Y’all have laughed at me and with me over the years in my adventures with Wilford the snake and Ferdinand the mouse taking up residence with me. You’ve been very supportive as I have spoken of my adventures in evicting them. I am most happy to report that Ferdinand and his merry band of mouse invaders have been dispatched from the premises and no more shrill screams have erupted at ungodly hours of the night … at my house, that is.
Well, I’m here to tell you right now, my daughter Emily has taken up the mantle of hysteria over an invader of her own — a spider.
Let me preface this with a little background. Emily has always been terrified of spiders. She does the “kung fu fighting” dance when she inadvertently walks into a spider web, usually with the same language I use when a mouse runs across the floor — or my foot — in my den while I’m working in the wee hours of the night.
One of the finest exhibitions of spider-fear was back when she and her brother, then in their late teens and early 20s, still lived at home. I was at work, Emily had gotten up and was sitting in the living room when accosted by a rather large spider. She screamed for Adam, told him what was going on, and he emerged from his room wearing shorts and cowboy boots and carrying a BB gun. Yep. You guessed it. With that arsenal, the spider had no chance of survival. Even better, I was sitting at my desk at The Daily Times getting a blow-by-blow account of the adventure on the phone. Perhaps the loudest screams came when Adam grabbed the corpse and chased Emily through the house with it before disposing of it … and digging BBs out of the carpet.
Emily may be a grown woman, wife, mother of three, but her adventures in spider-land still have much the same result as they did back then. Here is her account of the latest adventure, posted on Facebook and used with her permission. Thomas is the 4-year-old; Ellie is 10, and Seth is 8:
“At 10 p.m. I got out of the car and carried a sleeping Thomas up to the door of our house. It was dark. I opened the door. But as I started to walk in, a spider dropped down right in front of me.
“Hysterical screaming immediately ensued and, since I couldn’t see where it landed, I started smacking my clothes and the (now-very-much-awake) Thomas’s. After a few seconds of this I couldn’t see it anywhere, so we walked inside.
“As soon as I turned on the light, I saw it. ON MY SHIRT. IT WAS ON MY SHIRT CRAWLING UP TOWARDS MY FACE.
“I dropped Thomas and proceeded to completely and utterly lose my (senses). I started smacking at it with both hands, shrieking over and over ‘til it hurt my throat, and dancing around like a cartoon character trying to walk on hot coals. I finally knocked it into the floor, and, still screeching (because clearly you have to keep screaming til it’s dead), smashed him with a flip flop.
“Now, obviously, the rest of the world had ceased to exist in those few terrifying moments, so I kind of forgot about the kids in the room. Once it was all over, I looked up at Ellie and Seth and they were both staring at me in total silence with huge eyes and mouths hanging open. For a few seconds, Seth couldn’t speak. Then he finally looked at me and said, very seriously, ‘Mama. Don’t EVER scream like that again.’ I had scared that poor kid out of his mind.
“Imagining the show from their perspective, I realized that to all of the people who could not see the spider, I probably appeared to have been suddenly and violently demon-possessed. My poor neighbors had to have heard all of that, too. I’m not sure if I’m thankful that they didn’t call the cops or if I should be concerned that, after hearing what sounded like me being viciously murdered, they didn’t.”
All I have to say is, the apple did not fall far from the tree. Bless her heart.