Playful, Pius or Remembered Stuff

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Friday, March 11, 2011


It's not really a love/hate relationship. I would rather say my relationship with arachnids is more of a fear/fascination relationship. Why I'm thinking about this is that I killed a black widow in the garden today. It's not the first time I have done that. Several years back, when we lived in Modesto, we used to grow lettuce. We had some luscious butter lettuce heads in the garden. Before dinner I would pick out a mature head, lift it from the ground and tear off the roots. But on one of those occasions I was terrified to find I had almost touched a large black widow who had nestled herself between the head and the roots of this plant. I pumped a large dose of adrenalin and immediately dropped the lettuce. The spider was dislodged and I stomped it.

Yes, it was a black widow. I know those dames quite well, having done more experimenting as a kid than I should have. My mother was far too indulgent with me growing up. With her permission I had a widow in a quart jar on the mantle. Since we had a stone fireplace, it was a trifle dangerous to house her there. But when she built one of those cocoon balls for babies, mom had the good sense to order me to part with my spider. Even when I was about to dispose of her in a fire, I curiously began to open the jar, but she darted toward the partial opening until I slammed the lid back in place.

When I was a teen-ager we lived in Eagle Rock, and across the street was a detective of the Los Angeles Police Department. He had a Kojak personality, and he even resembled Telly Sevalis with his bald head. Chatting with my dad in the garage one evening, he informed dad that we had black widows in our garage. When my father denied it, Kojak grabbed a big black spider by the leg and turned her over to reveal the red hour glass marking on her belly. "Are you crazy?" my father yelped. Kojak just said, "It can't get me as long as I hold it's leg. Even if it tried it wouldn't get through the callous on my finger." He enjoyed showing how tough he was.

Oh about today: I was trying to free my fountain of a clog of grass clippings. We have a small solar powered fountain where the water is pumped to the top canister and pours out into a series of pans until it gets to the large bowl to be pumped up again. During my cleaning project I noticed webs in that top canister so I reached in to clean them out. But when I discovered these web strands to be exceptionally strong, I immediately knew what that meant. So I looked in only to see a humongous spider looking back at me. I may have touched her! It makes me shiver to think about it. I put my garden gloves on, and went back to smash her. You know, I have, on occasion, used my teeth to help pull off my gloves. I don't think I will ever do that again.

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