Tarantula Tuesday OK so it was Friday and Saturday Tuesday just goes better with Tarantula
by Marijo Phelps 2/16/2010 / Short Stories
The road was straight and went on and on flat for Colorado through desolate towns of yesteryear which were no more. We could see snow covered Spanish Peaks in the distant horizon. Occasionally there was a tree with leaves yellow, gold or rusty banners waving as we drove by, unusual for November in this wind to even see leaves. They were beautiful in this trip back into time. The railroad tracks were flanked by short and old electric poles with the glass caps of green/blue and white on them a collector's dream but obviously still functional.
We got to a little town called Model, old homes with sagging rooflines, not a person in sight. Some years decorated only with older model vehicles and no sign of inhabitants. The ancient store building saying mercantile and it was all boarded up. The post office was unique. A part of a building that looked inhabited stuck out through a fence the door said post office and stated hours. The rest of the building was inside the fence and had children's toys and other items in the yard.
We were looking for Pinon Canyon which was farther down the road. A place for military maneuvers and hunters wanting to use a lot of preference points for the honor of hunting there. Mick had saved points for 13 years and this year was one of only 20 who would be hunting there in December. He filled out the papers and paid the extra fees so we could come down and take a look.
After finding some friendly staff ex-military and now working for the department of wildlife it seemed and filling out more papers we were finally able to explore this desolately beautiful place seemingly in the middle of nowhere.
We began driving down one of the well maintained gravel roads and I spotted our first wild life.
"Honey, look up ahead, isn't that a tarantula spider!?"
The last tarantula I had seen was about 24 years prior in Texas after a long and hard rain. It was about the size of a silver dollar and the biggest arachnoid I had ever seen. This one was a mere 4 inches in diameter, think saucer sized. I asked Mick to make sure my distaste hadn't increased the size of the critter in my mind. Yep, 4 inches in diameter. Only in movies had I seen one this huge (I know, they get to dinner plate size but the Lord does have mercy).
"Hey, come out and look at him."
Not on this planet or in this lifetime would I get out of the truck and risk the hairy spider jumping on me.
"Go ahead, I am really happy to stay in the truck"
Mick studied the fellow and then jumped in the truck backing up. "Hey, don't hurt it, I just don't want to be watching him without a windshield between us."
He backed the truck and then leaned over to me and said "Jo, if you open the door he should be right down from you and you can get a better look at him."
What a hubby! The last time we'd seen a tarantula - yes, he was there in Texas and wanted to catch the critter in a band aid box to take to his 6 year old nephew. We were newly engaged. I implored him saying I could be just as dead from a heart attack as a spider bite and didn't want to risk either. He was disgruntled but left that spider to his trek across the wet roadway - he almost brought it in the truck with us. This time he had learned me well enough to humor me.
I opened the truck door a really wide 3 inches figuring the furry guy wouldn't jump backwards and up onto me at the same time not being able to see who was ogling him.
Hum, ok, he was really quite an impressive guy; black and hairy and had some nice (?) fawn color on the top of his back. He was slowly moving across the gravel and into the ditch at the side of the road. Later when I was more rational I was wondering how do they know which foot to move? I have trouble with two, a left and a right especially when I am looking at SPIDERS. I am being a good writer and looking up how many legs they do have to no avail. Suffice it to say he had MANY legs and it was confusion watching him trying to decide which leg's turn it was to mutate the beast forward.
OK, so God is very creative and this fellow was really quite handsome. I decided right then and there that I was not, never, no way going to sign up to be his "leading lady" with choked down screams, gritted teeth and great drops of sweat dripping off my forehead.
"Hey, let's hike over to those hills and see if there is any water there or deer sign."
Mars? Venus? MEN! "Oh, I think I'll pass, have this novel I brought that I am dying to read."
Yes, in packing all the hiking equipment, GPS, maps, water, 2 way walkie-talkies I had forgotten the camera so I cannot share a visual of Mr. Spider with you and, I also forgot my prescription reading glasses. That didn't keep me from the novel.
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.
Saved by His grace in 1974, from 9 years of professing atheism into His loving arms. RN for 23 years, missionary with YWAM then statistical analyst for Every Home for Christ over 9 years. Living with my husband in the middle of a mountain meadow. GRIN! Wanting to spread the good news