“I Don’t Like Spiders and Snakes, But That Ain’t What it Takes!”

Yesterday, my Korean son in law’s dad got concerned.  There was a tornado in Oklahoma, and everyone heard about it. My Korean son in law wants to move to Oklahoma to live.  The Cowboys, Indians, bigger houses and parking spaces than in Korea, and adventure have captured his imagination.  He is convinced he can do better in Oklahoma than in Korea. He wants to learn how to ride a horse and let my cousin take him hunting.  However, his dad tried to slow him down because of the tornado yesterday.  The truth is, I have lived all over the world, and no matter where you live, there is going to be something crazy. In Japan, there are earthquakes.  In Korea, there are typhoons, yellow dust, and in both Korea and Japan, there is the threat of North Korea.  In Romania, there are gypsies, ex Communists who still think like Communist, and extremely cold, cold weather in the winter.  In England, it rains all the time, and some people get pneumonia easily.  In Morocco, there are crazy Muslims running around with bullwhips. In California, there re earthquakes. In the Ohio Valley in America there are floods.  In parts of Nigeria, there is now Sharia law, but not in the whole country. I could just continue, but if you run away from a place because of the problems, you will still have to stay where you are and deal with the problems where you are.  You can’t get away from problems.  The best thing you can do is learn to deal with them.  Since my Korean son in law wants to go to Oklahoma, I have been warning him about the problems and trying to teach him what to do if he encounters them.

lightning and tornado hitting village
Photo by Ralph W. lambrecht on Pexels.com

As far as the tornadoes, I have talked to him about about them.  I have shown him pictures of them and said, “If you see this, don’t go anywhere near it.”  “If you see this, find a cellar,” and I taught him about what cellars are too, and he wants one in his yard.  I have told him that if he is where there is a tornado and there is no shelter, then get in a ditch.  He wants to live in a brick house in Oklahoma, and I can’t blame him.  Here in Korea, it is good to live up high because the water from the typhoons can’t read your apartment if you live up high.  If you know what you are doing, you don’t have to have trouble.

I have told him about chiggers (In Ohio, they call them jiggers).  If you sit in the grass in some places, these little bitty microscopic bugs crawl up your pant leg and burrow under your skin. They become an itchy red bump, and the only way to get rid of them is to put nail polish over the bump and smother them. The pharmacist sells something called “Chigger Rid” you can use, but it is basically clear finger nail polish.

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Ticks are not this big. It is an enlargement.///Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I have told him about ticks.  If you go walking in the woods in Oklahoma and in other places in America, you might get a tick.  Ticks can be dangerous if you don’t know you have them, so if you walk in the woods, just go in the bathroom afterwards, take a shower and completely check your body everywhere, even in your ears, and in all the crevices to make sure you don’t have a tick.  They attach themselves to you, and you don’t even initially feel them, but they are bugs there sucking your blood and the longer the stay, the bigger they get because they are filling with blood.  When you pull them off, don’t just smash them because that blood could be dangerous too because they could have attached themselves to another animal that had rabbis or something before finding you.  Take a match and burn the bug or flush it down the toilet.  Many people know about the many diseases ticks can cause, so if you live in a place like Oklahoma, you just have to be conscious and take care if you walk in the woods., and you will be fine.

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This snake has a diamond shaped head. It is poisonous.//Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
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Snakes with heads like this are not poisonous.///Photo by Jani Tisler on Pexels.com

Oklahoma also has copperheads, water moccasins, and rattle snakes among other snakes, but so does other places in America.  Copperheads, rattle snakes, and water moccasins are poisonous snakes.  I have shown my daughter and son in law pictures so they know what they look like. I have shown them the head of a poisonous snake as opposed to one that is not poisonous.  The head of a poisonous snake is shaped like a diamond because it has poison sacks on either side of its head.  I have told them what to do if they see one of these snakes. First, you don’t go where you think they are.  If you run into one, try to stay away from it. If you see one, don’t move suddenly. If you move suddenly, it will strike. However, if you can’t get away, let someone who knows what they are doing kill it, or if all else fails, you may have to kill one rather than getting bit.  Keeps a hoe and a shovel around.  I have seen people use these to kill the poisonous snakes.  I think if I had to, I might be able to kill one, but thankfully, I have never had to. I have also never been bit or even known anyone who has been bit. Water moccasins hand out around cow ponds, but not every cow pond.  Just be careful and know about the cow pond if you want to go there. They are great places to swim in the summer, but be sure you don’t go to one where people have seen snakes.

brown and black hen with peep of chick outdoor
Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on Pexels.com

If you don’t mind chickens, you could keep chickens in your yard because they help a lot.  Chickens eat all the ticks and chiggers, and they also kill snakes, even rattle snakes. However, chickens also mess your yard up, so you have to weigh what is most important.

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Believe it or not, these guys can’t kill you, but still stay away from them because they can make you sick.///Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
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The smaller a scorpion is, the more powerful its venom.///Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There are also scorpions and tarantulas in Oklahoma.  The first thing to remember about tarantulas is that Hollywood plays them up too much.  They are poisonous, but they are not deadly.  If you have cats, the cats will take care of them for you.  I have seen cats play with the tarantulas until they killed them. I have seen cats also kill scorpions.  As far as scorpions, if you are afraid you might have scorpions around, first, stay away from them. That tail is dangerous.  I don’t know anyone who has been stung by a scorpion, and I don’t know how lethal their sting is, but it is poisonous.  The smaller they are, the more powerful their venom is.  I have known people who had trouble with them, and they took four big coffee cans and put the legs of their bed in the coffee cans. They said scorpions can’t climb on metal, but they could climb on wood.  The scorpions can’t climb the big metal coffee cans.  Keeping the hoe and the shovel handy would help you if you see these guys too.

Another animal they have in Oklahoma is the armadillo.  Basically, stay away from them.  There was one in my uncle’s back yard once, and he ended up killing it, but I don’t know how.  He said they are very dangerous when they are cornered, so if you just stay away from them, they will stay away from you. I couldn’t find a picture of one, but they are small armor plated animals that are a throwback to prehistoric times. There are probably no pictures of them because they usually stay away from human beings, and we stay away from them.

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This is not Oklahoma, but Oklahoma is considered a desert, and you can find small cactus there.// Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
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The land is flat, and the dirt is red in Oklahoma.  The grass is often burnt by the hot sun.  It is greener in south eastern Oklahoma, and in south western Oklahoma, there is a mountain at Altus. In times past, the Indians in Oklahoma liked the flat land because they could see for miles and miles and knew a long time ahead of time if an enemy was coming. ///Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
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The river separating Oklahoma from Texas is called the Red River.  If you want to see a great movie, watch the John Wayne Movie called “Red River.” It might help you understand some of the history of Oklahoma.// Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on Pexels.com

The weather is hot in the summer in Oklahoma, and the humidity is high.  Having an air conditioner is a must.  Keep your house sealed off from the outside as much as you can, and the critters won’t get in.  If you have central air, you have to keep you house sealed off anyway.  The best way to heat and cool is with a heat pump.  It is a system that gives you central air and heat both cheaply.  The air conditioners here and in Japan are electric and up on the wall in just one room.  They are expensive to run.  I asked the old missionary why the Koreans didn’t just switch to heat pumps, and he said the climate here wouldn’t support a heat pump, so the Koreans either have to be too hot in the summer or put up with paying high electric bills. You see, no place is perfect.

man beach water ocean
There are lots of cowboys in Oklahoma.  Both of my grandpas wore cowboy clothing.  Many people ride horses.  In every podunk (Oklahoma English for small) town, there is a rodeo arena.  A Rodeo is a place where they ride horses and bulls and have competitions.  The people have a southern accent.  The cowboys wear cowboy boots for protection from ticks, chiggers, and snakes.  They wear a cowboy hat to protect themselves from the sun.//Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
native american chief photography
Now a days, you only see Indians dressed like this at Pow wows, big Indian meetings, or at the Indian dances at the fair grounds.  These days, most Oklahoma Indians dress like cowboys.///Photo by Darcy Delia on Pexels.com

Oklahoma was given to the Indians for a reason.  The white men didn’t want it.  It was called the “wild west” for more than one reason.  However, time has passed, and the whites, the blacks, and the Indians all live together in Oklahoma now.  I have also heard the Mexicans are moving in.  With time, the face of  Oklahoma has changed. The critters, the hot weather in the summers, and the tornadoes may still be there, but as time goes on, men figure out ways to cope with them all.  If someone wants to drop a bomb on America, Oklahoma seems so insignificant that it is the last place someone will drop a bomb.  Oklahoma has been known as tornado alley because the typhoons in the gulf of Mexico form and come up through eastern Texas into Oklahoma, and have great momentum and strength by the time they hit Oklahoma, but things have changed with that too. Oklahoma gets some tornadoes now, but not all of them. The weather patterns have changed.  Now, some of those tornadoes coming up from the gulf are hitting other southern states like Alabama instead of Oklahoma.

It doesn’t matter where you live.  Natural disasters, animals, and crazy people are everywhere, all over the world. You can either stay home or choose which place seems to fit you best and try it. As for me, I have followed my job. You have to have a job to live, and then you learn to cope with your surroundings. Some people stay where their ancestors have always been, and that gives them security because they know how to live there, but when there is no job, there is no money.  However, staying where you know the place, is easier in many ways, but there is a whole big world out there with lots of interesting things to see and do, and my Korean son in law has been excited by far away places every since I met him.


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