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Mon, June 24

Around the Bluhmin’ Town: Manuel, the tarantula, is back again!

It’s a scary world out there. Sometimes, Dear Readers, we just need a friend. A friend who will trek miles through a scorching desert, escape the perils of predators, suffer through the wind, rain and dust of monsoons with no map, GPS or cell phone, just to walk up your driveway, saunter in through your open door and once again, grace your life with an annual visit. Yes, Manuel, the tarantula is back.

My friend Diane Wilson has reported that last week she found Manuel sitting on a shelf in her laundry room.

You see, this is what he does. Shows up, unannounced, since around 1990, and every year thereafter, and then lounges around the house for three months. On the ceiling (would scare me over my bed), in the shower stall (stay dirty that day), on the kitchen counter (eat out) and sometimes just resting on the back of the sofa (keep standing).

In other words, Manuel makes himself at home!

Let me tell you the story from the beginning. My friend, Diane, has had a tarantula, fondly named Manuel, coming around every summer for 26 years. He arrives in late July and leaves in early October. The arachnid specialist at the Phoenix Zoo speculates that this tarantula has an established migration pattern, which has been likely imprinted into the offspring. And since a female tarantula can live 25 years (males usually 10 to 12 years) it might be safe to say that this furry little beast is actually a son or daughter of Manuel.

It all started one July day, when Diane noticed something with a big belly and hairy legs walking into her house through an open door (no, it wasn’t her neighbor). Yikes, a spider of the biggest, furriest kind was strutting around her kitchen! Consider the kind heart and calm disposition that it takes to open your home to a big, fat spider! Not a pet, nor a companion, just a little creature of God that strolled innocently in through an open door. After checking out the premises and the occupant, he liked what he found and keeps coming back.

Manuel is the perfect house guest. He finds his own food, doesn’t make a mess, seeks no special attention and goes about his routine without getting into anyone’s way. Well, once he did frighten Diane (who obviously doesn’t scare easily) when one day she was going to put a Velcro curler in her hair and found Manuel sitting inside one of the big round rollers. Okay, so that summer she wore her hair straight, but other than that Manuel has been an “easy-keeper.”

Yes, there are problems in the world, but with Manuel’s arrival, it is a reminder that the earth is spinning on its proper axis and the stars are lined up just right.

Life is good, because one big, happy eight-legged critter seems to have found his way back “home.”

So Dear Readers, if you see one of our Arizona wonders, like the tarantula, please look kindly and do not be afraid. They make perfect houseguests.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local Realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at

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