There was a smile on Alouette’s face as she clicked a button on her digital audio recorder. “Are you ready to begin, Mrs. Hatcher? Comfortable? Shadow certainly looks quite cozy.” She let out a little laugh as she glanced at the pile of gray fur that was stretched out against her interviewee’s side on the couch.
The cat merely let out a yawn and twitched his ears.
“I’m fine Ms. Bird, thank you. And please, call me Rose.” Fine lines spread at the corners of her eyes as she gave the journalist a wide grin across her wrinkled face.
“All right Rose, then let’s go ahead and get started. I think it is safe to say that everyone here in Appaloosa Plains was quite surprised when the news came out that one of our own had been nominated for the Edgar Evans Award, but especially when it was announced that the nomination, made by Charlie Rocca Cups, past Wonder Child and now a leading researcher on mycelium and mushroom compounds as a source of natural healing in the medical field, was for a cat lady! How do you feel?”
Rose stared down at the award plaque in her lap, her face still full of the disbelief she felt. “I’m still having a hard time processing that it’s real. I’ve never thought of myself as ever doing anything special in regards to serving family or community. I’m just trying to get by, day to day, until I don’t have any days left.”
“Well, according to Mr. Rocca’s nomination speech, ‘When faced with grief, rather than cave in to the pain she felt, Rose Hatcher adopted Shadow, a kitten who needed a home.’ Would you mind telling that story?” Alouette pressed.
Rose let out a deep sigh. “All right,” she said, but the look on her face had shifted from the jovial expression she wore a moment before to a resigned, somewhat haunted expression. The memories of that day still weighed heavily in her chest.
“My husband Earl passed away last summer. I loved him so much. You know, for years I’ve been sliding away mentally… I’m forgetful and my memories don’t line up right. I have late-onset dementia, the doctor said. I always thought I was such a burden on him… but he never thought so. Somehow, he always understood me perfectly, and with Earl around, it even felt like my head was a little clearer. Like I could almost remember again when he told me a story from our younger days. I thought for certain of the two of us, I’d be the first to go… and then one day, all of a sudden, he was gone. He just didn’t wake up that morning. We’d gone touring the civic center just the day before and he’d seemed fine. It just felt like my world had crumbled away beneath my feet now that he was gone.
“The grief was terrible. Ashton and Senna would visit, but it didn’t really help my loneliness. I was stuck in this home we’d retired to together, but he wasn’t there. I was sleeping in the bed that we’d shared our whole life, but he wasn’t next to me. Everything felt so hollow. There was even a time that I wished, if my memory was failing me so badly, why did I have to remember how much I loved him? Isn’t that terrible? Of course it was the grief talking; I cherish every memory of Earl that I manage to hold onto. But it made me realize that things couldn’t go on like that.
“I read the newspaper every day, and I saw an ad from the local animal shelter. I’ve always loved cats and thought maybe that’s just what I needed to ease the loneliness in those four walls. So I went down there to have a look. They had a lot of cute cats, and two kittens. One was a female, gray, and spotted, and the worker told me she was very lovey and playful. But then I saw another kitten, over in a secluded cage. He looked kinda like he had a bit of Siamese to him, but more gray, and had these mismatched eyes that just seemed to stare straight into my soul. The worker told me that he had aggression problems, and he wouldn’t recommend him, but just like when I met Earl… it was love at first sight. That fiesty little cat needed a home as much as I needed a ball of fluff to fill my broken heart.
“I don’t think they were expecting to find a home for the hissy little thing. I was told they still needed to get him his shots and then they’d deliver him the next day. Sure enough, it took Shadow a while to warm up to having a human… he’d hiss and act like he was such a big, tough cat even though he could easily fit in the palm of my hand. But all he needed was love and affection. Warm hands and a warm heart go a long way. Shadow needed me… and I needed him. It really pains me to think of all the animals in shelters that are never given a chance at a home, you know?”
“Well, that’s a really touching story, Rose. I’d bet that many people will be inspired to visit their local animal shelter as a result, and in turn, help their communities by getting animals out of overcrowded shelters and into loving homes. Don’t you agree?”
“I suppose so, when you put it like that…” Rose’s cheeks flushed slightly. She’d never thought her simple tale of adopting a kitten after being widowed could ever have such an impact!
Alouette had a satisfied look on her face as she continued, “And what about your family? Could you tell me a bit about them?”
“Oh, of course!” Rose said, her enthusiam returning. “I have two beautiful children, my son Ashton, and my daughter, Senna. Ashton is married and has given me the most adorable little granddaughter, Ivy, and they are expecting a second! One of my greatest joys in life is having everyone over and cooking up a big meal for everyone!
“And I love being a grandma! Not to brag, but if you ask my granddaughter, I give the best hugs!”
“And I’m sure if Shadow could talk, he’d second that!” Rose let out a hearty laugh. “Our furry, feathered, and scaled family members are just as important as the rest, and deserve just as much love. Hopefully Earl will forgive me that I’m sharing my bed with another male now… but Shadow is quite the cuddler, and great at keeping me warm on cold winter nights.”
Alouette chuckled, “Of course, my Siamese Minette is quite bad at stealing the covers herself!” Once the laughter had died down between the two cat owners she continued, “It seems you serve your family just as much as your community, Rose, and I’m sure they appreciate all the support and love you provide. I believe I have enough for my portion of the article on your Edgar Evans Award, so let’s move on… to your acceptance speech and nomination!”
“Oh dear…” Rose said, looking a bit flustered. “I’m really not very good with speeches, but I just want to say that I thank my family for all their love and support, and the Appaloosa Plains Animal Shelter for doing such a great job. I know I’m not going to be around much longer, and I know my children are healthy and happy and are doing fine, so I’ve arranged to have my funds when I am gone split between the Sim Nation Humane Society and the Alzheimers and Dementia Research Fund. I’d like to encourage anyone that is in pain, be it physical or mental, to consider the healing power of our animal friends. Adopt a pet or volunteer at your local shelter! Perhaps one of these kittens could be your lifemate?”
Rose handed over a photograph to Alouette, who daaawed at the image. “You want me to print this in the article?”
“If you have room. That’s Trixie and Bootsie, though we call him Boo for short. They were born just before Spooky Day. They are getting big and need to bring the same love and joy to someone that Shadow has brought to me.”
“Are they Shadow’s…?”
Rose nodded. “And my daughter Senna’s cat, Cayln. Remember that gray spotted kitten the shelter worker tried to get me to adopt? The funny thing is that a few days after I adopted Shadow, Senna called me, all excited to tell me that she had just adopted a kitten! It was the gray spotted kitten! Apparently she decided to deal with her grief over Earl’s death the same way as me!”
Alouette and Rose shared another laugh.
“As for my nomination…” Rose said, as soon as they’d collected themselves. She took out a newspaper and handed it over to the journalist.
“When I read this article in the Sim Nation News, I couldn’t help but feel a few similarities to my own situation. Shadow was considered a bad cat, better left behind shelter bars, but I knew he just needed a loving home. This cop, Hailey Merchant, she’s the best sort of folk. She took this kid off the streets but saw the potential for something great in her. Instead of just letting her go back into a broken foster care system, she gave her a home. She became the mother this girl needed. She’s a fine detective that serves her community, and a fine mom that raised this girl that so many people wouldn’t have given a chance. I think she more than deserves the Edgar Evans Award.”
“I couldn’t agree more,” Alouette replied, nodding. “May I keep the newspaper article as a reference?”
Rose nodded, beaming widely. She was happy she had received the award, but felt far more happy to pass it along to such a deserving individual.
“Thank you so much for this interview, Rose. It should be ready for the Sunday edition of the Appaloosa Times,” the journalist spoke, giving Rose a little nod. There was a smile on Alouette’s face as she clicked a button on her digital audio recorder.
This was written for the July Monthly Short Story Challenge from the Sims forums, which tasked folks to write a story in 500-2000 words using 1-15 screencaps using the theme “I Open with the Close.” This theme required the story to begin and end with the same sentence. This short story can be considered a side story to my series The Cat Chronicles since it features characters from that series.
This story acts as the official acceptance of the Edgar Evans Award, an award created by Judith (Moon in Capricorn/NoWayJose527) of The Jonathan Chronicles in honor of her sim Edgar Evans to honor other outstanding Sims and the Simmers that created them. Each recipient is chosen as an example of an individual with strong values and a desire to serve the family and community. I really am honored to have been nominated for this award by CathyTea and her amazing Sim Charlie Rocca Cups from Wonder! I’ve been following that story since its beginnings and Charlie is a real inspiration! And now I am happy to pass this forward to BBQPenguinWings and her Sim Hailey Merchant from Get to Work: Vignettes – A Detective’s Life. She is an amazing Sim that I feel embodies the vision of the award well.
If your Sim has been nominated, please do the following:
1. Save a copy of the award photograph shown here.
2. Create a post on your blog showing the award.
3. On your post please include a photo of your Sim along with his or her acceptance speech.
4. Link back to The Jonathan Chronicles.
5. Link back to the simmer who nominated your Sim.
6. Nominate another Sim and notify the Simmer. Please provide these instructions.
(And if you have a Sim that would like to adopt Trixie or Boo, please let me know! I really am looking for a home for Shadow’s kittens for a future The Cat Chronicles part!)