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By Joseph Walker
For the most part, we've both managed to maintain our respective ends of the bargain. Aside from one bee sting, one minor dog bite and a run-in with a crazy Arabian horse named - appropriately - Crazy, my life has been relatively free from beastly entanglements. And if you don't count a brief childhood foray into grasshopper experimentation and three small rainbow trout that somehow found the shriveled worm on my hook too tempting to resist, I've managed to maintain a fairly amicable relationship with all creatures great and small.
A few weeks ago I was cleaning up some stuff in the garage when I noticed something shiny and black on the ground out of the corner of my eye - and it was moving.
On eight legs.
In my view, something that moves quickly on eight legs is never a good thing to see -- especially not in my garage. But when it is shiny and black and has bright red -- you might even say "blood red" -- markings on its back... well, it is cause for alarm.
Which, of course, I sounded. Boisterously.
"We have a black widow in our garage!" I screamed. I'm not sure if anyone heard me, since I was standing on the roof by the time the words finally escaped my mouth.
Hey, I don't know how sensitive black widows are to the deranged ramblings of arachnophobic old men. And I didn't want to take a chance of... you know ... upsetting her. At least, not as long as she was within range to do to me what she did to her late husband.
Eventually I made my way back down to the garage. I carefully, cautiously crept toward the corner to which she had scampered. Sure enough, there was a large, delicately constructed web (note to self: clean garage more often!), and she was perched squarely in the middle of it. As soon as I took a step toward her, however, she scrambled off the web, across the floor and under the garage baseboard.
Well, I wasn't going to poke around under there. And while I waited for her to come out again, I started thinking. I mean, it's not like we had anything of value in that corner of the garage. And it's not like we ever went over there. If we left her alone, I was sure she would leave us alone. Maybe.
So I warned my teenage children and my wife that we had a black widow in that corner of the garage, and told them that if we left her alone she would leave us alone. Probably.
But then Sammie Jo came over. Sammie is our youngest grandchild, and at age 2 has developed a mind and will entirely her own. As far as she is concerned, "no" is just a pit stop on her way to going wherever she wants to go. So when she wandered toward that part of the garage and I told her "no," I knew that that is precisely where she would go the next time she got the chance. That's just the way it works with Sammie.
Which meant that the black widow had to go. Immediately. That night I went out to the garage with my flashlight, my hard hat (in case it jumped or attacked or something) and my plastic baseball bat, and I did what I had to do. I've tried to blot out the details because... well, I still have to go into that garage. But no matter how scary it was, I did it. Turns out there are a lot of things you're willing to do for your family that you would never do otherwise.
Joseph Walker has been writing professionally since 1980, when he left college to join the staff of a daily metropolitan newspaper. For 10 years -- including six as the paper's TV columnist and critic -- he was part of the mainstream media, and was painfully aware of the overwhelming negativity of contemporary journalism. Joe says, "Nobody was looking for real solutions to the problems society was facing; they were just looking for someone or something to blame the problems on." So in 1990 Joe began writing ValueSpeak, a weekly syndicated column that attempts to look at contemporary issues from the perspective of traditional values. Joe and his wife, Anita, are parents of five children, and one grandchild.
You'll love his new book, "How Can you Mend a Broken Spleen!" Ordering is simple and fast at the following Amazon address:
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"The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank." --Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Only a fool would say to himself, "There is no God." --Psalm 53:1
"If a lady has a black thing on her tooth, tell her."
"If you think it's easy to take candy away from a baby - you should try it."--Henny Youngman
"The best place to find a helping hand is at the end of your arm."
"Page one is scary, page two not as scary, and then it gets better after that. You get your whole mind wrapped up in a book." --Steve Hamilton
"Daisy Air Rifles: "Keeping kids off your lawn for over forty years."
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20
I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for the beautiful video you made for me! It was so special to see both of my parents in tears as they watched their children grow up in pictures before their eyes! I loved the way you made Estania's part set aside from the rest--that was the part that really got them! The music was beautiful. My mom kept blubbering, "What song is that?" I don't know how you did such a beautiful job with the video in such a short time. I really appreciate your doing it so quickly. You have a wonderful gift, and I thank God that you are using it to create such sentimental memories. I hope that I can find my niche like that in an area that I love. Your video gave us one of our most lasting Christmas memories! I hope yours was filled with moments to be treasured forever! Love, Trisha Silverhill, AL
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