Metro-East Living

A soft spot for insects even when they sting

Michelle Meehan Schrader has never met a critter she doesn’t like.
Michelle Meehan Schrader has never met a critter she doesn’t like. Provided

The little wren seemed slightly off kilter as he balanced on the side-view mirror of my husband’s SUV.

His neck was twisted in an odd position. He had a satisfied grin on his beak.

“I think that bird just ate the spider that’s been living on my driver’s side door,” my husband Mark said excitedly. “He always has a web up when I go outside in the morning. I can go 60 miles an hour and that sucker manages to hang on.”

“That sucker” had just been sucked down. And my husband was proud of its killer.

“You’re really something,” I told him. “Your spider gets devoured and you think it’s a big joke.”

“It’s not MY spider, Michelle. Please tell me you’re kidding.”

He knows I’m not. And it bugs him no end.

To Mark, insects are insects. Animals are animals. And human beings are the top of the food chain. If he got really philosophical, he would say the best thing about insects is he can use them as bait to catch fish.

I hold a bit broader view.

It all started when I read “Charlotte’s Web” as a child. I cried at the end when Charlotte kicked the bucket and I have had trouble killing spiders ever since. That doesn’t mean I want them living in my house. I pick them up on a Kleenex and fling them out the door almost every other day.

When I shared this information with my friend, Laurie Ragland of New Athens, she was neither impressed nor appalled.

“I know someone else like you,” she said. “I go for walks with her and she stops to rescue worms off the street.”

“Wow, I think I’d like her.”

I also liked the little boy I met at Chick-fil-A while I was waiting in line for my grilled chicken nuggets.

Well, I didn’t actually “meet” him — but I watched him till I felt like I knew him, which is sort of the same thing. The kid used a plastic pill bottle to catch flies in the restaurant’s window, periodically running outside to set them free.

“Yuck!” my husband said, when I later recounted the story.

I guess he has a point. I mean even I have my limits.

“You know those things sting, Mom,” my son Sam recently told me as I chased a wasp around the kitchen with a Tupperware container.

Uh huh. Last year, I got my first wasp sting. Ever. The nasty devil didn’t just sting me. He stung me and then he chased me. Thank God I wasn’t wearing heels.