The Story Of The Cricket And The Spider

This is Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle.  Sitting in the rain this week in North Carolina has left me with a lot of time to think.  Yes, we went hiking on the Blue Ridge Parkway in the rain, and as Deputy Digby told you yesterday, that was a bundle of fun.  A bundle.  And we have enjoyed it and will be telling you more about the parkway tomorrow and this weekend.  But today, it was necessary for me to tell you a story.  A story that really made me think way too hard in the rain.  And yet, their story needs to be told.  It is the story of one cricket and one spider in one campground bathroom in North Carolina that defied the odds of expectation.  A story of friendship.  A story of survival.  And a lesson to be learned.

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Once there was a spider named Fred.  Fred was walking along one day and being all spider like when he decided that he needed a little sprucing up.  There he was, in North Carolina, not really knowing where a spider could get spruced up.  He was walking along, and saw some water coming out of a wall and thought that would be just the place to wash up for a bit, then get back to what spiders do outside.  He saw the sign on the campground shower, and it didn’t say spiders were allowed, but no one else was waiting, and so he went right inside.  As sometimes we all do, we really don’t think things all the way through.  You see, Fred did not take into account that he had no hands to open the door again to get back out.  And so after his shower, he waited and he waited for someone to open the door.  But every time they did, he wasn’t fast enough to get out in time.  So, he waited.  And he waited.  And every time someone came in, he closed his eyes.  Oh, he did not want to see that.  Or that.  Or even that.

Hours went by and days went by and Fred was starting to wonder if he was ever going to get out.  He had plenty to eat and a cozy dry place to sleep, way up high. The people cleaning the showers seemed to let him be.  But he was lonely.  And they didn’t want to talk much. And well, lonely can be worse than being hungry.  Unless you are Digby.  Fred thought that perhaps he probably shouldn’t have been worried so much about his spider cleanliness and got himself into this shower situation.  But one night, when he was the loneliest of all, he heard it.  The sounds of a dinner bell to him.  The sounds of chirping.  He hadn’t called for food delivery, because he didn’t know the address of the campground shower.  But there that noise was again.  He finally recognized it.  It was the sound of a cricket.  To him, that meant a really nice meal.

Now, if you are a cricket named Ginger, you cannot read the signs on the campground shower either.  But she knew that the sign didn’t have a picture of a spider, so she was good with that.  She felt safe with that. She really wanted a shower too, and as she stepped inside, she was enjoying the cold, dirty shower as a cricket would.  But when the lights went on, she saw him.  Fred.  Fred the spider.  Fred the spider in the corner.  And she knew it.  She had picked the wrong place to be.  And as Fred had done too, she had forgot that she could not open that door.  She had no hands. Really.

At first, she froze. What would she do?  This was a situation that she had not planned on. And she knew that in her world, and in Fred’s world, what was expected of them was a story ending in one of them being not hungry anymore.  And one of them not being around…anymore.  She tried to be quiet hoping that he wouldn’t notice her, but it was too late.  She couldn’t open the door, and she could only stand there being her chirpy self.  Fred was tired.  Fred was lonely.  And Fred was hungry.  But Fred also wanted a friend.  And so he let Ginger know immediately that she didn’t have to be afraid.  He didn’t care so much for what others expected of him.  And certainly, no one expected anything out of him in the campground shower.  Here they were.  In a campground shower in North Carolina, and they had a choice.  They could either be friends.  Or they could be the opposite.

Right away, Fred told Ginger the safest place to hide in that shower.  And the safest place to hide her eyes.  They talked about the weather, their families out there and what they would do if they got out.  They made a plan.  No matter what the next day brought, they would enjoy the time they had.  You see, no one usually took a shower late at night except the bears.  So they danced until the sun came up.  Ginger chirped in her chirpiest cricket voice.  Fred listened and watched with his many, many eyes and danced with his many, many legs.  They talked about showing the world the first cricket and spider dance team ever.  They talked about being famous and what they would do with all their fame and money. And a campground shower spa came up in the conversation many times.  Without doors.

But as the night went on, Fred noticed that Ginger’s chirpiness started to get lower and lower.  It came up in conversation that Ginger’s age was not as it appeared on her driver’s license. And as her dancing got slower, one lowly campground camper came in to take a shower.  Fred knew the drill.  Climb up high on the wall and he told Ginger to follow.  But Ginger was tired from all the dancing and the singing.  And as the water came on, that camper looked down and saw Ginger.  It was Girl Person.  And she saw that Ginger was tired.  And wet.  She saw Fred watching her.  And she picked up Ginger and laid her outside on the grass.  She beckoned Fred to come along too, and he did.  He didn’t run out the door like he had expected to do. No.  But he stood with Ginger.  And he sat with Ginger.  And as Girl Person took her shower, and came back outside, she went to check on Ginger too.  Ginger had made it out of that shower with her friend Fred.  And as  she breathed her last cricket breath, she seemed to tell Fred thank you.  Thank you for being a friend.

Fred was sad.  Girl Person was sad.  But Ginger had not known that sadness.  She had known kindness and love as a cricket should.  Fred had reached inside himself and found a place of love, of defying what others thought he should do.  You see, life tells us certain things we do to survive are ok.  But what happens when those things harm others? Is there another way we can look at a situation or a problem to solve it without hurting another living thing?  Every kindness matters.  Every dance matters.

Fred and Ginger may have parted ways, but their story will live forever at Lake Powhatan Campground in Asheville, North Carolina.  Who can you dance with today that others would not expect you to?  Who can you dance with today that you are at odds with?  Who can you show kindness to on this day?

As Fred walked back to the campsite with Girl Person and his head hung low, he decided to build a remembrance of Ginger on the Big Blue Treat Wagon.

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You see, the web may not stay long, but her memory will live on for always.

-Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle

What is on our agenda today? Well, there are no more available spaces at the campground here in Asheville, North Carolina.  But guess what?  Boy Person’s sister person has a house that she rents out in Franklin, North Carolina…not too far from here! So we are going to pack it all up and head there!  We have not played house for a little while.  But it will be a nice place to regroup and finish out the Parkway! Are you with us?

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The Not So Itsy Bitsy Spider

This is Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle.  There are many wonders in this world.  There are natural wonders like me.  There are man made wonders like the pyramids.  But if you have not found a lonesome spider in an RV, well, you haven’t seen nothin.’

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Meet my friend Not A Recluse.  Yes, he has three names to be official, because officially, people mistake him for another spider called a Brown Recluse many times.  So many times in fact, that he has taken to hiding. Which actually would make him a recluse.  But who are you? The name police?  You see, some are wrongly accused.  Not like Deputy Digby who is always rightly accused.  Because he did it all.  But Not A Recluse has taken to hiding because not only is he innocent, but he is harmless.  Not only is he harmless, but he is useful.  And not only is he useful, but he is feared.  By you, probably. Most certainly.  But why?

It amazes me as a dog how persons are scared of so many things around them when they are bigger than most of those things.  And it amazes me that persons cannot see the value in someone like a spider just because it is supposedly scary.  Yes, some can harm us like poisonous snakes. But the downright truth it, and I always tell the truth, is that most of them are harmless.  It is you that is doing the harming to many other things when you disrupt their jobs and abilities. Most of the time, your fears are simply unfounded, y’all.

There Boy Person was last night, reorganizing and cleaning a little under the RV. And all of a sudden, there Not A Recluse was.  He was hanging out, building a web.  And at first, Boy Person jumped a little bit.  But he looked at Not A Recluse.  He didn’t see any signs that is was a Black Widow.  He didn’t see any signs that it was a Brown Recluse.  Why? The Brown Recluse has what you may think looks like a fiddle on him.  Also, remember. His name is Not A Recluse.  I guess I had to state the obvious.

Boy Person took a picture of him to blow up to make sure that he was correct in his assumptions that he was not a criminal.  And after doing a bit of research, it was determined that Not A Recluse could hang out where he wanted to hang out. He could catch bugs.  He could simply be what he wanted to be.  A spider that didn’t mean to scare anyone.  A spider that didn’t even know why persons should be scared of him.  For all he knows, he is the handsomest, best spider that there ever was.  For all he knows, he may think that the sun comes up for him everyday and that he deserves an award for being the best bug catcher around.

You see, sometimes, we think we are so important.  We go around, being all important.  We see a bug and we step on it because maybe we think it isn’t important.  Maybe a bug is in our house and we just kill it and don’t take it outside so that it can live.  Maybe we spray our yard with chemicals or weed killers and think nothing of everything we are doing to harm others.  And I have to say.  When will we know to stop? When will we realize that the more we fight against nature, the more it will fight back in other ways? When will we realize that everything could end if not for bugs? If not for spiders? If not for bees?

Just like persons and dogs are important, so are all living things.  Even the sea gulls on the beach that are driving us crazy.

Yes, we may harm things everyday that we don’t know. We may step on an ant just trying to be an ant.  We may swat a mosquito trying to do mosquito things. But for those that we can help, isn’t it imperative that we either take an extra minute to help them, or just let them be?  Not everything is out to get us.  Everything is just trying to be.  Just trying to live and be the best that it can be.  Even Not A Recluse.

You may say you are scared of spiders.  You may say that you don’t want them crawling on you.  Well, I don’t want them on me either.  But I am proud of the fact that I have found a way to live by them and live with them.  It takes us all to make the world go round in a better way.  If we don’t try to live peacefully, we won’t have any world at all.

-Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle

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