Pat Shingleton: "Sept. 9, 1900 and Cicada's..."
"Sunday, September 9, 1900 revealed one of the most horrible sights that ever a civilized people looked upon." It was the end of five days of devastation. Never before or since have more Americans died in any single natural disaster. Between 6,000 to 12,000 lives were lost because of a hurricane that leveled Galveston. When bodies were weighted and taken deep into the Gulf of Mexico for burial, they washed back onto the Galveston Beach. The greatest death toll from any single hurricane occurred along the coast of Bangladesh on Nov. 12 1970. A gigantic cyclone bombarded the Bay of Bengal spreading a wall of water 20 feet high over the islands and settlements in the Ganges Delta where estimates of 300,000 people drowned. On a much lighter note, very soon, the Love Bugs will appear, affording us additional opportunities to head to the local car wash. They also offer Nature's hints for the end of Summer and the early beginnings of Autumn. When we were kids, we'd collect what we called "locust" shells from a variety of tree trunks. These insects weren't locusts but Cicadas and the sound they make comes only from the male. Tymbals, attached to the stomach muscles of the Cicada vibrate to create the sound. This begins the process of exiting its shell. Once we would hear the sound we'd look to areas of the tree to watch it fly out and away. Kids do goofy things and many of us would collect and attach the shells to a shirt or sweatshirt to aggravate the neighborhood girls as "Eeks" were common. In the upcoming weeks the Whoolyworm's stripe could be a Winter predictor.