Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Hairy Beast

Mexican Redknee Tarantula.

This is a Wikipedia pic. It’s not me!

Back in the day before we had kids, G-Man and I lived out on one of the family ranches in a house with a screened-in patio. There was no door on the space, just a hole where the door had been.

The patio opened off our bedroom through a sliding glass door. I loved filling the area with plants in the spring and summertime. There was a “shelf” (actually, support for the screening) that went all the way around for holding my smaller plants. The big ones I set on the concrete floor.

Because my man was working 24 hour call at that time, I was home alone a lot. I spent a lot of time working on my plants, cleaning the space and dreaming about how I’d change it if I could.

One day I was out there, sweeping and watering, when I heard footsteps. Naturally, I turned to if a cow had found a way into the yard (again) or if someone was out there, working cattle.


It was a brand new visitor.

Now Dad had taught us girls that tarantulas weren’t critters to be feared. He used to pick them up and say hello whenever we came across one. But for some reason, having a hairy spider that was bigger than a coffee cup stomping around my patio unnerved me.

He was between the open doorway and me, so I grabbed my broom. Straw end down, I smacked at him. I wasn’t trying to hit him. (I was afraid he’d break the straw.) I just wanted to shoo him toward the door.

Instead of shooing, he jumped over the broom (!) and chased me. Being a very sensible woman, I screamed, threw down the broom, ran into the house, slammed AND LOCKED the sliding glass door.

That giant spider picked up my broom and broke it right over his knee. 😉

When G-Man came home that evening, I told him about the bully spider chasing me around our patio. “Kill it!” I demanded.

G-Man listened quietly, went into the kitchen and found a clean jar, then walked back through the house and out to the patio. I hoped the mean spider was gone.

After Gary moved the pieces of broom left after the tarantula got through with it, he looked around. Naturally, I hoped Mr. Tula had gone home, because I didn’t want to have to call 9-1-1 and tell them my husband had been beaten up by a spider.

But no. The hairy beast was still there, waiting on Gary like one gunfighter waits on the other.

“Never mind!” I yelled through the firmly closed glass door. “Just leave him there. I can get more plants.”

They both ignored me.

I squealed, “Eeeeeeeeeewwwwww. . . ” Gary stooped and put the jar in front of the tarantula, who calmly walked right in.

When G-Man had a little piece of cardboard covering the jar’s mouth, I opened the door. “Are you going to pour gas on it and burn it?”

G-Man gave me a look. “He won’t hurt you.”

“He CHASED me,” I argued.

“Well, you might hurt yourself, but he won’t hurt you.” He watched the monster inside the jar as if he thought he was interesting. Ew, again.

I stood way back. “You’re going to turn him loose in the yard, aren’t you?”

“Yeah. They just eat other bugs and stuff.”

“Well, he won’t leave. We might as well name him before you turn him loose.”

“You name him.”

“Okay. He looks like an Irving to me.”

We saw Irving several times before we moved out of that house.

Irving came to see me again yesterday. He’s moved closer to town and was taking a stroll on the jogging track near C-Town. The poor guy is getting older now and not moving very fast.

He didn’t jump or play chase yesterday, but instead mosied along while we chatted. I tried to get him to hold hands while my walking buddy took our picture together, but he didn’t even want to do that.

He just wanted to get home to his bottle of Ibuprofen and a heating pad. I kind of wanted to do the same thing.