Monday, July 13, 2009

THE CRICKET on the LINO, and MY “EBENEEZER SCROOGE SUMMER RITUAL”


I believe I’ve mentioned before that I’m a huge fan of Charles Dickens. This owes in large part to a childhood ritual in my family. Each Christmas for as long as I can remember, my dad would start reading aloud from A Christmas Carol to my mother and me. He’d start a few days before Christmas Eve, always at the very beginning. He wouldn’t always keep it up right to the very end, and consequently, we all knew the first part extremely well, and the middle part quite well. To this day, whenever I see a passage quoted, I always hear it in my dad's voice; he was terrific at reading aloud, and made the conversations and descriptions come alive. He read from an old leather-bound 1933 edition that contained all of Dickens’ Christmas books. There’s five altogether, but of course, A Christmas Carol is the best known. And maybe the next most familiar by title is The Cricket on the Hearth. Not many people are as familiar with the plot of that one, and it isn’t as cherished as the Scrooge tale; I confess I haven’t read it all the way to the end myself. But the idea of a cricket in the house (discounting the potential pest problems) is not without it’s charm. Here, from a catalogue that sells verdigris brass hearth crickets:

For thousands of years, crickets have been a symbol of good luck. Crickets symbolize luck and prosperity; having one living in your house is lucky, but a cricket on the hearth brings the greatest luck of all!

Well, last night I found a tiny baby cricket in my house—not on my gas fireplace hearth, but under the edge of the cabinet in the bathroom. I should mention at this point that my Ebenezer Scrooge Summer Ritual consists of searching, before going to bed, every corner of my bedroom and the little attached ensuite bathroom, with a flashlight, including shaking the bedskirt (and anything else lying suspiciously on the floor) in search of spiders, earwigs, and any other creature I don’t want to be visited by, haunted by, in the middle of the night, like poor Scrooge. I can vividly recall, in my dad’s voice, old Scrooge (after having seen dead Marley’s ghostly face superimposed on his front door-knocker) making his rounds, checking his chambers thoroughly for any other ghostly signs before retiring.

I was quite delighted to find the baby cricket in my bathroom; I’ve been hoping the hard winter we had didn’t wipe them out, and I was tempted to leave him there. But then I thought of trying to sleep with him chirping away, so close by. One plastic deli container (and a piece of paper to slide under it) later, he was out the patio door. Perhaps I was tossing out some good luck, but unlike poor old Scrooge, I was going to get a good night’s sleep.

The photo is from the family volume my dad read from. I didn't take a picture of the actual cricket in my bathroom; I didn't want to scare it into a crack and out of reach. It was pretty tiny, anyway.

14 comments:

Sylvia K said...

Lovely, fun post, Deborah! You have lovely memories of your childhood and that is such a treasure! I love those little crickets, too, but would prefer them out on our deck than too near my bedroom! Thanks for the smiles!

Lin said...

Enjoyed your post about crickets. I too prefer them outside. My hubby goes so far as catching bees, spiders that are inside to release them outside but as for flies they are swatted promptly.

jinksy said...

Is that really a plastic duck swimming towards me at the foot of the illustrated page? Help!

Deborah Godin said...

@jinksy By Jove, I think you're right!! That's one Victorian curio I wasn't aware of - good spotting!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Cute post, Deb... Love the little crickets also---but prefer them to stay outside!!!! ha

Hugs,
Betsy

fourwindsphotojournal said...

One summer we had the luck (not so good) of having one in the house. We couldn't find it, but sure could hear it. I am pretty sure it moved around while we were searching. Eventually, it went away. I didn't know about the good luck thing then.

Sue said...

Lovely post. Glad to know I'm not the only one with the nightly flashlight routine. It sounds as if your house is a bit more porous than mine, but I do occasionally get some humdingers.

Kathiesbirds said...

Well, your singing black crickets are sweet but we have the horrible brown crickets down here and they are ugly, noisy, dirty pooping things that take over your house and your yard! We hate them! I'm glad you saved the baby black cricket though.

bobbie said...

I like crickets = in their place. I carry them outside as you do - paper cup and piece of paper or cardboard. Don't have too many visiting in this house. In one previous home, we were overrun.

Wren said...

I have a metal cricket on the hearth, and a carved stone one in the living room. I like them both.

I'm less fond of the chirping ones in the garage, but as long as they don't set foot or antenna into the house, the truce holds.

SandyCarlson said...

I love the engraving and the carving. That cricket landed in the right place. A tender heart and a good nature--you are the right combination.

Hi! I'm Grace said...

Hi Deborah, it is my first time here and I want to say that I really enjoyed reading your post.
Have a happy weekdays. :)

Rose said...

I like most crickets, but we have these hump-backed things that can jump a mile (slight exaggeration, but only slight), and I don't care for them. Otherwise, don't mind picking up with my hand, and cannot bare to kill one. maybe it has something to do with my best friend's dad calling me Cricket when I was a kid.

Dee said...

This was great- I leave your blog today with a huge smile!