Of Outhouses, Apple Trees, Spiders & I
by B Wook
I used to be scared of spiders as a small boy as our English father had wound us up about black widows lurking & clashing their mandibles under the rims of the black holes in the feculent & eyewatering outhouse on our American mother’s farm home in southern MN; this was a load of cock & as you can see from this link he might as well have gotten his arse nipped back there in the old land:
On home visits when I was small to Dorset I never heard tell of any poisonous ones; perhaps this was because we had in the old house in Wool in-door plumbing albeit Edwardian & murky. (Come to that, though, the works contractor in the report here, Mr Whitmore got his indoors whilst working in a school!) When we went to New Guinea once when I was very small, I know our mother had her wind up about the wildlife in general; but, her main animadversion was for snakes & the sometimes football-sized toads:
“They ALREADY ran me out of God-damn Australia!” she declared angrily to Pop when he tried to jolly her along (by saying that the jungle snakes’ venom ‘does do a chap quite quickly, you know!’)
But, still I did not like spiders & it was only as a teen-ager on my mother’s home place that I taught myself to befriend them, initially by letting the daddy longlegs there wander over the back of my hand, it resting on the edge of a rotten limb-hole in the trunk of the old Wealthy apple tree whilst I stood in the muggy shade, having a slash & waiting the pail to fill for the henhouse under the old slow hydrant.
On hot August afternoons after dinner, you could see hundreds in there in their dim Edenic apple tree cavern, bobbing on the eddies of hot air on long legs & looking like nothing so much as a load of one-a-day terra cotta vitamin tablets….
[all rights revert to holders
[11 October 2013]