“I don’t like Spiders and Snakes & that ain’t what it takes to love me …”
From the time I was a very small child, I was so frightened of things that crept, crawled and flew. I was afraid of anything that didn’t have fur, and some things that did … like mice and, dare I say, rats? Think my darling Mother taught me this fear, or perhaps it was in my genes. She was highly allergic to wasp, bee, and hornet stings and maybe her running from them affected me. Whatever, I still don’t like them, but I’m not afraid anymore. When you face the worst, you lose the fear, I guess..
Then, when I was in the 7th grade, I met the first love of my life. His name was Johnny Martin, and he lived in a house just around the corner from me. One day, after school, he invited me over. He said, “I have something I really want to show you.” I was in love, so I said “OK”. His Mom was there, keeping a watchful eye, and followed us in to Johnny’s bedroom. It was filled with aquarium after aquarium of snakes, lizards and spiders. I said, “How nice”, but it was the end of that romance … wondering whatever happened to Johnny Martin.
Life goes on, but my fear didn’t cease for things that crawl in the night. Married my soul mate and partner for life, Mr. Horne. He really had no patience for my fears. I would scream. He would say, “What’s wrong?” Usually, some little bug, but they were huge to me. He would rid us of the offending insect and that would be the end of it.
When our oldest son, Allyn, was born, my Mom and I, regrettably, instilled the fear and loathing for these creatures in him. He will dispose of these creepy, crawly things, but he doesn’t like them!
But there was no fear in Jeffrey and Brian … not from the moment they were born. They would delight in frightening me with frogs, lizards, and bugs … bringing them inside, putting them in my face, just doing what little boys do. They ate worms and laughed about it. They are amazing! They especially loved taunting me when we came to the beach. There is a tree-lined boardwalk over to the ocean from our place. One day, we were walking over and I asked, “Boys, do you think snakes get up in the trees?” They just said, “Yes.” I asked, “Do you think they would drop down on us?” They just said, “Yes.” Didn’t ask anymore questions, but I still look over my head every time I walk across that boardwalk!
One night, we were at the beach for a long weekend. Mr. Horne had gone to bed and the “boys” and I were watching, of all things, “Arachnophobia” – an awful movie about spiders invading and attacking a family and their friends. I was lying on the sofa, Brian on the love seat, and Jeffrey sitting in his chair. We came to a particularly exciting part of the movie, and we were all on the edge of our seats. Suddenly, from the ceiling, a spider made his way, totally unnoticed, down his web, right onto my chest. I screamed … so did the boys. Then they laughed … so did I. Jeff disposed of the spider, and we went back to watching our “spider” movie. There are no coincidences!
For Jeff’s High School graduation, his beautiful girlfriend, Heather, gave him a Knob-tailed Gecko. Jeff tried to sneak it into the house without my knowing, but, as always, I was at the back door waiting for him to come home. He suggested I go to bed while he took care of something. Well that just raised my suspicions, so I said “No”. He said, “OK, Mom, but you won’t like this.” In a few minutes he came in the back door with this lizard in an aquarium. He said, “I’m sorry, Mom. Please don’t be mad. Heather gave it to me for graduation.” What would you have said? I helped him in and just asked him to keep it away from me. It ate crickets … more bugs! When he left for college, he took it with him, and I breathed a sigh of relief. At least it was out of my house.
But then, while away at school, he bought a Pygmy Ball Python … to match his Gecko, I guess. When he became ill with Leukemia, he brought the snake home. Heather kept it for a while. Then it came home and lived in our basement. It ate mice … how disgusting! Still, it made him happy and that was enough. Don’t know what happened to the Gecko. It didn’t come home. But, I found a wonderful place for the Python after we lost Jeff. It broke my heart to see that little snake go …
I live now in a place where I and creatures of all varieties co-exist. Went out the front door this afternoon and a 6′ snake slithered across the walkway. I DO NOT like these things – no, “I don’t like spiders and snakes” – but like I said, they don’t scare me anymore. The thing that scares me most of all is losing just one more person to Leukemia and Blood Cancers. Did you know … nearly 1,000,000 people are living with these cancers today? Over 150,000 are newly diagnosed each year, and more than 50,000 are lost each year to these wretched diseases. Together, though, we can find a cure. Will you help???