1. My Six Legged Sweetheart
One warm evening in July, '99, I stopped for fuel at a station about a mile and a half from my home.
As I was pumping the gas, a huge, brown female preying mantis landed on the hose. She was nearly 7 inches long. Of course, I was intrigued. But my fascination turned to an eerie sense of concern as I watched the glare coming from her bulging eyes.
If you have ever had a close encounter with a preying mantis, then you can appreciate the fact that you know that THEY know what you're thinking. But I can't say that I was really thinking too much at that moment; just a little transfixed by her boldness and acrobatic stance as she straddled the black gas hose.
She then arched up slightly, raised her two front mandibles, and began rocking gently; side to side. Her motions were rhythmic and strangely alluring.
"Oh my God!" I thought, "She's doing her mating dance!"
And I was to be her chosen consort. (As well as dinner!). "Oh NO you don't!", I refused her advances, "I KNOW what you do to your boyfriends after sex!". "I'm not going to be your after-glow snack!", I joked out loud with her. (Not realizing that others were within ear-shot.) I gingerly replaced the hose to the pump - so as not to frighten or harm her. went in to pay for my gas and returned to the car. Then, there was no sign of her.
I was somewhat unnerved by the whole incident. (It's not every day that you're "come on to" by an insectoid carnivore.) As I drove home, the car was doing 35 to 45 mph. Certainly fast enough to dislodge any would-be hangers-on. So then, you tell ME how it was that I woke up the next morning to find the same mantis "parked" on my screen door!
She hadn't been in the car. I doubt that she could have withstood the wind pressure from the 1 1/2 mile, 40+ mph ride to my house. The only remaining explanation: She "found" me.
"Now what?", I wondered with considerable anxiety. Well, I'm more than pleased to be able to report that her intentions toward me were strictly platonic. As it turned out, she was profoundly pregnant. She set-up a nest in my storage garage (a locked, safe distance from my playfully curious cats).
In the more than a year since then, she has become a helpful roommate. She lets herself in to the house when I leave the window open, and is always "on the job" when I need a good exterminator. I live along side a creek, which means that my property is a treasure- trove of mosquitos and other water-based intruders.
She has also taken to gestures of affection such as landing on my shoulder and "dancing" for me.
I have a number of lingering questions, though.
Such as: Out of all of the people who must have stopped for gas at that station that night, why did she focus on me?
Could she have "known" that I had a perfect spot for her to have her young, along side of a bug-buffet water source? AND that I would be agreeable to having her around. And secondly: HOW IN THE HELL DID SHE FIND ME?
We're a match made in Heaven! And you should see all of the "young ones"! (Not of my loins.) My bug problem has lessened considerably since her arrival.
But you know, I still get that same eerie feeling - every so often - when she cocks her head and gives me "the look".
I can't help but think that (in a moment of passion) she would not be one to take "No" for an answer!
2. The Eyes Of "The Devil".
Have you ever had a pet who you felt was sent to you by way of Divine intervention?
That's how I always felt about my black Chow-Lab, Jedi.
He was lost and lonely one cold night and came up to me, stood upright, and put his paws on my shoulders. (That's when they've REALLY got ya!) He had obviously decided that I was going to take him in. All I could say was. "Get in the car!"
You've probably heard it thousands of time from thousands of dog owners, BUT - Jedi was...THE...BEST...DOG in the world! I named him "Jedi" because he was noble, strong, wise, cleaver, and PSYCHIC!
For example: We got in to the habit of my announcing. "Time for bed!" to signify to him that he should go to his mat in the back room. He would never go there without my cue. One night - after a few months of this ritual - I was very sleepy and thought, "Time for bed!". Jedi then, obediently, responded to my thought and went to his mat. ( "The Force is strong with this one!")
He was the best watch dog, ever! You could watch as he would pick-up on an approaching caller while they were still blocks away from the house. By the time they were finally at the door, he would have positioned himself to respond to their arrival and bark in response to their knock.
If he sensed danger, he would place himself in my way, making it impossible for me to get any closer to the source.
But one day, Jedi was gone. He hadn't been taken by Animal Control. He wasn't hanging out at the neighbors'. He was just gone. That was in the Summer of '97. I have grieved losing him as you might expect one would mourn over the loss of a dearest friend.
This past Summer, I was asleep on the couch when I heard a knock at the door. I got up and went to answer it. But "Jedi" was barking and doing his usual "get in the way" maneuver. I opened the door anyway and found myself "face to face" with a character who I can only describe as having the features of Darth Mal from Star Wars Episode 1.
It was about that time that I realized that I had stepped out of my body, and that the entity at my door was hoping to make his way in! I slammed the door, and promptly woke up from my altered state. As creepy as the face on the other side of the door was, my immediate thoughts centered on the fact that JEDI had been with me during the experience.
"Oh! He DIED!" "That's why I haven't seen him around!"
I was indescribably relieved to know that Jedi hadn't abandoned me! He had just "moved-up" in the cosmos. And wonderful too to know that he's still watching over me!
That was on the morning of Sept. 23, 2000, the day before the U.S. Grand Prix was to be run at The Indianapolis ( my home-town ) Motor Speedway. There were so many foreign visitors to the city that weekend that I took the opportunity to mingle with the "Euro" crowds downtown. It was quite a show, and a lot of fun.
Along the way downtown, I found myself drawn to an individual who was engaged in a manner of sidewalk procilitizing. He was a member of a group out of Denver who promotes the political ideals of Bob Enyon. (Ultra Right Wing and racial purists.) I felt my usual compulsion to challenge him as he was busily engaging people in political debates, but ( dog-gone it ) Jedi had energized in his spirit body right in front of me and wouldn't let me get close enough to the guy to let him know how moronic I found his political (and pseudo-religious) ideals.
So I stood listening, wanting to throw-in my two cents but not being allowed to get any closer. The man turned for just a moment and glared at me. I have seen photos of Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson, and other notable serial killers with their "pools of darkness" behind the eyes. What I saw from this guy was the most sinister, cold, empty, evil, and PREDATORY gaze that I have ever encountered. And at that same moment, I could feel Jedi "hugging" me, as he would, with his paws on my shoulders, and his nose on my chin.
I took a deep breath and walked away. I have no doubt that if I had challenged that guy that the outcome would have been disastrous, possibly even fatal.
The man was clearly possessed by a powerful, truly "demonic" spirit. That was the message that was given to me that morning during my OBE. And Jedi was there to keep me safe through all of it.
NOW! Do you want to argue with me that Jedi is NOT...THE...BEST... DOG...IN...THE..WORLD?
This world....... or any other!