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Opinion >  Column

The Slice: Near nature, extremely near

Katie Delderfield now admits she probably ought to wear her eyeglasses more often.

Here’s her story.

“So this past weekend after Black Friday shopping, I get home and let the dogs out to potty. One of my two dachshunds, Dwight Eisenhower, goes running hell for leather across the yard and is really going at a fir. It’s a different bark than usual, so I realize something’s up. I send Hairy Truman in and go back outside to get Dwight.”

She dragged him away from the tree and hauled him inside. She then hurried back outside.

Katie, a medical transcriptionist, was certain her dog had treed one of the neighborhood cats.

“So I go over to the tree and I see it rustle in the branches about eye level. ‘Here, kitty kitty. It’s OK. Aw, I’m sorry for the big scary dog.’ I’m cooing as I crawl behind my bushes to get to the tree.”

Katie could not see its face, which was obscured by branches. “But I could clearly see the body and tail.”

It was large.

“As I’m reaching out to pet it, a thought flashes through my mind that those are awfully big feet for a kitty. The thought gives me no pause, however, and I reached into the branches and ran my hand down its back.”

Katie would later describe the feel of the animal’s fur as being akin to a fine layer of down on top of a Brillo pad. And she would recall her amazement that it let her pet it. “It sat freakishly still.”

In an instant, Katie realized she was petting a full-grown raccoon.

Startled, she bolted away from the tree and ran back into the house.

Her family has subsequently enjoyed referring to the incident. They have likened Katie to the woman in a Sears Optical commercial who steps into her backyard one night and calls her cat. Because of her poor vision, she lets in a raccoon.

“Here, kitty kitty …”

Warm-up question: Pearl Harbor Day is not until Monday. But there’s something I’ve always wondered. Do people who have visited the USS Arizona Memorial have haunting dreams about it afterward?

Today’s Slice question: Has Hanukkah’s importance (as, say, compared to the autumn Jewish holidays) been inflated because of its proximity to Christmas?

Write The Slice at P. O. Box 2160; call (509) 459-5470; email You never really outgrow the hope that the next bag of chocolate coins will actually taste good.

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