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Sudie Crouch: The not-so itsy bitsy spider
joro spider
A vibrant female Joro spider dangles from her web. - photo by Kelsey Podo

I don’t think anyone could ever accuse me of being a huge outdoor person. I love seeing nature when I walk from the cabin to the Jeep to go somewhere, or even when looking out the window. 

Possums are one of my favorite critters, deer are amazing, and we even have a little spoiled squirrel, Baby, that knows to tap on the kitchen window to get some peanuts. 

But I draw the line with spiders. 

Not so much the orb weavers; those are cool. Well, with the exception of those new Joro spiders that seem to be everywhere. 

I typically leave spiders alone if they are outside unless they are big enough to catch a bird in their web, and trust me, we have had a few; spiders that come in are usually caught and released outside. 

Lamar is usually the one who does the catching or assassinating, depending on the spider, so of course anytime there’s a nasty one, it seems to always happen when he’s not home, as was the case this recent Friday night. 

I was home alone, something I never enjoy. Sexy Frank was demanding his dinner and I had walked in the mudroom to get his food. As I started out the door, I paused, seeing something in front of the trashcan in the kitchen. 

Was it a fur tumbleweed? Having three dogs and a cat can mean a constant battle with fur that we never win no matter how many times we sweep and vacuum. It’s easy to mistake them for an arachnid as I’ve done dozens of times.

It took a second for my eyes to adjust to determine it was a spider, and one that was not only big but looked pretty aggressive. 

I panicked. It was right where it could maybe charge at me if I tried to leave the mudroom, and if I went to the right, I’d have my back to it, leaving me vulnerable.

I found the dustpan and somehow thought I could throw it on top of it. Unfortunately, I am not the best thrower of anything, regardless of distance. The dustpan bounced beside it and instead of being scared, the thing puffed itself up, making it twice its size and it was already the size of a lemon.

Sexy Frank sat to the left, looking perturbed. I was late with his dinner. 

I grabbed the broom and slapped the head of it on the spider. With a grimace, I lifted it, thinking there would be a squash stain but instead, the spider ran towards the corner of the cabinets. 

I ran out, looking for the Raid. I couldn’t look under the sink because I wasn’t sure how close the spider was. 

I was too nervous to go to another room for hairspray and a lighter to torch it. 

I also didn’t want to give it the opportunity to get away and not be able to find it. We have had a history of revenge seeking rats and this spider looked capable of inflicting some serious harm. 

Thankfully, I had left my phone on the kitchen island so I could use the flashlight to peer under the cabinets. I feared it had gone into the cabinets to hide in wait for me one unsuspecting morning when I may be reaching for a pan or bowl. 

But there it was, crouched up in the back corner in a defensive position. I swiped the corner with the broom, and it darted out, looking even bigger than it was before. 

It was so large and menacing, Doodle screamed. 

When a pitbull-mix is scared of a spider, you know it’s bad. Not like Doodle is ferocious; she’s scared of her shadow, but she never screams at it. 

The spider squared off and turned towards me, as if it was preparing to charge — and it did. 

Doodle screamed louder. 

Sexy Frank, only a couple of feet away, could have interceded and pounced on it, but he refused. He seems to forget I’m the one who feeds him when I’m in peril. 

Punk wasn’t interested in rounding up a spider; maybe it’s because they have eight eyes and she doesn’t know which pair to make eye contact with. 

I was essentially on my own. And I was not going to be taken out by some nasty spider the size of my hand. 

I grabbed the broom in a panic even though it had not been an effective weapon before. 

As it charged towards me, I screamed a blood curdling scream, and brought the broom down on it swiftly and hard. 

Doodle let out another scream. 

I whacked it again. And again. 

Slowly, I lifted the broom to find it crumpled. Placing a paper towel on top of it, I jumped on it again, making sure it was done for. 

I was shaking. Doodle was shaking. 

The feline wanted his food. Punk was just glad the drama was over so she could sleep.

From now on, those fur tumbleweeds are gonna get the same treatment, just in case.

Sudie Crouch is an award-winning humor columnist residing in the North Georgia Mountains among the bears, deer, and possibly Sasquatch. You can connect with her on Facebook at Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Humor, and Deep-Fried Wisdom. Her recently published book, ‘Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Wisdom, and Deep-Fried Humor’ is available in paperback and Kindle download on Amazon.