: cicadas and summer camp :

campThroughout history, women have been characterized as chatterboxes, windbags, motormouths, and et cetera. According to legend, we never shut up. I’d like to upset that little applecart right here and right now. Men are the big, fat blabbermouths. At least in the world of bugs — entomology to you brainy, scientific types.

Cicadas, defined as a homopterous insect with long, transparent wings, are a raucous bunch. We hear them on summer nights, filling the air with their loud, insistent droning. Maybe they’re partying, maybe they’re arguing, we don’t know. We do know the noise is the result of two membranes vibrating on their itty-bitty abdomens. Male abdomens. Not a peep from the females in the group . So, ha, take that.

cicadaYesterday I heard them at lunch. That’s not good. When they pipe up during the daytime my heart sinks, free-falls into my shoes. Do you know what the sound of cicadas during daylight means? Summer is ending. Whoa, whoa, back up, has that been scientifically proven? Beats me, but I believe it. Summer is on the wane and I hate that.

Guess what other horror daytime cicadas unleash. Atrocious memories of summer camp: the food, the showers, the latrines, no TV, and that ever-present smell — leaf mold and mildew with a soupçon of latrine. Nose plugs should’ve been on the list of recommended equipment for campers to bring. It wasn’t. I spent two long weeks holding my nose, trying hard not to breathe.

You may be surprised to learn I was a member of the Girl Scouts. A Brownie, too. I’m just not cgirl_scoutlear on why my association with them ended — I think I quit, but suspension can’t be ruled out. Or expulsion. Girl Scout camp was probably the cause. I didn’t thrive there. I like indoor plumbing and electricity, the modern conveniences, always have.

Besides, Kumbaya is a drippy song, as is Michael Row Your Boat Ashore. Campfires and marshmallows are a good mix, though. And on two excellent occasions we crawled into barrels lined with quilts and got shoved down a hill. Whoever thought that up was a genius, in my 10-year old opinion. If we could’ve rolled down hills in a barrel all day everyday I wouldn’t have minded the smell. As much.

The tents we stayed in were straight out of M*A*S*H. Sturdy canvas jobs on wooden platforms, the flaps rolled up, slept four to a tent. We were perched high atop a steep ridge in heavily wooded surroundings. Every morning at the crack of dawn we were forced into a line, single-file, for a head count and the march to, urp, breakfast.

One morning, as I waited with pillow creased face and hair poking out, I glanced at the girl behind me. Her name was Susie, hand to God it was. I did a double take. Her face was covered in scratches and welts and bruises, swollen, she looked like a prizefighter, post-fight. ‘Holy cow,’ I gasped, ‘what happened?’  ‘I fell out of bed and rolled down the hill,’ she answered.

I laughed until my knees went weak. First aid would have been the appropriate Girl Scout response.

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23 thoughts on “: cicadas and summer camp :

  1. My crazyazzed mother put me in Girl Scouts just to send me to camp one summer. It didn’t work out the way she planned, I was not a good camper. To this day, my idea of camping is a hotel without room service.

    Cicadas in Texas, hell we keep them as pets and give them names. Don’t be sad, we still have another eight weeks of summer.


    1. Not up here. It’s in the 50s overnight. In August.

      You know, if I thought it would make it through winter I’d grab a cicada out of the yard, name it Stan, and keep it the house. Thanks for the swell idea! We can’t have pets in these apartments, but a cicada? No one would be the wiser.


  2. I remember living on the east coast when it was the surfacing of the cicadas after their 17-year sleep or something outrageously dramatic like that. Is that the time your memories of summer camp took place? I remember that year very vividly! That must have been…. 12 years ago or so?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, it was decades ago and it was August then, too. The cicadas chirped their hearts all day. School started shortly after and summer was kaput. Ever since, cicadas in the daytime break my heart.


  3. Whoa…jogged a few bad memories for me on this one. Felt like such an outsider as all the other girls seemed so happy?!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, Barb! How the heck are you? I wish we’d shared a tent or been there at the same time, at least.

      We were tested for swimming ability and I sobbed the entire length of the pool, not even bothering to turn my head to breathe. No one knew I was such a crybaby that way. I was miserable.


  4. I made it as far as Junior Cadet before we moved to Godforsaken North Dakota, & my small town didn’t have enough girls for a troop. I spent at least 3 summers at Camp Gaywood (handtagawd, the nickname was “Camp Happy Logs”). Caught a humdinger of an ear infection from the lake one year, & my mom came to fetch me. I hallucinated for 3 days, because my fever was so high it was cooking my grey matter. Ahhh, the good ole days…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I only went to camp once in my youth. Hated every minute of it until the last day. We played Capture the Flag and it was a blast! As soon as I started to feel like I didn’t want to leave, mom showed up to get me. (Just like in that “Camp Grenada” song. (True Story.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wait a minute, it stopped hailing,
      Guys are swimming, guys are sailing,
      Playing baseball, gee that’s better,
      Muddah Fadduh please disregard this letter.

      I loved that song and my camp experience was pretty much the same as yours, but with barrels instead of flags. I was happy to never go again.

      Liked by 2 people

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