Kids are freaked out by all sorts of animals. Today I smiled and nodded my head as students shared their fears of cats, pigeons, snakes, crocodiles and spiders. It wasn't until I heard the words Daddy Long-Leg that my eyes widened a little. And then suddenly I was back on Hollen Rd. sitting in the backyard sandbox with my older brother Joey. I was involved in some sort of sand sculpture on my end of the box. I'm sure I was doing some sifting and bucket filling because hey, that's just fun stuff to do in the sandbox if you're three or four years old.
I remember feeling an odd little tickle on my arm and asking my brother to stop bothering me. The tickle stopped for a moment and then started up again as did my brotherly protests. It was like he didn't even hear my pleas to stop, so I kept asking and whining. Again, there was no reply and the tickly feeling continued. Finally I turned to face my tormentor- I was determined to stop the nonsense.
It wasn't Joey at all. In fact, it was a huge Daddy Long-Leg slinking its way up my arm.
Cue the screaming and crying.
Not surprisingly, it was a very long time before I felt it was safe to go back in the sandbox.
Forty -okay, almost fifty- years later I wonder if that creature found its way to my arm on its own or if my wonderful, older brother helped a little bit.