Originally Published: September 11, 2017 6 a.m.
Manuel, where art thou? Our kind and friendly tarantula has not yet arrived at my friend Diane Wilson’s house for his annual visit! Twenty-plus years have gone by since he first wandered up the driveway and made a habit of staying with Diane for three months at a time. Manuel, what happened?
It’s a scary world out there. Sometimes, Dear Readers, we just need a friend. A friend who will walk miles through a scorching desert, escape the perils of predators, suffer through the wind, rain and dust of monsoons with no map, GPS or cellphone, just to walk up your driveway, saunter in through your open door and once again, grace your life with a visit. That was Manuel.
My friend Diane gave us thrilling reports of finding Manuel sitting on a shelf in her laundry room. You see, this is what he does. Shows up, unannounced 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. Our spidey, fondly called Manuel, would arrive in late July and leave 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 into the house and decided to hang around. After checking out the premises and the occupant, he liked what he found and keeps coming back.
But this year is different. No Manuel. But wait! A smaller tarantula, possibly a juvenile, has come walking up Diane’s drive, through her doorway and has been looking around. He seems to like what he sees and has made himself comfortable. This little guy moves pretty fast, but seems content to “explore” the place as he strolls through the house ... Manuel had a baby?
Yes, there are problems in the world, but with spidey’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, happy eight-legged critter seems to have found his new “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 firstname.lastname@example.org.