As a boy my father and i would go garage saling on a quest to find antiques. You never knew what you would find or who you would meet. One sunny summer sunday we went to a usual spot, this old farm where the owner had turned most of the buildings into make shift displays for hoards of antiques on sale. I would love looking at the tables crammed with objects from different time periods and aesthetics always on the look for crystals, minerals, or comics.

I would separate from my father who would be negotiating prices or to see new items that were not yet on display for sale. Today my father seemed to be talking for an unusually long time and he called me over. I followed him out of the main barn past several buildings until we reached the last one. The owner pulled open the door and we saw a brood of kittens. My eyes lit up because although we had never had a pet bigger than a fish just two weeks before at another yard sale my father had got us two kittens, me a black and white cat (Columbus) and my brother a calico named. (Josephine) Could he be considering a third?

My father explained that since my brother and i now had our own cats we needed to get one for my mother. I looked at the pile of tiny cats as they crawled over eachother oblivious that one of their lives was about to change forever. I had the hefty task of choosing which one we would take. amongst the pile one kitten stood out like the glare off a clean mirror. It was an all white long haired kitten almost albino exuding unique star power.

I pointed at him 100% sure of my selection and the farmer handed him to me. we got into the car and started driving and soon the cat became scared and startled throwing up and defecating. I tried to comfort its trembling body but nothing worked. as the cd player changed to Creedence Clear Waters “down on the corner” the cat immediately stopped shaking as if fine. i swore to my dad it was the music so he played the song on repeat all the way home and the cat layed in a calm trance listening.

Upon arriving my unsuspecting mother was very surprised we were going to have a third cat, and even more so that it was hers. My brother and i volunteered to help her name this new cat as we kept the previous owners name for Joey and Columbus. We shouted out any names associated with white and snow seemed to stick but was too obvious. My mother was half french so suggested we name him Neige, french for snow.

Neige’s initial glimmer of stardom didnt fail to disappoint. As he grew he became more and more beautiful, his stark white color standing out from everyone and everything. The only thing to outshine his beauty was his super friendly personality. He could seduce even the most rigid dog lover to give snuggles. He also didnt get along with the other two cats and was always the odd man out, but didnt seem to mind.

All 3 of our cats were outdoor cats, i remember our house being over run with fleas. We would give them flea baths as they screamed like mythic banshees as we tried to submerge them in the liquid. Claws gripping the edges of the bucket as flocks of fleas sprang from them filling the air like an unsolvable connect the dots puzzle.

One summer day neige never returned home. He was always the one to stay out the longest, but he had a routine and would always return to us at dusk. One day passed, then two, then three and finally we got a call from a neighbor that Neige had accidently been locked in their garage after they went away for the weekend. This was the first we learned of neiges adventures. We would learn the rest after his death, when at 3 he was hit by a car.

My moms coworker called us early one spring morning to say she thought she saw Neige dead on the side of the road. My mom and i were in shambles asking if she was sure but what other all white animals would be so close to our home? Anxiously we waited for my dad to drive down and check. He returned with the confirmation of a cardboard box top containing Neige. He looked more angelical than ever and his pristine state convinced me he was just sleeping . I leaned closer to make sure and upon tilting his head i saw my father was trying to hide the point of impact. His mouth was gently open exposing his teensy teeth that were bashed in and his eye was popped out. It mustn’t have happened too long before. My brother and i sealed him up in the box burying him on the side of our house.

Immediately after his death our other two cats became indoor and a few days later neighbors began to enquire where “their” Neige was. Apparently he would go house to house each day where our neighbors would buy him special cold cuts and treats in exchange for his presence and attention. Once full Neige would be on to the next one continuing throughout the day returning to us to sleep the night. Everyone was devastated at the news that Neige had passed but no one more so than my mother and i.