Nevada Smith, Part 1

Today I received an email announcing the publication of a new book.The author’s home is Sparks, Nevada. His location caused me to remember a small black cat I found in Sparks some 20 years ago.

I was long hauling. My tractor, a blue, three-axle Freightliner, had developed a coolant leak. Since Sparks was close, my dispatcher directed me to the Alamo Truck Stop in Sparks, located a block off Interstate 80 and adjacent an International truck shop. He’d scheduled me in for repair even though it was just short of 0200 hours.

While waiting a small black cat wandered in where I was drinking coffee and introduced himself.

By the time my rig was good to go we’d established a relationship. By dawn I was loaded and headed for San Diego. The cat was sacked out in my sleeper and I was mentally going through a list of appropriate names – Alexander Alamo and Sparks McGregor were two runner ups, but Nevada Smith seemed to fit him best.

By the time I reached San Diego he’d crapped in my bed and our relationship had cooled somewhat. I would have abandoned him but the kids already knew about him. So we pressed on.

I hauled steel from Los Angeles to Sacramento. The instant I rolled my window down he leaped from the cab and hid himself in one of the zillion steel yard hiding places.

“That cat come with you?” asked the forklift driver in a sarcastic tone.

“Can’t catch him.”

“If he ain’t in the cab with you when you pull out of here I’ll call your dispatcher,” he promised.

Nevada Smith and I reloaded for Spokane.

The days become another week and I shared about 3,000 miles before arriving home. The kids were thrilled to see him; no more so than I was to see the last of him.

But that wasn’t the last of him. There’s more.
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