Joe McQuaid's Publisher's Notebook: 'Crickets singing in a thousand hidden spots'

The crickets have been chirping outside my bedroom window. In one of my brief stints at university, I wrote a poem for English class about August nights that included the line, “Sound of crickets singing in a thousand hidden spots.”

Mr. Fisher gave me an A-minus and made a couple of helpful suggestions. My father, on the other hand, compared the poem unfavorably to Robert Frost. B.J. was never into “good job, good job, everyone gets a trophy” mode.

We lived in Candia, where you can still hear more crickets and see more wildlife than in ManchVegas, although I did startle a doe and two fawns on my neighborhood walk last week.

My mother once took a shoe to a very noisy cricket near the fireplace in the living room. This caused a family lecture, and subsequent newspaper editorial, from my father, who extolled the virtues and good luck of having a “cricket on the hearth.”

B.J. had grown up in Candia and was proud of its rusticity, which is a word he would not have liked. He once told the teacher at his one-room schoolhouse that his uncle had shot a wolf and they “et it for breakfast.”

I had a friend in Candia who was toying with building a still in his cellar. Surely, I thought, this could lead to no good, with the possible exception of inspiring a TV series spinoff: “Breaking Bad II: The Candia Years.”

Last time I asked about the still, all I heard were crickets. I wonder if the solar eclipse this month will make it dark enough here to get the crickets chirping. That is what’s supposed to happen elsewhere, or so I read.

In Candia, we considered nearby Auburn a near-metropolis. Auburn is where the longtime police chief was Emerson Heald.

“Emmy” died recently. His obituary rightly noted his service and devotion to the Shriners, Masons and Lions Club, among other civic endeavors. It didn’t reference his many years as both a Union Leader news correspondent and advertising agent.

I am happy to do so here. Rest in Peace, Emerson.

Write to Joe McQuaid at or on Twitter @deucecrew.