A-Hunting We Will Go - for Christmas Trees

When we were living in Chico, CA we drove to the Christmas tree farm to cut our tree for the holidays. Phyllis and I went with Mike & Lyn Bankhead and had a wonderful time singing carols on the way and sharing childhood memories of the season. Because the tree was so large, Mike was forced to lay down on the ground to cut down the tree. When we put it on the top of our car to bring home, the car completely disappeared! We had to tie it on the top of the car with a rope and had to keep the windows partially opened for the rope to pass through. Mike laughed out loud seeing the car disappear and we were forced to drive a tree!

Car Tree

When we arrived home, I was unable to get out of the driver’s seat because I was roped in by the tree. Mike removed the tree from the top of the car and I was cutting off a small portion of the bottom of the trunk. When I had just started sawing, Mike spied a huge spider jump away from my saw. He said, "flip that sucker over." When I did, we discovered a beautiful red hourglass pattern on the largest black widow spider we had ever seen.

Black Widow SpiderBlack Widow

Black Widow Spider Shade
(OK, this is just a shadow on a lampshade
and not a spider! BUT, it LOOKS a bit like a spider.)
Photo was taken June 11, 2017

Phyllis and Lyn were already inside the house preparing to bring in this approximately 18-foot tree. I was completely undecided as to how we were going to get the tree in place without Phyllis finding out about the spiders. It was not only full of all varieties of wildlife; it also had thousands of dead pine needles packed near its trunk. Mike stuck his bare hand in towards the center of the tree and swept out as many of the dead needles he could reach. Eventually, the tree was brought inside, placed in the tree stand and wired to the wall for stability. I placed a large plastic tarp under the tree to protect the carpet.

SpiderBlack Widow

I then sneaked out into the garage and brought in several cans of insect spray. I climbed a very tall ladder and started spraying. The constant shower of black widows, additional arachnids, and other insects that started falling onto the tarp seemed endless and sounded like rain. I was forced to use a vacuum cleaner to suck up the now-deceased creatures.

When our son, David, arrived for the holidays, I told him about what had preceded his arrival and cautioned him to not share it with his mother. He did as instructed, but instead, went to the local Wal-Mart store and purchased a huge bag of fake plastic spiders. He then came back to the house and secretly stood in the upstairs loft overlooking the tree and cast the fake spiders all over the tree, surrounding floor, fireplace, furniture, etc. Years later when we were moving out of that house, we were still finding fake black widow spiders!

From that day forward, we have used artificial Christmas trees. Spantas (Spiders and Santas) don't mix.

Spider Sculpture - Bilbao Spain
"Maman" by Louise Bourgeois (1999)
Spider Sculpture at the Guggenheim in Bilbao Spain
(Do you suppose this was erected in honor of our Christmas Tree Expedition? Probably not.)
Spider Crab

Spider Crab
Inspector Clouseau: "I thought you said your spider did not bite!"
Response: "That is NOT my spider!"

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