Judson was my little roly-poly (sow bug) hunter. He would regularly ask if we could go look for roly-poly bugs in the grass outside our front door or at the park. In fact, we even had what we called “the roly-poly tree;” we could almost always find several roly-poly bugs around the base of one particular tree at our home park, just beyond our front door.
When we would find the roly-polies, we would place them on the concrete sidewalk, count them, wait for them to unroll, then watch as they all scattered to find a place of refuge. Jud displayed uncommon gentleness toward such vulnerable, tiny crustaceans, and it was pure joy to partake in his excitement and fascination over the existence of these spherical creatures that sprout legs.
After Jud went blind, but while he was still able to use his hands, he would ask us to put him in the dirt outside our patio, and he would sit there, moving his hands through the soil, pretending to look for roly-poly bugs. Then he would throw his empty hand up in the air, as if he had discovered a treasure, and declare, “I got one, mommy! I found a roly-poly.”
When I picked up the vase at Judson’s gravesite today, I peered in the hole and initially thought, “Yuck! What is that?!!??” As I looked more closely, I discovered a colony of roly-polies that were nesting therein. I couldn’t think of a better, more hospitable place for them to reside.