Virginia Allain, Gail’s daughter, wrote this memory piece back in 2013:
“At one time, I lived in South Texas near the Mexican border. I remember that sometimes there seemed to be a population explosion of butterflies. It is still a mystery to me why there were so many.
I’d see hundreds of them as I drove down the Military Highway. They were so plentiful they would pelt the car windshield.
During that butterfly season, there was an intensely yellow one hovering around my honeysuckle. Then, as I played golf, a gorgeous black swallowtail flew past. There seemed to be so many kinds in the Rio Grande Valley at that time. It didn’t happen every year, so maybe the conditions had to be just right.
I wondered where they came from and what their names were. Was it the time of year for them to migrate south like the monarchs did or had the previous month’s rain encouraged many to emerge? There certainly was a bumper crop. Perhaps there was just the right combination of weather and available plants to draw them.
Whatever the reason, it was a joy to see them fluttering past.”
Perhaps, this memory of all the butterflies came to the surface in December 2013, as that was the year of Mom’s death. Since childhood, I’ve stopped to look at insects with admiration for their versatile shapes and colors because Mom taught us about them when we lived on the farm. Three of my sisters took entomology as a 4-H project and collected, pinned, and labeled all kinds of insects from a humble, not-very-showy beetle to the glory of a colorful butterfly.
It’s summer time, so before you swat at the next bug that flies or strolls past, take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the tiny critter. If it isn’t trying to bite or sting me, I let it be.