Bugs are big and plentiful on Pelee Island. Bright and colourful, I quite often stop to watch in wonderment when an unusual insect crawls on by. When my kids were younger, we’d scoop them up and house them in our freshly made bug jar for the day. You know the type, glass container, holes in the lid, lined with grass and sticks and droplets of water; beetles, grasshoppers, caterpillars, all tiny pets for a day. I was okay with this childhood practice. I even encouraged it, unless of course it was a spider the kids were trying to wrangle up. Bugs are one thing, spiders are quite another.
If the bugs on Pelee are big, then the spiders are massive. I find the Dock Spiders especially scary. Hairy and bulbous and part tarantula I’m sure, you can find them lurking in dark corners, hanging in wait. Their favorite spaces include but are not limited to, the garden shed and the crawlspace beneath our house. When summer storm warnings are issued around Lake Erie, the thought of a tornado touching down on Pelee crosses my mind. I wonder should an awful event ever happen, would I be brave enough to wait out the storm beneath the house with these spiders or would I rather just face the storm head on?
On occasion, these large spiders make their way indoors. Just writing that sends a shiver down my spine. Luckily, there’s usually a man in the house to take care of it, though it pains me to say that. I like to think I can handle any situation on my own. But too many failed attempts at trying to vacuum up an eight legged creature have proven otherwise.
Recently, I had to put on a brave face when my girlfriends, Joanne and Debbie came down for the weekend. Settling in on our first night there, Joanne entered the bathroom only to exit quickly.
“Is that a joke?!” She asked pointing back at the bathroom.
“A what?” I couldn’t make out what she had said from across the room.
“A joke.” She repeated, “A joke spider?!”
“A choke spider?!” I answered back quizzically.
“No! Not a choke spider, a joke spider?!” she replied emphatically.
Uh oh, I thought to myself, This is going to be a big one.
Together, the three of us entered the bathroom slowly and there on the wainscoting sat a big hairy spider.
“No, it’s not a joke spider.” I quickly pronounced.
We looked at each other and then back at the spider.
“It’s okay.” I lied.“I’ll grab the vacuum.”
I tried to sound fearless as I left the room.
I started to envision flailing legs being pulled into the vacuum suction and just the thought made me quiver. I returned to the bathroom, vacuum nozzle on the ready, where perhaps having sensed my hesitation, Joanne had thankfully, taken the matter into her own hands.