Playful, Pius or Remembered Stuff

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Thursday, October 27, 2011


When I was in grade school we lived about two blocks from the hills in Eagle Rock.  We kids climbed around those hills daily during the summer months.  On occasion we saw the Occidental Cross Country team running by us.  Castor beans grew in the wild and oak trees dotted the landscape.  There were trap door spiders to observe, and/or capture.  But the most discomfort for an 11 year old boy was the tarantula.  I remember a neighbor sweeping one off his driveway into a large jar.  It's not a love/hate relationship, but rather a terror/fascination relationship I have with spiders.  And when one is as large as my hand, and black and hairy as really creeps me out.

I've been told that tarantulas are really not dangerous.  Well they may not be poisonous, but the danger for me, waking up with one on my chest, would be the danger of a heart attack.  I know they are available in pet stores, of all places.  I remember reading in the paper about a boy who brought his pet tarantula to school for show and tell.  As boys are prone to do, he tried to show him off by not only handling him, but giving him a kiss!  According to the newspaper account, the spider bit his lip, but he only suffered a painful swollen lip for the prank.

One of our trips through Kings Canyon National Park encountered about four tarantulas crossing the road.  I was fascinated.  Telling the kids to stay in the car, I stepped out and approached these scary little beasts.  You will have to tell me if it was my imagination, but I'll swear that they hissed at me.  I could see the lead spider raise its head and front legs at me, and I heard a distinct hiss.  Of course I turned on one foot and headed straight back into the car.  It was a classic case of cross cultural communication.

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