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One noisy hitchhiker

After coming home from a camping trip, my husband and I discovered a stowaway had concealed his presence by hiding in some blankets our grandkids used in their tent. He didn’t let out a peep until darkness fell, and then just when overnight visitors were bedded down in the rec room, someone exclaimed, “There’s a cricket down here!”

“No way! Are you sure it isn’t near the open window?”

“We’re sure! We think it’s in the furnace room, or in the closet, or maybe under the chest freezer. It’s really loud, too.”

Not only was he loud (only males chirp) but this guy was a veritable ventriloquist. Try as we might, nobody could determine just where the sound was coming from, although the consensus of opinion zeroed in on the freezer.

Good, I thought. There’s nothing under there to eat so he’ll die of malnutrition. Well, maybe not. One day, two, three… he was still chirping away, long and loudly, except when I’d approach the freezer. I began sneaking down the stairs in my slippers in hopes I’d catch sight of him — not a chance! Maybe if I banged around some frozen stuff in the freezer — no dice. He was one sneaky cricket.

How was this guy surviving, let alone chirping? Research explained both. They live on decaying plant material and fungi. (Which led to a guilt trip: Just what was under my freezer besides dust bunnies?) As for the sound, a cricket has a large, serrated vein along the bottom of each wing. Running the top of one wing along the “teeth” at the bottom of the other wing creates the familiar sound, while the membranes in the wings provide the acoustics.

On day five, the thought struck me: What if that cricket goes exploring, finds my pile of new patchwork quilts and decides the cotton is edible?

I’d had enough. Grabbing the yardstick, I raced down the stairs, and on the second sweep under the freezer, out popped Mr. Cricket, and I nailed him before he could chirp one more time.

In Barbados, they believe a loud cricket in the house means money is coming in.

I guess I won’t be richer any time soon.

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