The moon slowly rose over the fields of Sweet Apple Acres. Moonlight was slowly flooding over the trees. The light touched everything except for a house with bright burning candles. Sitting in front of this house were three ponies: one fragile and green sitting in a rocking chair, one large and red sitting on a bench, and one nimble and orange sitting on the ground. Each one of them was busy tuning a musical instrument. They held a banjo, a guitar, and a violin respectively. The door to the house opened and a small yellow filly with a pink bow trotted out with a cowbell in her mouth.
“Why are we out here?” Apple Bloom asked. Applejack turned to her sister having finished tuning her violin.
“You know that song that is always played at the Apple Family Reunion?” she asked.
“The Anthem? What about it?” Granny Smith set her banjo to the ground and signaled her youngest granddaughter to sit beside her.
“That song,” she began. “is older than you and I could possibly imagine. My pappy taught it to me, and he learned it from his pappy, who learned it from his ma, who learned it from…” She was interrupted by a cough from her grandson.
“Anyways,” she continued. “that song is something we always play during our reunions. The song is meant to celebrate our happiness, our prosperity. It’s how we say we love each other without saying it. But it has another purpose. It’s played in remembrance.” Apple Bloom looked at her family. Each member had solemn looks on their faces.
“Do you know what today is Apple Bloom?” Applejack asked. The filly tapped her chin in concentration.
“Saturday?” her family gave a small chuckle in response.
“Nnope,” her brother replied. She looked to Granny Smith and saw great sadness in her eyes.
“Today’s the day I outlived my son,” she whispered. Apple Bloom’s eyes widened at this revelation. Both Applejack and Big Macintosh had sad looks on their faces. The four of them sat in silence. The youngest Apple sniffled.
“So today is the day that Ma and Pa,” she choked out.
“Eeyup,” Big Macintosh answered. Tears started freely flowing from her eyes. Granny Smith lifted her banjo and began plucking the strings.
“Now don’t you cry youngin,” she said. “My son wouldn’t want to see his daughter cryin.” Big Macintosh held his guitar and began to play. Applejack held the bow to her violin in her mouth and did the same.
“But, but,” Apple Bloom sniffed.
“Hush child,” Granny Smith interrupted. “Play.” Apple Bloom swallowed her sadness, closed her eyes, and tapped on the cowbell. The Apple family sat in the darkness with their song echoing into the night. Three of four family members had memories surface in their mind. All of them involved two ponies. The memories each had a different emotion associated with them. Some of the memories were happy, some of them sad, some angry, and some embarrassing. As they played, a wind blew passed them. Mixed in with the wind was the sound of laughter. The laughter sounded far away, and yet close at the same time. Apple Bloom’s eyes shot open as the song was reaching its end. Although she had never heard those voices before, she instantly recognized them. Ma? Pa?
Granny Smith plucked the last note from her banjo and the family sat in silence. They looked at their apple orchard with a mixture of pride and sadness. Granny Smith let out a yawn and stretched herself. The sound of bones cracking emitted themselves from her body.
“Well,” she said. “I best be off to bed. Mac? Could you help me out?”
“Eeyup,” he said. Big Macintosh lifted his grandmother from her chair and entered their home. Applejack and Apple Bloom continued to stare at field.
“Applejack?” Applejack turned to her sister. “Do you miss them?”
“Every day sugar cube,” she answered. “I kind of envy you. You don’t have any memories of them, I can imagine it makes their missing presence less painful.” Apple Bloom shook her head.
“You’re thinking backwards,” she said. “It hurts more because I don’t have any memories of them. All I have are two names and two faces. I don’t have their voices in my head like you or Big Mac. I don’t have memories of seeing them grow like Granny Smith. It hurts not knowing who they actually were.” Silence sat with the two siblings. Apple Bloom threw her forelegs around her sister.
“Whoa nelly!” The youngest Apple clung to her sister.
“I know that The Anthem is meant to say we love each other,” she said. “But I think we should still say it anyways. I love you Applejack.” Applejack wrapped her forelegs around her sister. A sad smile appeared on her face and a single tear fell from her eyes.
“I love you too, Apple Bloom.”