I never expected danger on my way to load the car that morning. Hurricane Florence left us soaked but otherwise unharmed. Shawn’s place of employment closed due to the hurricane, and she planned ahead by bringing inventory home to package. When the office reopened she carefully stowed each box in a trash bag to shield the products from the rain and whistled for the bell hop to move them to the car. In the dark dampness I threaded my way down the steps past my growing pile of storm debris. Then it happened. I found myself stuck in a huge spider web. Spider webs that size and erected in a single night are usually the work of a very large spider. And I saw him! Up close and personal. Eye-ball to eye-ball!
I hate spiders.
There is nothing like a shot of main-lined adrenaline to get a fellow moving first thing in the morning! I managed not to squeal like a girlie-man as I reversed course and wind-milled my arms. The old smooth moves never failed me as I waltzed backward with a series of spinning kicks and dashed up the steps. I determined to get into the light to locate that bug before he snatched a bite of the oversized chicken nugget he had snared.
As the storm door slammed behind me I could contain the vocal energy no longer and pleaded for Shawn to come a running and help me inspect the front and back of my 6’3” frame. Whew! NSF – No Spider Found. I turned on every outdoor light I could find, grabbed the broom from the front porch and returned to the fray to run that varmint off the property.
A memory of Mom flooded my thoughts. For the longest time Mom lived in a rural location up Browns Creek in West Virginia. That is near the town of Tornado and not far from Hurricane. Though only five miles from the nearest K-Mart, it seemed like Mom lived in the boonies. My brother and I grew up and left home, and Mom’s isolation became a concern but that tenacious woman was not about to leave her flowers. Her resistance multiplied with the addition of her new deck and its amphitheater view of her flower-studded hillside.
Given that occasional bears and coyotes roamed the woods Jeff and I wanted to set up some type of home defense. We wanted Mom to have a way to protect herself.
Mom hated guns. And she recoiled at anything to do with technology. Weapons and alarm systems were therefore out. Jeff purchased a gas-powered pellet pistol thinking it was better than nothing. But that pellet pistol looked like, well, a gun and Mom refused to try it. She insisted he remove it from her house.
Mom kept a broom beside the backdoor for her daily sweepings of the porch and steps. She often smacked that broom against the house to chase off the neighbor’s dog as it prepared to squat in the flower beds. Coupled with an appropriately annunciated “Git!” she had run off more than one four-legged critter treating her gardens as a rest area.
She once broom-battled a raccoon family that terrorized her bird feeder. In the dim glow of the porch light, armored in her house coat, and brandishing that deadly weapon she swatted at those coons until they turned tail and vamoosed.
What about the bears or coyotes that civilization had crowded into the woods behind the house? Would Mom be dragged down and gobbled as she ventured out to put the trash in the can one morning? Jeff and I discussed that possibility with worry-lines creasing our foreheads. We pictured Mom facing off, broom in hand, against a black bear.
We concluded the bear never had a chance. Imagine being chased by a tiny white-haired fighter armed with a broom and a prayer. The intimidated bear would run away very fast.
So we quit bringing up the subject of home defense. And we kept our worries to ourselves. But we made sure Mom always had a solid broom resting beside the back door.
Sometimes a prayer and a good broom are all one needs.