Mr. Banana Spider? You Were Sweeter Than Bananas.

This is Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle. It’s always a good day when I can talk to you. Actually, it’s always a good day when you can listen to me talk to you. But today, I have something more important to talk about perhaps then other days. I want to tell you about a spider. A banana spider. Mr. Banana Spider that should have had many more days finding bananas in the woods.

Many persons see spiders and are scared.  Many persons see spiders that are big and think that every spider wants to harm them in some way.  But often, I think that these persons think more of themselves than even I do of myself.  And that’s a lot.  I have learned, especially from camping, that the earth and its inhabitants are all just trying to not only to survive, but to enjoy life.  It is when the persons think that they are more important than the little things that life is taken away or life is altered for those just trying to live.

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You see, we do come across many things that can harm us if they wanted to or felt like they had to. Take for example a coral snake that crossed our hiking path the other day.  Yes, yes, we know that this little snake was very poisonous.  But he was just trying to be safe too, and because we did not bother him, he did not bother us.  And that usually seems to be the way to do it.

It is ok, I think to look at many things but not touch.  Um, yeah.  I am talking about me.
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But apparently, there are some who think that seeing something beautiful but scary to them in some way gives them the right…just because they are bigger than something, to harm it for no reason.  And I can’t agree with that.  I can’t justify that.  But I can arrest that.  I am the Sheriff and that is my job.  But my arrest goes further.  Because I never want this to happen again to another.
Mr. Banana Spider was just hanging out, literally, on a chilly day in this Florida place.  Girl Person had seen many spiders here at camp.  But this spider was very beautiful, very large and very spiderish.  Mr. Banana Spider deserved his title because he had earned it.  He had built one of the biggest nests because he was one of the biggest spiders.  And he enjoyed his days of hanging out, eating and being the best Mr. Banana Spider he had been raised to be.
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But little did he know that a group of small campers with big sticks, loud voices and a general disregard for anyone, would decide they had the right to knock him out of his web that he so meticulously took days and days to build.  He thought he was in a safe place.  The campground was often quiet.  And he had a good spot to watch everything.
On a Saturday just like any other Saturday for him, he saw the group of campers walking towards him.  They took notice of him.  No, not because of his beauty.  No, not because they wanted to give Mr. Banana Spider a banana.  No, they simply wanted to feel more important.  They wanted to simply feel like they mattered more than a beautiful spider who had taken so long to build his life, his comfort and his nest.  Instead of simply walking by, they took one of their big sticks and knocked him to the ground and would not let him go.  Mr. Banana Spider gave it all he had.  But he was not to see Sunday.  And we were not to have a dry eye for quite a few hours when we could not find him.
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You see, Girl Person had told Boy Person about Mr. Banana Spider.  And she was taking him over to look at him when her worst fears of what she had heard earlier were indeed true.  And as Boy Person’s face fell, so did their emotions and our tears.  But Boy Person tried to think positively for a moment.  If there was any chance that Mr. Banana Spider had gotten away, he would rebuild his nest.  He would come back.  And they would wait. And they would watch for him.
As the hours went on, the reality was there.  Mr. Banana Spider had not ran to safety.  Mr. Banana Spider was not coming back.  And we were mad.  And sad.  And all of the above and more.  Sometimes, things happen that make no sense, because the people that do them have no sense, as Pappy used to say.
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Were we regretful we had met Mr. Banana Spider?  No, we were not.  Girl Person had gazed on his beauty and I sure he felt appreciation every time we simply just walked by and did not harm him.  We hoped that he knew somehow we had waited for him to come back.  And although many persons may not have understood him, we did.  He was our friend.
Maybe there has been someone in your life that no one understood.  Maybe you had a best friend or a family member that seemed scary to others, but you knew their heart.  I would say that maybe…just maybe…many don’t understand my growls. My demeanor.  My heart.  But you see, everyone of us is just trying to survive, and so often, our guards make others scared.  But there will always be that someone who looks past that and loves us for who we are.  Mr. Banana Spider?
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We loved you for all that you were and you were appreciated when you were here.  We hope you know that not all persons are out to harm others.  But it is up to each one of us to educate others that we

-Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle

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The Lesson Of The Tower In The Woods

This is Deputy Digby Pancake.  It’s been a week of walking.  Napping.  Being cold.  Trying to stay warm.  Trying to eat as many pancakes as possible.  Oh, what a week.  But our family being all back together after the persons’ vacation made me realize that a week can make a big difference.  A week can be filled with goals met, tasks accomplished and plans realized.  Or it can be a week of nothing getting done, naps and thinking about all of the things that you think that you should have got done.  I prefer the latter.  But Sheriff Brickle says that in order to move ahead in life, you have to keep trying to climb.  You have to keep trying to get higher.  You have to look for that tower.  And we found it.  The tower in the woods.

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We have hiked in many places.  Some places have destinations to reach along the way or at the end of the trail like waterfalls or pretty views.  But some hikes are simply there to be walked and traveled on.  For those trails, it is more about the journey than the destination.  But yesterday, as we traveled upon a trail we had been on many times, we went a little further.  And there in the distance we saw it.  The tower in the woods.

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Now, if you know me and you know my short legs, you know those legs don’t like stairs.  You know that this butt didn’t get so cute by doing a jazzercise class. 

So I made the conscious decision right off that i would not be climbing those stairs  NO way.  No how.  

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But for Sheriff Brickle, he decided that stairs were his invitation to new heights, new views.  And I was a little confused at this.  We had been to this park before.  Even before we camped here this time.  The views were no different than yesterday or even a year before.  So why did he want to climb the tower I wondered? What was up there?

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Well, Brickle started walking up the stairs. Girl Person took off his leash and told him to go and that she would stay with me.  We would be in hearing distance of him and the tower was enclosed on all sides.  It would be up to him how far he went.  Girl Person said that all of us need a little confidence.  And he deserved to see how high he wanted to go.  The tower was going to take him to new heights in self esteem. Like he really needed it.

So as he went up the first flight of stairs, I saw him look back.  I thought for a second of joining him but then thought of breakfast and decided I would wait.  I could see him look back and he went up a second flight of stairs.  Right about now, I saw Girl Person’s face and saw her questioning her decision on whether she should have let him go.  I would say she is a bit overprotective of us.  Not sure why except for all the times we tried to run away or hide.  No, I am not sure why.  But if you know Brickle and you know Girl Person, you know that they can read each other’s thoughts.  And Brickle stopped.  Girl Person called to him to come down if he wanted, but he froze.  He slipped a little on nothing and then wouldn’t move at all.  Girl Person told me to wait, tied me to a rail and went to get him.  You see, the tower may have been built to climb, but it was also built to test whether you wanted to climb.

Brickle came down, and his look spelled a little more confidence.  But it also spelled a future date with the tower.  You see, we may want to climb, but maybe halfway to our goal, we freeze.  Maybe we think that the end reward won’t be worth it.  I asked Brickle why he wanted to go to the top to look at things we had already seen before.  How was that worth climbing all of those stairs?

Brickle said that sometimes, it isn’t about seeing something new, but seeing something in a new way.  Like when he looks at himself in different angles in different mirrors.

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Goals in life may lead us back to the same place.  But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth the journey back there.  So as we keep trying to decide our next steps…whether that be Italy or somewhere else, stay with us.  Keep climbing with us, won’t you? Let’s keep pusing forward and see where this goes.  We can do it!

Let’s see what we find at the top when we finally get there.  The lesson of the tower in the woods is that every step, every breath on the way up will be hard.  And if we need to come back down for awhile, we can.  But the next time, take a few more steps and don’t forget to enjoy the view when you get to the top.

-Deputy Digby Pancake

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