Saturday, April 29, 2023

Synchronous Fireflies Show, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park: You're Kidding, Right? (published 4-29-2023; article #408)

5/24/2019 photograph, by Tony Phan, on Unsplash. Free to use under the Unsplash License.


First, they are called lightning bugs -- not fireflies! Blame Mrs. Appalachian Irishman. She had the TV on early this morning, not me this time.

The flexibility of this “public journal and commentary” website is that I don't restrict myself to one topic or to only a few similar topics. That's why “Topic Sections” has twenty categories. I can add or change categories.

Early next month, the plan, Lord willing, is to publish two very serious articles on family and heritage. The articles will honor the recent sorrow and joy, of 4/26/2023, and the sorrow and joy, of 4/30/2023. The articles are in my mind only at this juncture.

Writing this humorous article about Appalachia will lift my spirit, in the context of the recent sorrow and joy. I hope that it lifts the spirits of family. Well, I hope that it brings laughter, to everyone, who reads it.

Firefly Lottery” - You're Kidding, Right?

Let's divide this section into the lightning bug lottery facts and then add a little “you're kidding” humor. Shall we?

The Lottery

I don't really know why the morning TV news is inspiring recent articles, including this one. This is the third article this month! The other two are the articles of 4/19/2023 and 4/25/2023 (the day before the sorrow and joy, of the next day).

I'd completed the routine early morning stretches -- which I do while still in the bed, to unkink my “bionic” body -- from a night's sleep. Mrs. Appalachian Irishman, like the good and “long-suffering” wife that she is, was making the weekend breakfast (eggs, biscuits, gravy, bacon, and coffee). Having greeted my wife and enlightened her with my usual Irish blarney, I poured my first cup of coffee. As I walked to my home office, the local morning TV news had a segment on the “synchronous firefly lottery.” I kid you not! I had to pause and watch enough to laugh, before continuing to my office.

In case you think that I'm still joking, the online version of the story is: “Park officials announce synchronous firefly lottery, viewing dates,” on WATE TV, Knoxville, TN, by Melanie Vásquez Russell, posted 4/25/2023, updated 4/27/2023. The article begins by stating:

The dates have been announced for the 2023 viewings of the famous synchronous fireflies in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A limited number of park visitors will have the opportunity to watch the “lightning bugs” in their late-spring flash patterns up in the Smokies.

At least “lightning bugs” is in quotation marks! That's what anyone, born and raised in northeast Tennessee, calls them! Only Yankees say “fireflies!” Fact check: meteorological summer starts on June 1st, so the lightning bug show starts in early summer, not late spring!

According to the article, “the lottery system for synchronous firefly viewings” started in 2006 (the same year that my new ol' truck was manufactured). This year, the “viewings” will be June 4th through 11th, eight evenings. Each evening, 120 vehicles are allowed, totaling 960 in eight evenings. Only seven folks are allowed per vehicle. Apparently, the bureaucrats have all the details lined out.

Any Yankees or southerners, who have no sense, may buy a lottery for a vehicle pass -- but only from April 28 at 10 AM to May 1 at 8 PM. It'll cost you a dollar to play the lightning bug viewing lottery game! Time's a wastin'! Better hurry!

The lucky winners of the lightning bug viewing lottery will be notified, on 5/11/2023. Those lucky winners will get a parking pass and have to fork over another $24.00 for a reservation fee. Ain't they goin' to be lucky!

You're Kidding, Right?

Well, that's the facts, such as they are. My sarcastic Irish wit has verbalized its eloquence, every year that the lightning bug show comes around. This time, my wit is in writing!

Who created this money-making racket? Inquiring minds want to know! How can you, dear reader, avoid that scheme? Let me preach on.

If you live in a rural area, with no street lights, just step outside, on any given evening in June. You will see the synchronous lightning bug show -- without cost! Growing up in the country, we watched many such shows, right in our own yard!

Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I live in a fairly rural area of northeast Knox County. We have an acre of ground, in a small subdivision. Street lights don't bother the view. We have seen, every year, since 2003, the synchronous lighting bug show -- in our own back yard! It's great! If family and friends come over, then we don't charge them to watch the show! No lottery ticket is required.

If you are a city dweller, then I suggest that you find some country friends, who will invite you to their yard, to watch the lightning bug show! Being country, they won't charge you. I'd suggest that you move out of that city, to a quiet place in the country, of course.

I still wonder who created the money-making racket, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I ain't a betting man, but I'd bet a crisp and fairly worthless dollar bill that other locations are doing the same. They're just taking money from folks, who don't have any common sense, y'all!

The Couch Spring

How did I jump to a couch spring? I guess that it's the debate on meteorological spring (June 1st) versus astronomical spring (June 21st). Last evening, my side of the recliner couch popped a spring.

I took the above photograph this morning. You can't see the missing spring, unless you look hard. This is my work in progress. Yes, my bionic right foot and I pounded asphalt and hard tile, in both the Home Depot and Lowe's. I found a potential replacement spring.

I might just ask a neighbor, who has an automobile restoration shop, to let me use his fancy tools, to make a new hook out of the damaged spring. All it needs is an improvised hook!

Don't worry! I won't spring another couch story on you! Rest assured that, in educated country boy fashion, I'll fix it.


My adoptive sister and I had another good long phone conversation this afternoon. Sis, my wife and I will be there in spirit, on Monday! We plan that visit in June!

Remember, y'all, they are called lightning bugs -- not fireflies!

No comments: