Boat Cat


While wrenching at a Chevrolet dealership in Salem, Oregon a gray, female cat was abandoned. Being the new guy, Tom didn’t know the former mechanic who drove into the garage to bid farewell to his friends.

“We are headed for Florida. Piss on this weather. Oh, and have a cat,” he said, opening the door and setting her on the concrete floor. And then he drove away.

Tom’s an easy mark for unfortunate animals, so he kept an eye on her, thinking maybe one of his friends might take the cat in. But no one else noticed the poor animal’s plight. As the day wore on a promised snow storm began showing its frigid face with a Temperature plunging some thirty degrees and sent a few warning flakes. The parts man gave Tom an empty cardboard box. With that in hand he  gathered the cat and took her to his  VW bus.

By quitting time the storm and deposited four inches of snow and Interstate 5 was clogged with disabled vehicles. Tom wasn’t sure he could make it the forty miles home, but he chained up and gave it a shot, arriving home three hours late.

The kids were delighted to see a cat and within a half-hour they agreed she should be called Smirfette. Life marched on. Winter eventually surrendered to spring and spring became summer. With summer came a vacation.

As Tom prepared the boat for a fishing trip he discovered Smirfette had given birth to five kittens and the entire family lived beneath the covered bow. Carefully, he made a new, sheltered place for them in the car port.

All vacation things packed and ready when Tom arrived home Friday evening. Loading up and hooking up the boat didn’t take long. Tom slept lightly, and by 0200 hours they were westbound, headed for Lake Tahkenitch. Arrival time: dawn.

Everything went on schedule. As soon as gray dawn permitted, they launched the boat and motored toward a point where trolling had produced planter trout during a previous trip. However, before reaching their destination five hungry kittens emerged from beneath the covered bow. They had no choice but to pull the boat and head for Florence for baby formula and a pair of socks to serve as nipples.

All five kittens survived to find new homes except a solid black one that had earned the name Boat Cat, and wore it well.



<a href=””>Treasure</a&gt;

The prompt for the day is the word Treasure. Here is what this word bring to mind:


Farm boys must often create their own pastime. Age and frolic are often inversely proportional. That is, until one has earned a driving license. One of our mainstay distractions was fishing. Combining that with camping was even better. And if we could get our hands on a farm tractor. Need I say more?.

Jim and I were both fourteen when we planned an overnight fishing trip at the river. The place we had in mind was only two miles from his house. So talking his father into the use of his Ford tractor was not impossible. The tractor we were loaned had a rear scoop attached to the 3-point hydraulic hitch, convenient that was for stowing our paraphernalia –  tent, sleeping bags, fire wood, fishing gear, food, and a coffee pot.

The lengthening shadows of Saturday evening were upon us by the time we had our stuff together.

“Gasoline is expensive, you know,” he father said. “The tank is full and I don’t expect to add more a gallon to top it off in the morning. You get my drift?”

“No sweat, Dad,” Jim promised as he hit the starter button. With him at the wheel and me perched on the fender we were on our way.

After building a fire. Then we went to the river bank to make mud for coating our potatoes. When the coals were ready we buried the spuds and then kicked back to enjoy our night out. Forget fishing.

Jim always talked money. Finding someone’s lost treasure was all he ever thought about. The evening in question was no exception. While we were reclined back on one elbow he noticed three trees that seemed strangely placed. Two formed a base and the third formed a pointer, like an arrowhead.

“You know Jesse James and the Dalton Gang spent a lot of time in this area during the Border War,” Jim said. I wonder where they stashed the money they robbed?” he added.

Of course I had no answer for that. So I listened. He went on and on, always coming back to those three trees.

“I bet there’s a sack of money buried there just waiting to be dug up, and that tree is pointing to where it is. All we have to do is dig it up,” he said. The longer he talked the more sure he became. “Let’s dig it up,” he finally said,” forgetting the potatoes, forgetting the fire, forgetting the fishing. Forgetting everything but that treasure.

Starting the tractor, he drove to a place where he was sure there was the depression that indicated a hole had been filled in. “It’s like a grave sinking in,” he shouted above the roar of the tractor engine. and then he started digging.

It must have been near midnight when the gas gauge told him it was time to stop digging. I went to sleep. He put in a fitful night, wondering what he was going to tell his dad about the eighteen gallons of gasoline he’d burned. He finally decided we could head home early and he’d fill the tractor before his dad was awake. The eighteen gallon shortage wouldn’t be noticed until Barns Heating and Oil filled the bulk gas tank.

His plan might have worked if the tractor hadn’t run out of gas a mile short of the house. By the time we hiked in and carried a can of gas down the road and then drove back to the house the cat was out of the bag, so to speak.

The tractor was not available next time.