Posted in Fall, Gardening, humor, Spiders

An Apology to my Neighbors

ImageIncluding an explanation of how two spiders crawled under my shirt.

The approach of fall means yard work: mulching, pruning, and fertilizing. And, in our yard, a pile of wood to stack.

Early in spring we’d had a tree taken down. That Ornamental Cherry was tall and shady, but ultimately too large to be so close to the house. So we called a tree service, and within the week our tree was reduced to a haphazard pile of roughly hewn firewood. As this pile was out of the way, we decided to let the wood season where it lay. Now, six months later, it was time to stack it neatly against the house. So on a cool, bright afternoon last week, I donned jeans, a ratty t-shirt, and gardening gloves, and got to work.

Too bad I didn’t also suit up in some common sense.

Now, I understand that spiders love woodpiles. In fact, I saw evidence of their presence all over that jumble of wood. However, as I carefully kicked over, picked up, and moved each cobwebbed log, I didn’t see a single spider. Why? Because they’re sneaky little devils.

The wood was lighter than I expected, and I was over half way through my task before I began to tire. Wiping sweat from my forehead, I stood in the middle of a patch of newly-cleared ground and surveyed my progress. Why had I ever dreaded this chore? I wondered. I’m a veritable wood-moving machine! Yea, me!

In retrospect it is clear that during my congratulatory self-reverie, the inhabitants of those many spider webs decided to come out of hiding and exact revenge on the destroyer of their woody apartment complex. Their trail was easy to follow: sneakers to jeans to the exposed skin underneath that now-sweaty t-shirt.

And it is here that I must pause my narrative and address, specifically, those folks in my neighborhood who may have been outside, or within their homes with their windows open to the cool breeze, or—for those homes closest to my own—perhaps inside with their windows securely closed. My dear neighbors, please know that when you heard me shouting—

[We, the legal department, regret the intrusion. Certain content of this column has been withheld to protect those involved. In no way should this omission be deemed an acknowledgment of infraction against Section 4a of the Waynesville Town Ordinance against Public Nuisance and/or Section 12, paragraph vii of Disturbing the Peace. Thank you.]

—you!!” Obviously, those sentiments were in no way addressed to ‘you,’ my neighbors. I mean, for heaven’s sake, not only would some of those things be physically impossible, but I don’t even know many of your mothers! Much less whether they own the farm animals in question! And for those who may have had a view of my yard at that particular moment, I humbly apologize for—

[Hi. Legal Department again. Please note that any apology should not be considered an assertion of guilt by the writer, or any of her cojoiners, regarding any act that may or may not fall under section 4 of the Indecent Exposure Act, subparagraph ii, also referencing Public Nuisance. Thank you.]

—promise certainly won’t happen in the future! Plus I’m happy to pay for those damages! OK?

Now, addressing once again my general readers, I’m happy to report that those spider bites were so minor that they have healed entirely, and my husband was very understanding about the aluminum siding. And as I look forward to pruning the side yard this weekend, rest assured that I will tuck in my shirt (duh!) and also be covered head-to-toe in DEET, which I intend to spray along the seams of my new hazmat suit.

***Angela Dove is an award-winning humor columnist and author of the true crime book No Room for Doubt. She welcomes feedback here or at



Award-winning humor columnist and author of the true crime memoir _No Room for Doubt: A True Story of the Reverberations of Murder_ (Penguin Group, 2009). Inspirational speaker on issues of survivors' rights, women's issues, and general you-can-do-it-ness. Marketing consultant.

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