During the winter of 1983 I worked in a Salem, Oregon Chevrolet garage. On the Friday evening in question our local weatherman forecast the approach of severe storm – snow, ice, high winds, and frigid temperatures. A couple hours prior to quitting time a former employee who was bound for Florida drove into the shop to bid the farewell to his friends. Before departing, he deposited a mature female can on the floor. “Anybody want a cat?” he asked, and then drove away.

No one wanted a cat. She eventually wandered outside. An hour before we were scheduled to knock off for the weekend, I went outside to see about her. She was near the entryway and partially covered with snow, obviously awaiting the return of the Florida-bound person who had abandoned her.

We didn’t need another cat, but I could not have lived with myself without something for her. I took her to the my VW bus and unfolded a blanket that I always carried with me during the winter months. Using it, I provided a warm place for her, and then went back to work.

The winter storm was everything the weatherman had predicted, perhaps more. My eighteen miles home on Interstate 5 required three hours. Our kids were overjoyed to meet the gray cat and immediately saw to her every need. Before bedtime her name was Smurfette.

She became one of the most faithful pets our kids ever had. Devotion may have been her nature, but I like to think that she was grateful for her rescue.