Shimmer was a real scaredy cat when Claire brought her into the little cottage at the muscadine vineyard. She stayed hidden. Claire couldn’t touch her. She finally gained confidence and grew to love her home. She climbed trees and played with Ernie, Claire’s brother’s cat.
(drawing of cottage and Shimmer & Ernie on roof)
And THEN… Claire & Shimmer moved! And Ernie went in the opposite direction, 1525 miles away to be exact. Oh it’s a sad ending to their friendship. But - if you look at it another way, it’s the beginning of something else. What?! You ask… why an Adventure, of course, as all new experiences are. And Shimmer was ready.
(drawing of the US)
Even though Claire played with her, Shimmer was without a playmate of similar size at her new home. So she went outside and took a good 360° look around to see what she could see. Oh What she saw was amazing! So many possible friends, she was excited to get started
(drawing of Shimmer in backyard, rabbit, bird, lizard, shed)
First, she rushed up to the closest bird, it was looking for worms in the grass…..
“Oh my, how rude!” Shimmer thought, because the bird flew away – without so much as a hello –
there was a lot of wing flapping, which, to give the bird the benefit of the doubt, could be taken as a lot of “HELLO!” waves, and quite a lot of “GOODBYE!” waves too.
(drawing of shimmer reaching for bird, bird flying) (shimmer thinks “maybe I should keep my claws in)
So Shimmer set her sights on another possible friend she had noticed. A rabbit was just a little farther away than the bird had been, so this was her next obvious choice to make a friend. Shimmer decided to go more slowly up to the rabbit than the bird, she realized she might have come on too strong. As she slinked along through the grass, staying low to the ground, she got much closer to the rabbit than she had to the bird. When she felt the time was right, she popped up with a grandiose “HELLO!”
Well, the rabbit might have been a tad bit surprised, because it took off hopping at such an alarming speed that Shimmer could barely keep up as she thought “WOW, a game of tag so soon, no introductions necessary, and then we can tussle in the grass like Ernie and I used to do!” Now is when “barely keeping up” turns to “left in the dust”
Shimmer thought she might have to admit defeat in making a rabbit friend as she called out “come back! I can’t keep up!” That dang rabbit acted like it didn’t hear Shimmer, but Shimmer figured with those big ears, surely it had.
(drawing of Shimmer and rabbit)
Shimmer was perplexed, but not one to give up so easily, she set her sights on a lizard near the shed. So she…… oh well that was over before it began, that lizard was 10 times faster than the rabbit and gone in a flash! Shimmer didn’t even have time for a “hello”
What next? Shimmer was still quite enthusiastic about the endless possibilities, and she had to admit that it had been fun and interesting running around almost meeting new friends.
Then Shimmer heard a growling noise… after looking in the bushes and up in the trees, she realized it was her stomach! It was well past her lunchtime and she hadn’t even noticed. Her stomach DID notice and was complaining loudly – “grrrrrrUMBLE… gurgle gurgle”
So… she decided to take a break from searching for friends and find something to eat. Just then, a plump chipmunk caught her eye …. Instinct took over and Shimmer had that little guy under her paw, in her mouth, and inside the cat door in mere moments! (She preferred eating indoors and not on the patio)
Just as she was going to chomp on the chipmunk, she was shocked by the loud chirping of the chipmunk and also the fact that she could understand what he was saying.
“Release me you sharp toothed giant!” the chipmunk said loudly (yet still in a chirpy sort of voice) and Shimmer did just that. “I didn’t know I could speak chipmunk” Shimmer thought to herself. She never knew she could talk to anyone except herself in her own head. This was new. This was different. … so she changed her plans from lunchtime to friendtime, and she started to introduce herself but before she could utter 2 words, the chipmunk darted away. “HELLO WHERE ARE YOU?!” Shimmer called… “I’m hiding of course” came a little voice from under the fridge. “Come out and let’s be friends” Shimmer said happily –
the voice under the fridge said, “you do realize you just kidnapped me and almost ATE me, I think I’ll stay here”
Shimmer didn’t know what to do, should she try to squeeze under the refrigerator? No she would never fit. Should she find a different snack while she contemplates the situation? YES! Food bowl it is!! It’s never empty, it’s always full – how lucky could one chubby can’t-fit-under-the-refrigerator cat be?
We interrupt this story for a lunch break…. Chomp chomp crunch crunch crunch purrrr purrrr purrrr (Shimmer purrs when she eats she loves it so much) chomp chomp crunch chomp purrrr purr crunch purrrr
“OK! Now, what was I doing?
Lying out in the sun? No
Eating grass at the backyard salad bar? No.
Playing with the catnip mouse? No ….oh I know! I was looking for friends – and I have one under the refrigerator!” Shimmer was excited for the second half of the day to begin.
She tried to figure out how to get the chipmunk out into the open so they could be properly introduced so she thought she’d try some friendly warm-up questions. “So, hey… ummmmm….. chipmunk, are you still there?” “yes” came the squeaky answer from under the fridge.
“my name is Shimmer, what’s yours?”
“that’s a nice name, do you have lots of friends?” “no, we chipmunks are loners”
“Me too!” Shimmer exclaimed “I used to be the Cat Whisperer and could befriend any cat I came across. Even the mean ones would sit near me quietly while I worked my magic. It was like we were meditating together. I think it really helped them, and also me. I even taught classes in how to do this, I call it 'doing a mini'.”
Chippy was intrigued… “then what happened?”
“Well my mom took me away from all the other cats, even my best friend Ernie, and in this new place, I’ve been surprise attacked a lot by different cats. I was shocked at their rudeness, and now I don’t trust any other cats… I even had to go to the doctor a few times because of my injuries”
Shimmer continued “that’s why I’m trying to find other friends, will you be my friend?” She really eased into that question nicely.
“you know it really hasn’t been that long since you tried to have me for lunch, I’m sure you can understand” Chippy said.
Shimmer had to admit to herself that she COULD understand. But she was determined… “So, Chippy, do you like to play?”
“oh yes” said Chippy, “I love to run around and climb trees and burrow in the ground”
“I like to play too” Shimmer said this next part, fearing it wouldn’t convince Chippy but she had to try… “since we are both loners and both like to play and we have to play alone… what if we played together?”
“I promise I won’t ever hurt you intentionally" Shimmer continued – "and I promise to uphold the Vow of Honor, Pledge of Decency towards you with whom I make this pact” Shimmer was obviously good at thinking fast and making up legal sounding pledges, but she did plan to honor her vow.
Chippy, sensing Shimmer’s earnestness and considering his situation with his back up against the wall, decided to take his chances with this smooth talking feline… he said “Ok Shimmer, you’ve got a deal” as he reached his tiny hand out to touch Shimmer’s paw.
Chippy didn’t come out right away. He needed a few days to process the situation and let his body metabolize the previous trauma.
Shimmer relaxed and felt very happy daydreaming about all the fun they could have together. She sat next to the fridge so Chippy could get used to her presence – they told each other their favorite things to do. They became friends. They played together.
Epilogue: Hiding in the grass, Mr. Toad has seen all of Shimmer’s friend-making attempts, and being a compassionate sort of amphibian, he thought he might enjoy a large furry friend. But Mr. Toad was shy and Shimmer didn’t even see him. And so he waited, as this particular toad was a very patient chap... as of now it is a mystery whether Mr. Toad ever befriends Shimmer.