Posted by: deadmousediaries | September 7, 2014

News from the Path Valley Hotel – Episode # 69, Performing Tonight: the Yick-Yicks

I need to have our marketing staff update our brochure for the Path Valley Hotel; I don’t think I’ve mentioned anywhere that we have free concerts nightly well into the Fall. Currently playing are the Yick-Yicks and they set up quite a ruckus around dusk. If you are an entomologist or just a long-time country dweller, you probably know these late summer headliners as Katydids.

I like to describe them as flitting, green guitar picks, with six legs of course.  There are lots of species of these little hoppers including the fork-tailed and the black-legged variety as well as the delicate meadow and gladiator meadow katydid.  Judging by the clatter outside my door, I’m quite sure there’s nothing delicate about the bugs living here. They are all gladiators, if only in their hearts.

Katydids are related to grasshoppers and crickets but they have a love song all their own. The name Katydid comes from the clicking sound the male makes; it’s a pattern that sounds like  katy-did, katy-didn’t. Of course, he’s hoping Katy will because he’s not performing for our entertainment; it’s his evening booty call.

I learned that both sexes hear through tympanic organs  located inside their front legs. I guess that’s convenient, especially for the females. In order to be truthful and not sarcastic when Mrs. Did wants to  scream “I can’t hear you!!!”,  she only has to close her legs, not her mind, no innuendo intended.

Katydids became yick-yicks at our house decades ago when our daughter Katy used to sit on the front porch swing at the farm with my dad. I don’t remember if it first came out of her mouth simply as the way she processed the word or whether my dad suggested it as part of the secret language between them, but yick-yick is what stuck. I have a perfect frozen image of her on his lap concentrating on a roving guitar pick on the widow ledge one minute, then turning to watch deer step out of the treeline at twilight the next.  That’s how he came to call her Katybug, a term of endearment  that was usually preceded with “Ole'” as in  “Ole Katybug.”

I’ll admit that I’ve been enjoying our free concerts for weeks now but today was the first I thought of sharing them.  This story was prompted by a two-line text from my far-away son. It filled me with gratitude for all the little things that will always connect us. He had said simply: They have yick-yicks in Texas, too. Makes me think of home.  Life is good at the Path Valley Hotel. MK




  1. Love it! I’ve entered the term Yick-Yicks in my official “down home” vocabulary. Thanks for education, and especially the smiles.

    • 8 ) I owe you a lot of smiles for all the poor-me moments I’ve brought you in recent months. I’ll work on it!

  2. Wonderful story to begin my day!

    • Thank you, Karin! I keep every note I get from you!

  3. I’ve been listening harder to the evening concerts lately, knowing the musicians will soon pack up their instruments against the coming cold. Thanks.

    • This is BEAUTIFUL, Lynn! Wish I had written those lines. Thanks for always being such a great supporter and for adding this poetry to my page.

  4. Always know the summer band concerts in the park are drawing close to their end when the “yick-yicks” start to to drown out the other musicians.

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