by Jeanette Levellie
|© Ron Levellie|
Our first spring in Paris, Illinois found us settled into country living fairly well. Or so I imagined. A lifetime in Los Angeles cannot prepare you for the crazy things that happen in a rural setting.
This particular morning I was up early. The pre-dawn sky was grey at best. I hadn’t had my caffeine yet, so was still groggy when I opened the back door to let the “fur children” in. But, what I saw crawling across the lawn woke me up fast, and I found myself charging down the hall to our bedroom, adrenaline taking over.
“Kev, get up, now! There is a huge insect out back; I’ve never seen one this big before, even bigger than those horrible potato bugs we had in California! It’s awful, it has claws, and it’s waving them in the air. Hurry, it’s going to get the kitties,” I cried, on the edge of hysterics.
Here is my husband, who does not do well being awakened from a deep sleep at any time, but this is 5:30 in the morning, for goodness’ sake. A frantic redhead is jumping about the bedroom, wringing her hands and saying something about a killer insect. He creaks up and slowly reaches for his glasses.
“Get your pants on, please! Go out and squish that horrible thing before it attacks my kitties!” I rush to the back door, like Kevin needs a tour guide. In my wide screen imagination, I can see my babies sprawled on the lawn, stiff from the poisonous bite of this science-fiction-like creature.
Finally, Kev stumbles down the hall and out the back door, peering onto the lawn to view this potential murderer of my cats. He waits an eternal minute to let his eyes adjust to the dim light, then starts chuckling.
“Jeanette, do you know what this is?”
“No, but can’t you just kill it?” I whimper.
“Honey, this is a crawdad! It must have crawled up from the creek when it rained last night. It’s perfectly harmless. It will find its way back home eventually, and it’s more afraid of your cats than they are of it! Let’s go in and get some coffee!” He is so kind, but he cannot help shaking his head at my city-bred naivety. I suppose I did panic a little, but never having seen a crawdad “in person” before, it sure looked like an enormous killer insect to me!
Kev still teases me about the morning he rescued out cats from the dreaded Crawzilla. After living here eleven years, people who know the story continue to rib me about it. And I laugh at myself along with them.
I wonder that we snicker about our mistakes in misjudging crawdads, but think it’s okay to judge people by their appearance, their occupation, or their name? I once heard a speaker say, “You know you are free of prejudice when you treat someone who can do you absolutely no good as well as you treat someone who has the ability to help you tremendously.”
You are still not going to catch me dancing with any crawdads in the early morning hours, but “Crawzilla” taught me that you can’t judge a creature, or a person, by their cover.
A spunky, sometimes reluctant pastor’s wife of thirty-six years, Jeanette has published articles, greeting card verses, stories and calendar poems. She authors a bi-weekly humor/inspirational column in her local newspaper, and enjoys speaking to church and civic groups, offering hope and humor in every message. She is the mother of two, grandmother of three, and waitress to several cats. Find her blog, On Wings of Mirth and Worth, at http://jeanettelevellie.