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Inaugural Day Storm

by Branden Huxtable

Originally published in the December 1995 issue of the CSCDHH GA Newsletter

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Think way back to Inaugural Day, January 20, 1993. After twelve years of Reagan-Bush, a Democratic president was finally being sworn into office. As a result, one of the biggest storms blew into Puget Sound. I was working in Renton that day. Halfway through the morning, the power went out, idling most of the engineers especially those working on computers. To amuse ourselves, we watched the apartment building next door, watching the shingles, felt paper and plywood sheeting blowing off with the wind. After a few hours of this, we finally gave up going home to brave the traffic in the midst of the blackout.

At home, my electricity had been out for only a short time but unfortunately my cable remained off. My beautiful calico, however, enjoyed the storm fascinated with every branch bending in the wind. I found her the summer before when I passed through Bend, Oregon from a lady giving away free kittens. With five kitten in a box, one came running up to me. When I picked her up, she was meowing quietly licking my face and neck and cuddling close to me. I named her Mazama after the mountain at Crater Lake and took her home with me.

Mazama quickly became a welcome roommate, waiting on the window sill for me to come home, crawling up my shoulder while I watched a movie, curling up with me in bed every night, playing in the first snowfall of the season (and backtalking when I yell at her to get back in), playing chase every other night. And knowing that I cannot hear, she would get my attention by simply giving me a little push.

But behind her purr and puff, she has teeth and claws. No, Mazama, wait until I finish the comics before you tear up the paper. No, Mazama, that is not a super deluxe scratching post. No, Mazama, my fingers are not fortified with vitamins and iron. Our biggest battle usually centered around the rights to my bed. Sometimes we fight about it until she runs off sulking. Then later in the evening, I would wake up finding myself shoved to the corner and the little stinker snoozing in the middle. Nice of her getting the upper hand.

Then came the Inaugural Day. As Clinton made his promises, the wind began to roar. That night after one of our fights, Mazama sulked somewhere else and I slept in peace. Long after I went to sleep, Mazama, without grace or cunning, uncharacteristically jumped on my back and woke me up. I flipped over to see what was the matter. Perhaps the storm finally got her nerves making branches no longer fun to watch. I asked her what was wrong when I noticed a strange white light coming through my bedroom door. I got up and Mazama ran away. I looked out my bedroom door. The light came from an outside lamp, my front door was wide open and leaves filled my hallway. I found Mazama sitting by my front door. As wild and undisciplined as she acted before, she woke me up to warn me knowing I could never have heard the crash or wind or trees. I shut the front door and slept better that night.

Since then, my dad and I fixed the front door, Mazama has gotten more manageable and mature (at least to me), and Clinton successfully drafted NAFTA. Mazama, of course, still tries my patience but I love her anyway. And why not? She deserves it.

Alright! I'll feed you. Patience.

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