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Ghost of Midnight

… about neighbors, community and Front Porch Forum

Poisonous spider on Caroline St?

A near-tragic tale played out on the other side of the window just beyond the monitor that hogs so much of my attention every day. As reported on the Five Sisters Neighborhood Forum

One of the movers unloading the North American truck next door apparently was bit in the neck by a spider yesterday evening (5/30/07). He had a terrible reaction and ended up in the emergency room and in the hospital overnight. His wife came and drove him home to Rhodes Island this morning. It reportedly was not an allergic reaction. The mover is a big, young, otherwise healthy guy.

The spider seemed to be hanging out in a stack of moving pads, so no telling where s/he came from…

I sincerely hope the mover makes a full recovery. I’m also concerned that the spider might have survived the encounter and is hanging around the Five Sisters. If anyone has any more or better information or insights, I’d love to hear them. -Michael

P.S. The moving truck’s battery now is dead (a light was left on in the confusion), the healthy mover gone back to Rhodes Island (he wasn’t qualified to drive) and I’m not sure how or when the truck will depart. Alas. One little spider wields some power in this world evidently.

Posted mid-day, this stirred up a lot of our neighbors… almost all of them it felt like as I heard it all from passersby as I sat on the front steps watching our tots. Here’s the follow-up…

Lori Myers, private detective, called the moving company in Rhodes Island and was told that the mover that was bitten smooshed the spider. Also, the company said that the spider was definitely poisonous… the mover’s heart stopped. They believe that he will be fine, but obviously he’s been through a terrible time. As far as the spider’s origins, no one knows. Escaped pet? The truck hasn’t left New England. But who knows about recent cargo, moving pads, etc. Lori wondered about eggs and suggested spraying the van to the moving company.

The truck remains planted outside our front door. The company plans to have it towed this afternoon. I feel a little like Jim reporting from the front lines on Wild Kingdom.

Good news… the truck was finally towed away.  The tow-truck guy looked a bit pale when told the story… but he provided a great “big trucks!” show for the little ones.  Finally, neighbor, school commissioner, author, and Daily Show guest, Fred Lane shared a post script…

Hi neighbors — Michael’s posting on the power of spiders reminded me of the story of the Scottish King Robert the Bruce, who according to legend was hiding in a cave following a particularly nasty defeat by the British in the winter of 1305-06. While there, he saw a spider trying unsuccessfully to spin a web. But after each failure, the undaunted spider would try again. Bruce was inspired by the spider’s perseverance and eventually secured Scotland’s independence eight years later.

The story is almost certainly apocryphal (Bruce’s cave has as many claimant’s as Washington’s bed), but it still has a hold in Scotland. In Dunfermline Abbey, where his body is buried, there is a stained glass window of King Robert the Bruce, and in the lower corner is depicted a tiny spider. And according to one children’s book, there are still many people in Scotland (especially those named Bruce) who will not kill a spider out of deference to the old story.

Posted in: Front Porch Forum, Neighborhood, Social Media, Stories, Vermont


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