flashing lights on a Christmas tree out by our pond area. That is why I love being a night owl because of all the wonderous things that come out in the dark.

    6. Laura K. on June 21, 2021 at 6:17 pm

      We have the blue ones up here on Worlds Edge saw them one night and the grandchildren had similar looks to Landon as we creep up the stone drive away from the lights of the cabin! An amazing memory for all three generations….

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