Advisory: if you’re squeamish about, or have a special affection of, arachnids, perhaps pass this one by.  Here’s a primer from National Geographic.  It’s only a minute or so.

I was browsing a book about King Ranch in Texas, and inside was a sheet of paper, a story, by Elba Gobar, a neighbor and friend of my parents when they lived in San Benito TX from about 1976-87 (Mom died in 1981).  Elba, who died in 2005 at 85, was a hobby writer, like me.  Her writing speaks for itself.  San Benito is a half dozen miles or so from the Rio Grande, about 20 miles from Brownsville TX.  I’m guess this was written sometime in the 1980s, but it’s pretty timeless!


“Holy Sh..!”  “Holy Sh..!”  Later I could not believe this came out of the same mouth that for the last ten days had been begging God to help me to handle anything that might happen.

This was my first night alone since Bernard had emergency surgery.  To stay alone is something in which I am totally inexperienced.  Five nights spread out over a period of forty-two years can hardly be passed as experience.  And no, in front of the stove, staring me in the face, was a tarantula legs and all the size of a coffee mug – a big coffee mug.  

Now just what in hell does one to at 11:00 pm with all the neighbors sound asleep?  I tiptoed behind it, got the Decon from under the sink and began “squeezing off”.  At the first spray, off it scurried under the stove.  I sprayed and sprayed.  Boy, did I spray! – under the stove, under the refrigerator, the door sill, a path to the bedroom, under the door and around the bed.  I locked the door and asked God to please leave the Persian Gulf long enough to give me paralysis of the bladder, at least until daylight.

The next day I brought Bernard home so I was much braver.  Besides having told Debbie of my “hairy” experience, I was ready to try her procedure for getting rid of tarantulas, lizards, crickets, frogs and roaches.

Take one big bowl

Plop down over critter

Weight down with a heavy iron skillet

Call someone braver than you in the morning

That night I was ready for that sucker.  I put out my ammunition and checked every half hour to see if he had returned.  I did not warn him as I do the roaches by saying, “I’m coming.”  Stomp!  Stomp!  “This is your last chance to hide.  I’m turning on the light.”  Stomp!  Stomp!   Not this time – I was out for revenge.  A flick of the switch – A flash of light! – there he was dining on a dead roach.

This time I figured I’d move him out in the open so I would have plenty of room for action. I took one swing with the fly swatter and damn’t wouldn’t you know, I missed.  Zip – under the refrigerator.  Again I sprayed in, out, and around everything.

I still checked every night and sprayed.  By this time I had enough dead roaches laying around to coax anything out of hiding.  No tarantula!  Several days later, in the middle of the day, I walked in the kitchen.  There it was dead in the middle of the floor.

Had it taken one daring chance to escape me, or had it wanted me to know the “Joy of victory”?

Bernard figures I got three roaches and one tarantula per two cans of Decon.

POSTNOTE: Elba reminds me of a close encounter with a gigantic centipede in a house on the Big Island of Hawaii seven years ago.  The centipede was just minding its own business in a shelf outside the house, and I was just taking something off the shelf.  You know the rest of the story….  Thanks, Elba.

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