By Joan Young
I don't have a real Christmas tree anymore I always said I would never have an artificial tree and my husband and I were the type to go to a Christmas tree farm and chop down our own. You never saw such pretty trees in all your life. But then came
the year of our last ever real chop-it-down-yourself Christmas tree.
We had chopped a gorgeous Blue Spruce and brought it home and left it outside to stay nice and fresh. It was quite cold
that year and our tree stayed fresh until we brought it in a few days before Christmas and decorated it with all our traditional
decorations. It looked magnificent.
One morning as I walked past the tree I heard a slight noise it was a pinging sound. I looked closer at the tree and had to
rub my eyes to make sure I wasn't having a nightmare. There "to my wondering eyes did appear" not a sleigh or reindeer but spiders not one or two, but hundreds of big, black, hairy,
I later found a book on spiders and found these critters under the heading "Jumping Spiders." They are Phidippus Audax: Common in North America. Large, heavy bodied
and conspicuous. These spiders are found on vegetation, stones, and sometimes inside houses [yeah, right]. In captivity, they are active and have good appetites. One captive Phidippus ate
more than 40 fruit flies in succession." So now you know what I was up against. Not only were these Phidippi big, hairy and active, but also they were hungry.
Apparently, there had been a nest of these spiders in the tree and when the tree was brought into the warm house they hatched out and were merrily jumping from ball to ball and mini-light to
mini-light ping-ping-ping! I
headed for the nearest can of bug spray and sprayed those Phidippi until I could no longer breathe, but they didn't seem to mind at all. We had a string of lights on the tree with "chimney" bulbs and they just hopped
down inside the chimneys to escape the onslaught of the spray. Then, when the coast was clear (the can was empty), they began jumping off the tree and onto the ceiling and walls.
It took until after Christmas to rid the house of the spiders and that was when I made my first and last New Year's resolution no more real Christmas trees.
Thanks to Joan Young for permission to reprint her Christmas story, which she originally posted on 3 December 1998 to the mailing list PADUTCH-LIFE-L@rootsweb.com.
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