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Doodle Bugs

Plum Thickets & Field DaisiesPart I
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ANOTHER PASTIME that boys and girls enjoyed was doodling for doodle bugs. Our yard was quite sandy in spots. Lots of little round holes dotted the ground wherever there were sandy spots, particularly around the eaves of the house. A little insect called a doodle bug was supposed to inhabit each little hole, and successfully getting one to come up was considered quite a feat.
We would get the longest, heaviest straw from the kitchen broom, insert it in the hole, and squat down over it like an Eskimo over a seal hole to sing our chant to the doodle bug. "Doodle bug, doodle bug, come up and get a chew of tobacco." Occasionally, we would vary our sing-song and add, "Doodle bug, come up and get some bread and butter!" But a chew of tobacco seemed to be the pièce de résistance that we felt would work charms on the doodle bug, so we sounded this call again and again. Sometimes, we even put our mouths down as close as possible to the hole and make sure that the doodle bug heard us.
Nothing happened usually, but sometimes the straw would quiver several times. The slightest movement always incited us to a high pitch of excitement. Then we would call harder than ever. "Doodle bug, doodle bug, come up and get a chew of tobacco!"
Once, an insect resembling a worm crawled up the straw. As soon as we saw him on the straw, we fell back, shrieked, screamed and ran as if a big snake had come out of the hole to devour us. Even though we ran, we felt quite triumphant for having succeeded in calling a doodle bug out of his hole.

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Love, Rose Leary. Plum Thickets and Field Daisies: A Memoir. Charlotte, NC: Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, 1996