Another Legacy 1.10

The garden center lit up with holiday lights

The reckoning of time always poses challenges for SimLit writers, especially those of us who tend towards game-driven stories. The feel of a day in the Sims 4 is quite realistic, with familiar patterns of preparing meals, cleaning up, garden and household tasks, work projects, hobbies, development of skills, socializing, and leisure–it all fits into a day. The one-to-one correspondence breaks down when it comes to seasons or what we might try to interpret as a year. A Sim may enter the first day of autumn a young adult and emerge from spring in their late thirties.

Enter the gap, which is how many SimLit writers account for this ellipsis in time. So, let’s say several years have passed, maybe five. In this time, Case and the NGO team completed the community planting project, and the ornamental and native trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, grasses, and ferns have become established. Case is hard at work on his new assignment, which is promoting and implementing sustainable energy sources in local businesses and residences. He’s been working so hard that, to him, it feels more like 10 days have passed than five years.

To celebrate the greening of the community, the board of directors for the garden center decide to host a Winterfest celebration, at the center, of course. Moira, the board president, coordinates the event. Case wants to go, of course, but he doesn’t want to have to worry about what to do while people are standing around talking, so he volunteers to cook the brunch and evening feast. He’s become a skilled chef in these past five years.

Case making a holiday meal

The best time is before people arrive, when he has the kitchen to himself, and he can plan the special touches–cranberries in the walnut bread, fresh sprigs of rosemary from the garden on the roast veggies, a drizzle of honey from his hives in the berry sauce. 

Catarina Lynx watches Case cook

But soon the center is full, and as people tend to do, they wander into the kitchen to see what the chef is up to. Maybe there’s a pretense of offers to help. 

Case has it under control.

“I could make the tea,” Jesminder Bheeda offers.

“Sure,” Case replies. It’s easier than saying, no, you might be in the way when I need to take something out of the oven. Besides, it’s WinterFest. More the merrier.

Other people come into the kitchen to see what looks so good

“That smells so good,” Catrina says. “I admit, I was worried at first. Cranberries in the fruit salad? But I think it will be fine, right? I mean, you know what you’re doing.”

Catarina talks with Case while he cooks

Case can’t really reply. He’s right in the middle of about five processes, and if he pauses to listen, process, and think of something appropriate to say back, he’ll forget the next step of the twelve queued up for completion.

But brunch turns out beautifully, and Case has the excuse of preparations for the evening meal to be able to eat his in the kitchen.

Aadhya washes the dishes, her own handy excuse to spend some time in the kitchen, where Case is, and after she dries and puts away the last Blue Willow plate, she turns to Case and says, “I’m supposed to decorate the tree, and I need some help.”

“Oh,” Case says. “I see. There are lots of people out there, so I’m sure that someone will help out.”

“Ah, well,” says Aadhya, “They are all playing board games or chess or cards or dancing.”

“OK,” Case says.

“No,” says Aadhya, “I mean, would you help me?”

“Oh, sure,” Case replies. “I would be happy to.”

Aadhya and Case decorate the tree

Decorating a tree is a satisfying project. You can arrange the ornaments, just so, in patterns or lined up or seemingly strewn at random. Of course we know that there’s no such thing as random and that patterns will emerge regardless, but the skill, the art, lies in letting the patterns emerge organically, noticeable on a level that lies beyond our conscious awareness but is detectable, nonetheless.

If Aadhya says anything to Case while they work together, he doesn’t hear. He is fully in it.

“It’s a beautiful tree, Case and Aadhya,” Ira says when she and the others come to admire it.

Everyone stands around the beautiful tree

Fortunately, there’s the supper feast to prepare, and this time, everyone is too occupied with the tree and the games and the carols and the pots of tea and coffee and the sweet rolls and plates of chocolate, cookies, and confection to wander into the kitchen.

But after the feast, after the last bubbles from the dishwashing soap have expelled their tiny bursts in the big stainless steel sink, after the pot of water for the evening tea has boiled and the tea has steeped, there truly is no excuse to remain in the kitchen.

Case finds refuge at the chess table.

Case is not sure what to make of Father Winter

But the thing about chess is that it’s a two-person game, and soon it’s Clement Frost, in his Father Winter get-up, who joins him.

“Well, I know you’ve been a good boy this year,” Clement says. “In fact, we all chipped in to get you something!”

It’s a fridge. Which runs on electricity. Which won’t be much use on Case’s off-the-grid lot. But, he can recycle it, and it’s sure to provide all sorts of components that can be reused in ways that would be practical for an off-the-grid home.

“Thanks!” Case says, and he means it.

Soon, everyone shifts seats again, and now Case is sitting across from the mom of that little girl who, way long ago, wished she might see butterflies here in this neighborhood, and the mom, being a nice mom, is talking with some other person’s little kid, who, like most kids, is being cute enough to bring a smile to everyone within his radius, but Knox, just outside his radius, looks sad, from remembering Geeta, and Ira and Aadhya, sitting at the same table with him, both try to cheer him up.

People sitting at tables, talking and laughing

No one is trying to talk to Case just then, so he does what he loves best when he has to be in groups–he lets his focus diffuse and he floods his senses with the rhythm of chat, the carols on the stereo, the lingering scents of cinnamon, nutmeg, and rosemary, the flickering lights from the tree, and he can make sense of it in his own way, with the patterns overlapping to make a whole that creates meaning for him. 

And then suddenly, he’s tired, from the full day and all of it, and the sound picks him up and carries him towards the door, out into the frosty night sky, and the walk through the town that he helped transform, back to his own cozy down sleeping bag, in his own tent, on the NGO’s off-grid lot.

Case walks home, tired and very happy

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A Box of Christmas Books


In the winters of my childhood, the holiday season began when my mother carried down the box of Christmas stories. We had scores of picture books, hardbound anthologies, and magazine clippings. It’s funny–I don’t recall our ever having purchased any new Christmas books. As the youngest child, I grew into a holiday library already established. The hours after school or on a rainy Saturday afternoon in December were spent with these books, who became close seasonal friends. December evenings, I snuggled beside my dad on the couch as he read Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. When I read the novel to myself now, I still hear it in my dad’s voice, though he left this earth 16 years ago this month.

This year, I thought it might be fun to share seasonal stories from this anthology. Maybe you’ve read them before; maybe they’re new to you! At any rate, I hope you enjoy a few yuletide stories from the past few years! And when you’re ready for more, please take a look at the index on the EA Sims Forums, where you can find past December entries from the Short Story Contest and submissions by other SimLit writers!

Happy reading! Solstice Greetings! And peace and love and the warmth of a good story to you!

Holiday Stories from CT’s SimLit Anthology

From December 2016

Coming Home

Something for Dr. J from Dr. Jasmine’s Casebook

From December 2015

One Night, from Dr. Jasmine’s Casebook

From December 2014

Plum Day Celebration – From A Houseful Of Hippies
Let’s Celebrate… What?
Don’t Know Much
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Plum!
Gnome Kickers and Home Wreckers
What Does Plum Stand For?
Black and White and Boring All Over
Touching Ground and Scaling Heights
Friends Become Family
Another Day, Another Plum
Can you add plum to garden salad?
Sweet Plums Roasting on an Open Fire
Green Plums and Plum Blossoms
That’s Plum, You Genius!
Dr. Jasmine’s Guest Book
Reflections on a Bowl of Plum




Coming Home 9


“Tell me again how Christmas morning goes?” requested Marshmallow when Grandma came down to tuck her in.

“Why,” said Cinnamon, “all the little children sleep in until around noon, and then the grown-ups tiptoe downstairs and softly say to them, ‘Wake up, sleepy heads! It’s Christmas!'”


“That’s not how it goes!” protested Marshmallow.

“Do you remember?” her grandmother asked. “You tell me!”


“How can I remember?” said Marshmallow. “I’ve never had Christmas here before!”

“Well, you did,” said Cinnamon, “when you were about three.”

“Three? Why that’s the size of a peanut! How can I be expected to remember anything that happened when my brain was a little pea-brain of an acorn!”

“All right,” said Cinnamon. “Let’s see if I remember with my little acorn of a pea-brain…”


Marshmallow took a deep breath and closed her eyes.


“All the little children are so excited in the morning that they wake up before the first thrush begins to sing. And quiet as mice, they creep up the basement stairs to the first landing. Then, before going any further, they wait in silence broken only by giggles while, every so slowly, the sun rises. Once the first rays of the sun slide in through the window, the children creep across the landing to the next set of stairs, and then they slowly tiptoe up to their mama’s, uncle’s, and grandma’s room, where they burst in, shouting, ‘Merry Christmas!'”

“And what happens next?” asked Marshmallow.

“Then, everybody lines up, with the youngest one in front, and the oldest one in back.”

“That would be Tomas who’s youngest, and then me, and then Kumie. And you in the back. But who goes between, Mama or Uncle Stellar?”

“You’re mom’s behind Kumar, and then comes your uncle Stellar. Then each one reaches in front and covers the eyes of the person before them.”

“So only you can see?” asked Marshmallow.

“That’s right. And I call out the directions. ‘Straight ahead!’ ‘Slow down!’ ‘Now turn!’ ‘Step! Step! Careful!'”

“And do we make it down without falling?”

“We do! We might bump into a wall or two, but that’s half the fun!”

“And then what next?”


“Next comes the stockings!” said Thalassa, who, with Tomas, had joined her daughter and mother.

“How do we open our stockings with our eyes closed?” asked Marshmallow.

“We don’t, silly!” said Thalassa. “We open our eyes, and there’s the tree all lit up with presents all around! And then we open the stockings.”


“And while the children open stockings,” added Cinnamon, “I make breakfast!”

“Which involves cinnamon rolls and scrambled eggs and fresh orange juice and hot chocolate! And lots of coffee and tea for grown-ups who’ve stayed up wrapping presents all night!”


“Then what?” asked Marshmallow.

“Then,” said Thalassa, “we all go for a long walk.”

“No! Not yet,” said Marshmallow. “What really happens?”

“We play football,” said Thalassa.

“Not yet!” Marshmallow insisted. “You’re forgetting something… after breakfast, then we…”

“Then we all gather in the living room,” said Cinnamon, “and the littlest one–”

“–that would be Tomas–”

“–chooses a present from under the tree and gives it to the person it’s for.”

“Then that person opens it, and chooses the next present, and gives it, and so on, until there are no presents left, and then we go for the long walk!” shouted Marshmallow. “And that’s Christmas morning!”

“Exactly!” said Thalassa.


“Then I’m brushing my teeth so I can go to bed so the morning gets here sooner!”

When Marshmallow walked out, Thalassa giggled. “Nothing like the rehearsal before the big event!”

“You mean it’s not just a story?” said Tomas.


“Not just a story at all!” said Cinnamon.

Tomas sat next to her.

“We had Christmas in summer when I was a little kid” he said. “I know a Christmas song. Do you want to hear it?”

Cinnamon did. Tomas sang very softly, for his brother Kumar was sleeping beside them in the bed.

“Borboleta pequenina,
Saia fora do rosal
Venha ver quanta beleza,
Hoje é noite de Natal!”


“That’s a beautiful song,” said Cinnamon. “Will you teach it to us tomorrow?”

“I don’t think so,” said Tomas. “It’s in a language you wouldn’t understand. But you can teach me a song in your language, because I can understand it, too.”

“It’s a deal,” said Cinnamon. “Are you ready to brush your teeth and change into your PJs?”

“Not yet,” said Tomas. “I think I will sit up just a little bit and sing some more.”

Thalassa motioned to her mother to head back upstairs, and the two women left the little boy sitting on the edge of the bed, singing softly to himself the songs from his childhood far away.


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