One of the piano books that Mrs. Witzel required for her beginners included a two- fingered version of the Napolentana Tarantella. All my piano books had pictures at the top of each page. However, that particular page was my favorite. There was an enchanting lady and her mandolin, dancing with a spider across the top of the treble cleft.

It captivated my 6-year-old mind. I sat quietly for long periods of time, my imagination running rampant. I was her, innocent and beautiful, plucking on my golden mandolin. From out of nowhere, the wicked arachnid would jump. He would raise his front legs, glare at me with his five eyes and drip poison from his fangs.

My trance, however, would soon be rudely interrupted by my mom's voice from the kitchen telling me to "get practicing."

In retrospect, I wonder how much of my irrational fear of spiders can be attributed to some bored artist's concept of an old Italian folk song?

Just this week I turned my chair at work to see speed racer bearing down on me from my left. I screamed and the little dasher actually changed directions and headed towards one of my co-workers desk.

"Kill him!" I screached.

My hubby would have rushed in and stomped the intruder in an instance. This guy took the time to squish him gently so as not to grind him into the carpet. There it stayed with its legs crumbled with just a slight wiggle left.

Last Wednesday our church home group joined us in the family room where the fireplace was cozy and inviting. Apparently, another humongous creature thought it was inviting, too. It dropped from the ceiling and landed on the coffee table with such magnitude that we all heard it thunk.

"Kill it!" I screached.

The hubby jumped up in his usual Mighty Mouse Manner and cried, "Here I am to Save the Day." Truly, he really only asked, "Where did it go?

"Under the magazine," Glenda pointed nervously.

He took a swat at the magazine that acted like a pea shooter and sent that spider flying through the air straight for her. After more screaming, because I was seated to her right, the hubby and Mike were commanded to pick up the chair for a seek and destroy mission. (Accomplished.) I think valium was meant for times like these.

My Christmas present this year from the hubby was a spider catcher. The one time I used it I had much difficulty coaxing the little beast to enter the trap. Then when I tried to release it outside it flung the spider backwards and grazed my shoulder on the way by. Heart attack.

My worst spider moment ever was one night that I chose to stay up late at my computer. The hubby told me he was extremely tired so please do not make noise and wake him when I followed him to bed.

That promise was on my mind as I sat in the opposite end of the darkened house with only the light from my computer casting shadows.

Did a movement catch my eye? Was there something in the room with me?

My heart began beating the Napolentana Tarantella in my ear as I slowly turned my head. There, just inches from my nose, hung a spider silhouette from the arch above my computer desk.

My mouth opened for the S.C.R.E.A.M, but the head momentarily remembered the promise.

Instead, a great sucking gasp from my wide open mouth began vacuuming the dangler in. I could feel it tickling my lips as my mind fought to control the diaphragm that was pulling on my lungs.

Finally, the air flow reversed, and I could see him swinging away -- for a nano second.

From somewhere deep within me the power came. It must have been my memory of the mandolin, and the beautiful lady who outmaneuvered the ugly tarantula with her delicate strumming, and her mesmerizing music.

A streaming rush of air flowed out of me. The spider sailed far enough away that I had time to push my chair and roll away from its return path.

I do not know how long it danced there at the top of the open computer page, because I ran quietly down the hall, shut the bedroom door, and crawled into bed.

I didn't wake him.

Spider compliments of Lisa Conrad, ava
ilable at SPIDERS.


mark said…
Great story! I could feel the spider too. I love spiders, so long as they're outside. Is Arachnophobia the worst movie ever made in your opinion? I still don't know how they classify that as a Comedy.
Devon said…
I had to laugh out loud! I could see it all vividly. I think my worst spider experience was traveling on a freeway going about 60 when I see one repel down from the roof on to my lap there was nothing I could do. I swerved off the road as fast as I could! There but for the grace of God, I should have been road kill!
Amanda said…
I don't like spiders either, but I have no problem killing them myself. The WORST is feeling something crawling on you in bed.. then you jump up and flip on the light but you never find anything. I can never get back to sleep. (probably because I am in a full getup to make sure the spider can not infiltrate my clothing.)
Jeanette said…
Gday Pamela
Oh how i hate spiders. I have to swat them as im on my own I get the long handle broom and there well and truly dead when i squash them.YUK Take care (((Hugs)))
BarnGoddess said…
well told! you can really tell a good story. I sat here giggling like a fool at the images you conjured up inside my mind.

I am also horribly afraid of spiders. Id rather face a snake anyday than a spider. I keep a broom and a can of raid (the spider formula) ready for all spiders that come into contact w/ me. I think I have scarred my poor kids with my fear of spiders. They have seen me completely lose it over a spider..

where you live do you have Hobo spiders? we have black widows and brown recluses-those spiders frighten me....
Robin said…
Funny, all I could think of when I saw the title of this post was Susan...you really should put a "word of warning" sentence for her at the top because what if she reads it by accident thinking "surely Pamela isn't going to write a whole post about spiders". Heebie jeebies, for sure!

Why are we so scared of 'em? Really, what, we're a gazillion times bigger than they are, but then again, I guess our teeth aren't dripping poison.

I love to watch them snare a live bug in their web, then wrap it in a cocoon of webbing...although I do feel sorry for the bug, this kinda thing entertains me waaaay longer than it should...:).
Jodi said…
I am absolutely terrified of spiders!! Seriously, I am completely convinced that they are out to get me and will kill me someday.

It was all I could do to read your post and see that creepy crawler along the bottom without falling into a full blown panic attack!

Here's a helpful hint for others who fear spiders and don't want to get close enough to kill them: HAIRSPRAY. Just spray them until they are so stiff they cannot move. It works for me!! :-)
Mert said…
I don't like spiders either! My hubby had one down in the basement, he liked to think of it as a pet. Unfortunately, she resided next to the basement toilet(which we rarely use, because the basement is cold and yucky). One day, we had guests over and I had to go... she had to go. I scooped her up with a wad of tp and flushed her. My husband didn't talk to me for days, he was so mad.

I sucked up a couple of huge black spiders with my trusty Dust Buster, then made my MIL empty it a few days later, LOL!

Great story... I am sorry to say I probably would have woken my husband, with screaming most likely.
Dawn said…
ohhh i don't like spiders. i run fast from them screaming for my husband, and of course he wants one of those horrible things as a pet. he's got a choice, only one of us will live in the house with him, me or the spider....haha

great story :)

Pamela said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pamela said…
mark- outside is good.

Devon - I've had a spider do that do when I was driving my VW bug years ago. I grabbed it in my right hand and crunched it - and pretended I was Helen Reddy singing "I am Woman, hear me roar"

Amanda - You actually craw back into bed with it??? Thats my girl!!!!

Jeanette - Do you have those awful poisonous ones I hear about in AU??

Barngoddess: Snakes are a close runner up. I just never run into any in my house - hanging from the ceiling. I might change my mind if that happened.

Robin: Reminds me of the movie "The Fly" I didn't mind seeing that annoying actor get wrapped up

Jodi: They are out to get us. We're dinner for their millions of offspring. Hairspray -- and a match???

Mert: get hiim a plastic one on a ring. Geesh! :D

Dawn: If it can't walk on a leash or sit in your lap it isn't a "pet".... it's a sickness
Robin said…
What is it with spiders and blogs today??? Yikes! Here's another (I'm warning Susan to stay inside!).

Matt said…
Sounds like your mom gave you The Face.
Tiggerlane said…
How did you know I'm working on a great spider post?

Seriously, spiders creep me out. I hate the ones in the car - those tiny little yellow ones that seeem to drop out of nowhere.

I'm shivering! Great story!
Vicki said…
We catch Tranchulas in the Summer time. Put them in a pickle jar and feed them rolly pollys and flies. I'll have to be sure to post that for you.

I'm afraid of mice and birds. I must repeat it until everyone knows.
James Cooper said…
Hahaha, excellent tale.

My fiance and I have an arrangement, if the spider is in the bedroom or is of a particularly poisonous variety, I shall kill it. Otherwise, it shall be left alone to dwell. Part of the reason for this is that out in the area we live black widows tend to be common and other spiders help keep them out. Also, they eat other bugs like flies and mosquitos which can otherwise be a bother.
Karmyn R said…
heebie jeebies.

I try to be brave in front of the kids so I don't instill any spider-phobia's in them....but inside i'm screaming in terror.
Heather said…
Oh, Pam, this made me laugh.
My phobia: snakes. When my now husband and I first started dating, he made me dinner at his house (now our house, which is a very, very, very fine house). He had just gotten back from a 6-month trip to Africa and had a great photo book with the scenery and animals. I flipped the page, mesmerized by the hippos and giraffes, and there, next to a cute kitten, slithered a snake. When Chris heard the scream, he ran out of the kitchen to see his date standing on the couch and his photo book flying across the room. That photo book has been in hiding ever since, a sort of witness protection program.
Man, I'm getting paranoid just thinking about it. I won't be able to put my feet down for another hour or so. Just in case.
Melissa said…
Pam. e. la. You creeped me out! It touched your face?! Ew! I have to run away now!

(Great story!)
Susan in va said…
EEEEEEEK!!!! I didn't heed your warning!!!! And, on top of that, I was eating lunch while I read!


A couple of years ago, my Dad bought me a spider catching contraption that he found at the flea market. It looked like a light saber! When you turned it on, it became a little power sucker with a three foot long tube. When you put the end of the open tube near the creepy creature that you needed to capture....(*SHHHLUUURRRP*) It sucked him right up!

You need one of those.
Great post. When I was attending college we had a black widow we captured and kept in a bottle. It was fascinating to see what she would eat and how she would approach her prey. When she had a zillion babies we decided it was time for her demise. Ever wonder why the Lord created bugs and snakes? Yuck.
Stephanie said…
Oh the irony!!

Dr. Matthew and I are both working from home today, and while I was reading this post, my husband was playing a recording for us to work by of one our favorite Celtic bands playing a tune called, "The Spider in the Tub."

And Dr. Matthew plays the mandolin.

Oh, and I wasn't scared of spiders before I had Bethany. Now I have this irrational fear of her being bitten all over her precious little body by ants or spiders or some other evil insect.
I know spiders are good because they eat other bugs, but I hate them too! I loved the one you had crawling across your blog though!!!
Biker Betty said…
Pamela, you are a very gifted writer. I laughed at the different spider advances. It's it amazing that such a little bug can create such fear in us, lol. My older son (18 yrs old) just announced a few days ago he hates, despises and fears spiders with all his being. It's funny that I should read this post a few days later.

One morning, many years ago and stationed in California, I woke up and felt something fall off my leg. Then came the pain. I jumped out of bed, screaming horribly. My husband awakes in a confused/conderned befuddle. That was a definite search and destroy mission that succeeded! But first we had to make sure it wasn't a brown recluse or black widow that live in our area. Yikes!!! We don't live there anymore.
swampwitch said…
I don't like spiders or snakes.
And that ain't ....
Isn't that a song?
Ok, now that I've broken my computer screen by whacking at that thing crawling across it, what do I do now?
Great story. You ARE good.
Willowtree said…
So, now you owe both me and Swampy a monitor each.

I laughed at the pea shooter line! Have you ever noticed that when a spider is flicked it always lands closest to the one who is most afraid of them.

btw, you mentioned Mighty Mouse, and his "here I come to save the day" call, well as it happens I bought a Mighty Mouse DVD last week.
Masago said…
Spiders are our friends. :-)
Pamela said…
Masago: I'm gonna take the Haiku with Miss Muffet on this one

WT: Will you wear tights and cape with the music?

Swampy; That explains your Error A800

Betty: Let's hope he grows out of it b4 his girlfriend expects him to be Mighty Mouse

G R Girl: Oh - he was in love with you too, didn't you see his eyebrows get perky when you stopped in?

Stephanie: The irony and the eerie. (are you two playing doctor?)

Ramblin: The Lord created bugs so that a woman would think her husband was Mighty Mouse

Susan: Where were you when the hubby was Christmas shopping? Huh?

Mel i.s.s.a We try.

Heather: Snakes have their place. Down in some hole - a long way away.

Karmyn: I expect Jammin will be taste testing them soon

James: And what particularly poisonous variety might that be?

Vicky: "Tranchulas" Sounds like something a spider would wear to a wedding.


Matt: Never Never Never speak ill of the face.... oh dear oh dear oh dear shhhhh!

Robin: I went to see the picture of her spider. Yes! Next time I'm going to get a picture!! N-O-T !
Pamela said…
I saw that movie. I can't believe I'm admitting it.
SaM-GiRL said…
Wow, you really have a talent at writing. Love the way you explain the movements you make, makes it so much more interesting to read! I dont trust spiders either, the only ones I do trust though, are the dead ones.
Jeanette said…
Hi Pamela Yes we do have those poisonous spiders in Au.My Dear Al (passed away 2 years) was bitten by a redback 12 years ago and was very sick for a couple of weeks from the bite.Take Care
PEA said…
Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! I am absolutely terrified of spiders...they will actually paralyze me on the spot if I see one. I think I know where my fear stems from...when I was a little girl, I remember looking down and seeing a spider crawling up my pant leg, making it's way up. My two oldest brothers were sitting there and laughing at my screams of "take it off me". They let it crawl almost up to my chin before they swatted it away. I should have needed therapy for that and sent them the bill! lol
Stephanie said…
Pamela, in answer to your question, it was my birthday. 'Sall I'm gonna say!
Kila said…
Oh, I have many good spider stories, since my mom was terrified of them.

I used to be the same way, but now, after having 3 boys who love insects and anything else creepy, I don't mind them too much anymore. I've been cured, LOL.
James Cooper said…
Primarily the particularly poisonous spiders I spoke of would be the black widows, though there have been reported instances of brown recluses in the area. Neither are at all welcome in our home and though neither tend to be lethal to humans (though highly unpleasant) they are rather life threatening to our four-legged friends.
AJ said…
Pamela, be careful when you scream after those pesty arachnids! You might end up swallowing a spider sometime! I did that, and it wasn't fun! I learned my lesson!!!..LOL...I just walk away really fast like.
Karen said…
Around our house, black widows get killed, but everything else gets a trip outdoors - usually in a Dixie Cup and a piece of paper. They don't frighten me and they sure do keep the bug population down, just doin' their jobs. But the BWs, nope, they've gotta go. Sorry Ms. Spider.
Claudia said…
I'm with Karen on this one...if they are inside...they get escorted out, but I have never seen a live BW... and I am quite glad about that!! However, if a spider were to land on me or be aggressive, you definitely would hear me scream!
wolfbaby said…
Lord I hate spiders... living in the country it's not such a good thing;P
Anonymous said…
newspaper. whack. done.

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