LANTANA, FL — The Animal Rescue League Thrift Store on Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach is a good place to start if you are seeking what you don’t expect to find.

Two years ago, headed for a year-long trip away from home, I found a set of vintage luggage for $25, resolving how I would bring all my stuff with me without spending more than my stuff was worth to do so.

Recently I also found a yoga-mat-sized pink mohair scarf from Scotland — $7 — that has me convinced, for now, that when I return to Cambridge in a few weeks I won’t be miserable in the cold.

The store offers good quality at good prices, some junk but not enough to make sifting through it a chore. I go there because I have come to see that buying things new is not only unnecessary, it’s not as much fun as looking for things that speak to you. I learned this when my job began to vanish a few years ago, when I also learned I didn’t want a job anymore.

The Animal Rescue League Thrift Store benefits the Peggy Adams Animal Shelter which also makes shopping there fun. Last week I found the cat above, named “Nikki,” at the time, there. If I touched her, the staff warned me, I might not be able to stop. I didn’t touch her. Instead I brought my mother back, and now Nikki has a new name, and, if she stops growling at my mother’s other two cats, a home. What we know about her is this: She is at least 6 years old, has spent the last year in the thrift store, and before that was brought in to the shelter by a woman who said she couldn’t keep her. Staff at the shelter, which does not euthanize healthy animals, told the woman they had no room for one more cat. The woman responded that in that case she would leave the cat in the parking lot. “So we took her,” the adoption counselor told my mother and me.

Nikki was walking around our chairs twirling her tail against our legs as we listened to this. So we took her.


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