Appalachia

Grandaddies

granddaddy spider

I keep finding granddaddies crawling around in the kitchen. This time of the year they congregate on the front porch and apparently this summer they decided to move in.

Granddaddies have never bothered me. I pick them up and return them to the great outdoors where they belong.

When Paul and I were kids he went through a stage of being scared of granddaddies. One time he scared Granny and me to death over a granddaddy.

Someone had either given Granny an old bedstead or else she was letting someone store one in our basement. I can’t really remember the reason but there was a bedstead with stuff piled on it in the middle of the basement floor.

Paul wasn’t supposed to go downstairs by himself—he was that young.

The little rat snuck down to the basement. Granny was in the kitchen and I was in my room when we heard his screams. We both took off running.

Paul was sitting in the middle of the stuff piled on the bedstead, who knows how he clambered up there, and he was screaming his head off.

When Granny finally got him calmed down he said there was a granddaddy trying to get him 🙂

Chitter was just a crawling baby when I noticed two or three granddaddy legs sticking out of her mouth. I reckon she ate the rest of him.

Frank C. Brown’s collection of North Carolina Folklore has this to say about granddaddies:

7611 When ones cows have strayed from home they can be located by saying this to the granddaddy spider: “Granddaddy, Granddaddy where are my cows?” He will point one foot in the direction in which they are.

I asked Pap if he’d ever heard of a granddaddy helping you find your cows. After he quit laughing he said no he must have missed that one.

Tipper

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20 Comments

  • Reply
    Melissa P. (Misplaced Southerner)
    July 14, 2020 at 8:46 pm

    Always have called them Daddy Longlegs. We get them up here in Michigan, too. I always try to catch them if they’re in the house and put them back out. Elseways the dogs will get ’em and eat ’em.

  • Reply
    Gigi
    July 14, 2020 at 4:43 pm

    Why is it that the men are always scared of them. The women are scared of snakes. I know I am. Good post Tipper.

  • Reply
    Kat Swanson
    July 14, 2020 at 3:17 pm

    Always used grand daddy long legs to find the cows in Wise Co. Va…..catch one and hold it by one leg or by the body, ask the question, and the critter will stretch out one leg and sorta tap it …that’s where to find your cow!

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    July 14, 2020 at 1:44 pm

    I remember Pap telling, with a big grin, about Chitter and the spider that “charged” her. Well no wonder they charged her – sounds like she ate some of their cousins.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    July 14, 2020 at 11:41 am

    Tipper,
    When Traci was real young, her mama, Jennifer was vacuuming the trailer for me, and I had done went to work. Traci was always in the way, and she would grab anything that was on the floor. When Jennifer got to the walls, she had Traci to open her mouth and there it was, Lady Bugs in her mouth. Jennifer said it was like a colorful Rainbow and called me at the Shop. I told her that it wouldn’t hurt her, that I use to eat Redworms and dirt when I was little. …Ken

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 14, 2020 at 11:09 am

    The granddaddy’s are moving in cause it’s so hot! I was never afraid of the granddaddy’s, I just always knew they gentle were creatures. I will still carefully move one out of my way rather than kill him.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    July 14, 2020 at 10:33 am

    I’m a grandaddy rescuer too! My nephew is scared to death of spiders and I used to torture him with facebook posts–usually funny ones. I was tickled to see the word “bedstead” . Might be a good one for your vocabulary pages.

    Hope yall are staying safe in this crazy time. I have some N95 masks since I have so many health issues besides being old. They are a pain in the face as I am a heavy sweater and itcher!

  • Reply
    John T
    July 14, 2020 at 10:32 am

    Great story! I should not have been sipping coffee when I read about Chitter having spider legs in her mouth..had a little coffee incident.

  • Reply
    Sue McIntyre
    July 14, 2020 at 10:15 am

    Sweet story, especially Chitter’s way of disposing of that one. Loved Ed’s reply. All critters great or small have their place in this big old world. However, as I have aged, I have found I have little tolerance for ants and stink bugs!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    July 14, 2020 at 10:01 am

    I remember my brother in law a grown man mind you being so terrified of them. He said we treated them like pets.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    July 14, 2020 at 9:44 am

    We called them “Daddy Long Legs” — and I do hope I didn’t eat one as a baby!!!

  • Reply
    PinnacleCreek
    July 14, 2020 at 9:31 am

    Many more of those harmless creatures would have died if not given that enduring name of Granddaddy. They took up residence in my BR for some reason, and grandson was terrified. Still scratching my head over that one, as he would pick up any beetle, bug, or caterpillar and name it. I once had to relocate a caterpillar to the parking lot of Cracker Barrel to let it “be free.” We were eating there, and I was afraid it might get loose in the house.

  • Reply
    Margie Goldstein
    July 14, 2020 at 8:42 am

    I loved your blog about grand daddy long legs! I think Chitter eating one as a baby is funny! Paul getting his little self in a predicament with grand daddy is funny too! Insects ( Arthropods) are very important in our daily lives. In the military, there’s an entire branch dedicated to understanding and dealing with insects. I have in my collection beetles as big as your hand. They can make you sick, they can break down rotting matter, and they feed many birds and beasts. In SOUTH AMERICA I found a man gathering what he called SUGAR ANTS. He said they were tasty and he was gathering as many as he could for a treat for his children. He asked if I cared to try one and I declined politely. As bees are killed off say hello to the next pollinators: ANTS. I will be watching Grand daddy’s climb my porch screen all day and night long. I had an aunt who met a terrible end. She used to pull grand daddy’s legs off and for what reason I don’t know…..I thought it was a cruel gesture for an otherwise kind lady. Oh well. Chitter, don’t munch the grand daddy’s. It’s a food we can ALL CUT DOWN ON…. lol love and grand daddy’s to all!!!!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 14, 2020 at 8:38 am

    Since a granddaddy’s legs point in every direction then one of them would have to be pointing toward the lost cow. That is unless Chitter had had hold of him!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    July 14, 2020 at 8:27 am

    Back when I was young and rash I once crawled headfirst down into a hole under a rock. After I was well in, I felt some kind of creepy crawler on the back of my neck. I had to squirm around to get out my candle stub and get it lit but when I did I could see the whole underside of that rock was covered in granddaddies.

    I have often wondered since about that jid that thought it was a good idea to crawl headfirst into a dark hole. With that and other adventures I reckon I was working my angel overtime.

    I had heard about granddaddies giving directions. But it was so long ago I had forgotten until you mentioned it.

  • Reply
    Sharon Schuster
    July 14, 2020 at 8:27 am

    We call ’em Granddaddy Long Legs. I was scared of them as a child, but now I do the same as you – catch it by a leg and send it packing in a different direction. Wish I had know about finding the cows via Grandaddy Long Legs back when we had a large herd that occasionally wandered off. I would have tried anything – especially when I heard the train toot the whistle at 2 a.m. near “Hamburger Junction!”

    • Reply
      Tmc
      July 14, 2020 at 10:20 am

      Well, you can look at it this way, with Chitter around you got some cheap pest control.

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    July 14, 2020 at 8:23 am

    Had a great belly laugh with this story. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    July 14, 2020 at 8:09 am

    We always said “” granddaddy, granddaddy, which way did the cows go?”” I never could tell which way the cows went. Their legs always pointed in too many directions and sometimes the leg you were holding by would break off. They were useless in locating the cattle but it was a silly fun thing to do.
    My Grandson is scared to death of granddaddies or any spider like critter. I’ve wondered if that came from a bad scare he had when he was 4 or 5 years old. He was playing in his sand pile and came running to me screaming there was 2 blackwidow spiders in his sand bucket. I thought that was not the normal place to find them I didn’t believe him but checked anyway. Shore enough there were 2 blackwidows in his sand bucket.

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