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Remembering Mavis

by Sherry O'Perry, Clovis, NM, USA


In the past, taking late-nite summer strolls in our small village, for the most part, were uneventful. Any encounter with the unknown was virtually unheard of. I will never forget one walk in particular...

It was during the very wee hours of the morning when I decided to wander up the road. In an attempt to absorb small portions of stark silence and surrender myself to the cool embrace of night air, I would occassionally stop and allow my senses to focus-in on my environment. As I made my way along the narrow pavement, I could see a churning mass in the ditch ahead. There was no sound that I could detect as I watched it continue to roll... lurching to the roads' edge several times, but never really quite exposing itself to the curiosity of the moon's light.

As I approched, the mass gradually became flat... ceasing to move. Then in one startling explosion, a mama cat with six tiny and obscure furballs, all black as coal, came scurrying towards me... tails erect and electrified.

They couldn't have been more than six weeks old... and it appeared that mama was taking them on their first late-nite junket. As I stood there, this rolling mass of black ink darted left and right, forwards and backwards... all in unsequencial unison. I reached down in a sweeping motion to pick one up... as the others scattered in disarray.

What a precious little creature I held in the palm of my hand. As I examined this this small fluff more closely, I noticed something unusual about ts paws. This was a six-toed kitten. A thumb jutted out on the inside of each paw giving the appearance of mittens. I had heard of cats like this before, but never managed to to run across one. Carefully I placed it back down to the ground and watched as it raced to catch up with it's siblings. I turned and went back home.

It was the next afternoon, as I was finishing up my daily chores... when I happened to notice that I had a mama cat and her litter parked on my side porch. God only knows how these characters knew which house to stop at. I am convinced that I emanate a signal that felines zero in on. Like static cling...pfft!

There was one kitten in particular that caught my attention more than the others. Speaking in hindsight, she seemed more independent, more daring, and much more interested in me... as I was with her. She also had the most prominent thumbs of the litter.

After several visits from this band of gypsies, we decided to locate the owners up the road in order to seek permission to adopt this little she-critter-of-the-night. As it turned out, it was the daughter of an acquaintance who just happened to be the owner of this kitten. With a sigh of relief, she relinqushed ownership. Giving their blessing, we took her home and began to the search for a fitting name.

We were stuck on M's and had it narrowed down to three choices. Mable was out of the question. Mandy. We had a gerbil once named Mandy. She also was blacker than the ace of spades. Mandy #1 died of heart failure (I'm sure) when carelessness allowed her exercise ball to fall aimlessly off the kitchen table to the floor. It had no business being up there in the first place, but trying to explain community hygiene to a kid is another story.

We finally did settle on a name. There never has been... nor will there ever be again... a cat that could ever compare with this incredible furball of entertainment that we dubbed Mavis.


Editor's note:

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