I guess nothing is gross when you’re a little boy. When I was five, giant black grasshoppers with red wings inhabited our yard. My mother was sure my uncle had brought them over from Carrollton years before – when he was a little boy and nothing was gross.
I would put the grasshoppers in jars, always meaning to release them later. Even at that age I understood the value of life. But then the grasshoppers would die in the jars. Yellow and brown gelatin flowed around their bodies. The smell sharp, acidic. I understood the value of life, but wasn’t responsible enough to remember to care for it.
We moved away when I was in second grade. The new town had plenty of insects. Every Southern town does. But I never saw the giant black grasshoppers with red wings again. I tried to sneak a jar of them from my old home to my new home, but my mother caught me. She left the jar on the front porch of the old house where they surely died and became acidic gelatin.