Be Strong Now

by Closer-To-The-Sun

Be Strong Now

Be Strong Now
Written By Closer-To-The-Sun (Joseph Noblit)

Hoofsteps echoed through the dark hallway. A crestfallen orange mare dragged herself through her home and into the living room. Her coat was scuffed with dirt and her blonde mane was disheveled and out of place. The pony trotted into the brightly lit living room. Squinting her eyes from the light, she made out a figure sitting in the rocking chair. As her eyes adjusted to the sudden change, she saw that it was her grandmother sitting, slowly rocking back and forth.

With a sigh escaping her mouth, she spoke, “Howdy, granny.”

“Oh, hello there, Applejack. How are ya doin’ this fine evenin’?” Granny Smith asked, giving her a warm smiled.

Applejack took a seat on the sofa. Taking her brown hat off her head, she set it down on the cushion next to her as she replied, “Ah’m doin’ fine ah suppose. Lotta things just goin’ on that seem to be gettin’ under mah coat lately.”

The orange pony’s statement caused Granny Smith’s ears to perk up, “Got some pesterin’ problems, do ya? Well, why don’t ya tell ol’ Granny Smith about the things that have you more sour than a caterpillar eatin’ a lemon?”

“It’s an awful long list of problems, granny. Ya sure?” Applejack raised an eyebrow, giving her grandparent a worried expression.

“Oh please, Applejack, I’ve been ‘round the farm quite a few times. There ain’t nothin’ I haven’t heard when it comes to havin’ problems,” Granny Smith gave a good-hearted chuckle.

Giving up in trying to argue, the mare decided to answer, “Fer starters, ah got plenty of ponies expectin’ me ta be more of a pony than ah think ah can honestly be. While ah’m all fer helpin’ anypony that might need it, ah think ah’m startin’ ta stretch mahself thin. Ah also have Pinkie bearin’ down on me like a hound dog ‘cause she’s wantin’ me ta help plan a surprise party in the barn fer Big Mac later this month. An’ ta top it all off, we didn’t exactly get off on the right hoof this applebuckin’ season.” Finishing her list, Applejack fell back against the couch and sighed heavily.

Granny Smith took a look at her granddaughter, “It seems ya got yerself quite a bit of pressure buildin’ up on ya. It’s the normal part of growin’ up, dear.”

“Normal?” Applejack snorted, “If this is normal, then ah wanna see it when things get simply out of hoof for somepony.”

“Watch that tone, Applejack. Gettin’ frustrated at these kinds of things ain’t gonna make them go away.”

“Ah know, ah know.”

“Ya just need ta know how to tackle yer problems like yer father used to,” Granny reminisced.

Applejack eyes were fixed at the green pony in the rocking chair, “Like Pa?”

Granny noticed that she had gotten Applejack’s attention, “Eeyup. Yer father was somethin’ else. Ah can remember one applebuckin’ season, the crop was late in bloomin’ and we had quite a big debt hangin’ over us like bats in a cave. He had to make quite a few important and risky decisions fer the farm. Ah remember one day he had ta choose between payin’ a back a loan or feedin’ his family.”

“Huh? When was this, granny?” the orange mare listened intently.

“Oh, this was back when you a little newborn filly,” Granny Smith continued rocking back in forth in her chair.

The orange mare looked attentively to her grandmother, “What happened?”

The green pony smiled as she continued, “Bramley loved his family too much to have ya’ll go hungry. The debt piled up more fer the farm, but early every mornin’, he would be out in the fields, workin’ his hardest for the first crop of apples to come in. He and Idared, your mother, worked so hard fer this farm and fer you youngins.”

“Ah never knew Pa made sacrifices like that fer all of us…” Applejack mumbled, looking down at her dirty hat on the seat next to her.

For a few moments, silence was the only exchange between the two ponies. Finally, the elderly pony spoke, “Do ya remember the day that yer father and mother disappeared?”

“Yeah,” Applejack recalled as she closed her eyes, “ah remember when he and Ma were outside the barn, fastenin’ their luggage to the cart. Big Mac an’ ah went out to wish them a safe trip. Heh, ah was cryin’ like a little filly, askin’ fer me ta go with him. Pa put his hoof on mah head, roughed up mah mane, an’ put his big ol’ brown hat on top of mah head.”

“Remember, what he said to ya, Applejack?”

The orange pony ‘s eyes started to tear up. “Ah remember…he told me ah gotta be strong until he came back…but…he never did.”

Granny Smith nodded.

“It’s why ah’ve always worn his hat because of that…waitin’ fer him ta come back home…” Applejack picked her hat up and placed it on her head. She pulled part of it down to have the bill of the hat hide her eyes and the tears that were beginning to roll down her cheek.

Pulling her self up from her rocking chair, Granny Smith used her walker to make her way across the living room to the old desk, “Applejack, I think it’s time fer me ta give ya somethin’.”

Applejack tilted her head as she wiped the tears from her eyes, “What? What are ya talkin’ ‘bout?”

Arriving at the wood desk, the green pony pulled open one of the drawers. After a few moments of shuffling, she retrieved a sealed envelope. She then began trotting towards her granddaughter. “This letter here was written by yer father way back when you were just a little filly. I never really understood why he wanted to write this, but he wanted you to have it when we all thought you were old enough.”

“A letter from Pa? What’s in it?” Applejack took the envelope from her Granny Smith.

“How should I know? He promised all of us to make sure it was fer yer eyes only, and an Apple never breaks a promise,” Granny Smith returned to her chair, easing her body into her rocking chair.

Carefully, Applejack began to open the sealed letter from the back. The paper easily gave way to her opening of it, the age of message was apparent. With the envelope open, the orange mare proceeded to take the contents out. She pulled out the two pieces of parchment that were inside. The aged paper seemed to in better shape than the envelope that held it. Looking at the first page, Applejack noticed that the top of the paper was not only dated, but also started with the line ‘Dear Applejack’ at the top. “It’s a…letter…” the mare took her time to answer.

Granny Smith smiled slightly, “Typical of yer father to do somethin’ like that. He always was pretty different than most of the other types of farmin’ ponies we knew. Why don’t ya give it a read?”

Applejack looked up from the letter, “Huh? Right now?”

“Sure, what does it say?”

Looking back down at the parchment, Applejack started read the letter aloud:

“Dear Applejack, This is your Pa writin’. Ah know this might seem odd that either Ma or Granny Smith gave ya this letter, but ah wanted ta write somethin’ special fer ya. It was only a few days ago, but ah want ya ta know exactly how ah felt the day ya blessed the Apple family.”

Pausing, Applejack raised a hoof to wipe away a newly forming tear. A quiet sniffle echoed throughout the room.

The green pony began rocking slowing in her chair, “Oh, Bramley was always so sentimental. He did the same fer yer brother and sister, ya know. He would write and write every night tryin’ to find the right words, as he called it. Oh, and how it would drive yer mother up the wall, like one time, he-“

“Ah can’t read this,” Applejack interrupted.

“Beg pardon?”

Applejack folded the letter back up and placed it in the envelope, “Ah said ah can’t read this…it’s somethin’ that Pa wrote fer me an’…ah just can’t…”

A warm, gentle smile appeared on Granny Smith’s face, “Well, dear, no pony is forcin’ ya to read it.”

“Still, thank ya fer givin’ me this,” the orange mare said as she stood up from the couch. She placed the letter on the desk before turning to head back into the hallway, “ah’m gonna get some shut eye. Ah’ll see ya in the mornin’.”

“Rest well, Applejack,” Granny Smith said as she watched Applejack leave the room.

Applejack retired to her room for the evening. However, despite her best attempts, the pony was unable to fall asleep. Her eyes continued to stay wide open as she laid on her bed. In her mind, the thought of the letter repeatedly pestered the blonde mare. Sitting up in her bed, Applejack shuffled around until she was out from the covers and off of her bed. She began to quiet trot on the wooden floor, out of her room and back downstairs. Once she reached the bottom floor of her home, she looked into the living room. With Luna’s moon brightly shinning outside, a dim light shone through the windows and lit up the room. Applejack’s eyes were quick to find what they were looking for, the envelope on top of the desk. Taking it, the orange pony trotted out of the room and into the kitchen. Turning on the light above the table, Applejack took a seat at the table.

Despite everything, she was still hesitant to proceed with her plan. “Ah…ah gotta read this…Pa wrote it just fer me after all…” Applejack tried to convince herself.

Finally finding the strength to do so, she opened the envelope and pulled out the two pieces of parchment. She found the place where she left off and continued to read the letter from her father:

I know it might seem weird that your father is writing you a letter to you, especially since you could just talk to me any time you would like. The reason I want to write this is because I want to tell you about the day of your birth and how much it meant to me.

Three days ago, the entire Apple family was blessed to welcome a new member of our growing family. Idared said that when you were born you let out a big yawn and went promptly to sleep, no crying whatsoever. You were like a sleeping angel to us, a gift from Celestia herself. As we looked at your sleeping face, your mother and I knew you would be become a beautiful mare that we would both love and be proud of.

Earlier today, your big brother, Macintosh, was watching over you while you were taking a nap. He didn’t say anything, but I could tell that he already loves you just like the rest of us. The little red colt is already saying that he will take care of you and watch out for you when you two go to school.

Applejack paused as she reached the end of the first page. She shuffled the pages, bringing the second piece forward so she could continue.

When I look at you, I see so much of your mother in you. You have the same shiny, blonde mane as her as well as her emerald green eyes. It’s quite obvious that you got your mother’s beauty. Idared thinks that the orange coat that you inherited from me will give you my determination and honesty. I just hope you don’t get my bad qualities, such as my bad habit of sleeping in late or being a bad cook. If you do, you know who to blame for that.

I want you to know that whatever you plan to do with your life, Applejack, your mother and I will always be proud of you. Whether you follow in the family business, design clothing, become an artist, or whatever, we’ll just be happy as long as you are. You should always do something you enjoy and at the end of the day you can be proud of how you spent your time.

There is one last piece of advice I would like to give you, my little Applejack. More often then not, everything in your life might seem to be overwhelming. I am speaking from experience when I say that you shouldn’t let those things consume you. In such, you need to be strong when it seems if Equestria is against you every step of the way. Your family is always there for you to support you, help you, and care for you when it all seems the worst it could be. And don’t forget, I’ll always be here for if you need a hug, Applejack. I can help by being strong for the both of us.

Love, Pa

Finishing the letter, Applejack placed the parchment down on the table. She used both her hooves to whip the tears rolling down from both of her eyes.

Taking slow, deep breaths, the orange mare quietly spoke, “Ah’ll be strong, Pa…just like ya told me ta be. Ah’ll be strong fer all of us.”