To some city folks, every brown spider is a brown recluse and every black spider is a black widow. Black widows are not common in the Ozarks. They don’t bite unless you are a bug caught in their web or you're about to squish them. Though very few people die from spider bites anymore, a black widow bite can be deadly. But, I’m not afraid of black widows; in fact, when I was young I had one as a pet.
I found her in a shed and scooped her into a wide mouth mason jar. After punching holes in the metal lid with a safety pin, I set the Mason jar on my desk in my room for all to see. I tried to feed her a variety of insects but she wouldn’t eat. Depression must have seized her appetite.
I proudly showed her off to my friends who screamed and recoiled in fear even though she could only peer out at them through the thick glass. After a few weeks, I let her go. I didn’t want her to die. When I opened the jar I imagined she would turn and chase after me, fangs drawn and dripping. But she didn’t. She waited and then timidly tried the opening. Upon finding herself free, she paused as if waiting for the inevitable shoe sole of death. When it didn’t come, she made a mad dash for cover. She was more afraid than any of my friends had been of her.