Sunday, November 4, 2012

Catch a tiger by the tail…

Hurricanes may be somewhat exciting in the occurrence, but they are no fun in the long run.  This is a truth that everyone on the eastern coast of the US comes to understand eventually.  As a child I lived in Connecticut, about five miles inland from Long Island Sound, during the two hurricanes that hit in the summer of 1955.  I remember walking around through the house independent of my very edgy parents, being secretly thrilled by the sound of the wind and the sight of bushes and trees whipping to and fro when I peeked around the venetian blinds to see what made the noise.   After that, owing to an inland address over the years, I’ve had little direct contact with serious hurricane activity until this week, when Sandy marched ashore in southern New Jersey and reconfigured too many lives. 
Once again, the storm itself did not seem too awful where I live (in the north) when it was going on.  Rain and wind notwithstanding, our most exciting moment came when Steve went out to the garage (20 or so yards from the kitchen door) after we lost power at supper time on Monday night
to take care of some detail or other.  I stood in the kitchen doorway, confident that Imogen (the black cat) was ignoring me from her cat bed about 10 feet from me and that Eugenia (the tiger cat) was sleeping in Jessica’s lap in the front room—much farther away.  As I watched Steve puttering in the garage with his flashlight bobbing, I suddenly felt a small push against my ankle and looked down to see Eugenia moving slowly past me on to the deck and into the gathering darkness and rain.  I leaped to pounce on her, getting her around the body, but she slithered away leaving me only her tail to grab.  Grab it I did—hard—and pulled her back toward me and into my arms, accompanied by a full-bodied screeching and caterwauling event.  It must have hurt like sin.  Back in the kitchen, I dropped her and slammed the door, but the fun was just beginning. 
Roused from sleepy complacency, Imogen went into full defense mode, sure that I had imported an alien being—she attacked without restraint and a ball of screeching cats wheeled out of the kitchen, through the dining room and into the front room, landing behind the couch!  Although I was in a bit of a panic by this time, I followed and grabbed Imogen as soon as I could see her, removing her to the living room where I could shut her in.  By the time I came back to the front room, Eugenia was no where to be found…
As my weary mind and racing heart began to recover, I started to doubt my senses…had it really been Eugenia, or had I mistakenly imported Apollo, my neighbor’s rescued tomcat, and caused a war?  It took several more minutes before I could reconstruct what actually happened (there was a clear moment when I understood it was Eugenia and no one else, but it took some time to recall that scene) and by that time, Jessica had called the neighbors to ask them if they had all their cats!  They think we are crazy anyway, I’m afraid, so it didn’t phase them.  When my neighbor called back, I told him it was a false alarm…
The hurricane continued, of course.  Eugenia forgave me or, more likely, forgot all about it.  Now, five days in, we still have no substantial electric power.  Our limited gasoline-powered generator faltered badly, needing to be nursed extensively until it finally started to work properly last night, but we certainly consider ourselves fortunate—we have water, cooking gas, down quilts, and cell phones, but most of all, a safe roof over our heads, and the kindness of others—we have been offered amazing support and assistance by neighbors and friends!  We will survive this slow, cold process.  The complete destruction faced by other New Jerseyans to the south is unimaginable.  In the face of their struggles, complaints from us would be outrageous.  On top of everything, both of our most innocent and trusting family members--our little tigers--are still with us!

No comments:

Post a Comment