I walked out on our back porch one morning and looked up to find this big garden spider. I decided to call him Horace because he seemed so proper and aloof. Garden spiders do a lot of good by promptly dispatching pests. They do not, however, discriminate when something plump and juicy blunders into their web, as I discovered one day when I found a dragonfly wrapped as neatly as a mummy under Horace's feet.
Horace chose a spot just outside our guest bedroom window and showed no signs of moving on, so I started leaving the lamp on in that room at night. It attracts night bugs and Horace seems quite pleased with the arrangement.
My grandson, Jordan, however, was not. He hates spiders, especially big ones, so I've been spending some time talking with him about it. He thought it was funny that I named the spider Horace. Calling him by name seemed to make him more "human" and Jordan eventually began speaking to him. He still won't get too close, though. When he remarked that he'd never seen Horace move, I explained that he lives his life in the web, eating and sleeping there and never wanders. That made Jordan feel better, since the guest bedroom is where he sleeps when stays with us.
I viewed Horace as one more opportunity to teach Jordan that most bugs are harmless and have a role to play. And with garden spiders, it certainly doesn't include attacking humans. Before he left, Jordan said, "He's pretty cool."