By and by, things worked out for the best. Not that Aunt Moire has made a total turnaround in character – and I wouldn't want her to change that much! She is still her imperious, bossy self but has learned to bend and to accommodate those she used to think are "beneath" her. She and Grandma Longneck are now best of friends and often I see them, and sometimes they're joined by the Old One, immersed in lively conversation and gossip. It is so good to see Aunt Moire finally among family again. For so long, I've often wondered how she got along with no one, other than Angus, to look out for her. Well, I could say that about myself, what with being on the run all those years before I finally found my family. It is not good to be separated from those who love you.
The wedding is still the talk of the Great Valley even weeks after the ceremony. It was so beautiful even if we did push up the date a couple of days. It didn't matter if we had to hurry and gather everyone at the last minute; Pat insisted we get married – Now! Just as rehearsed, Littlefoot and his friends led the bridal procession, with Ducky and Petrie scattering colorful, sweet smelling petals in the path. Thank goodness Spike had sense not to eat the flowers! Many females came next; they were my attendants of sorts. Then I, with Papa Longneck at my side, proudly strode forth. Since I had no living parents, Papa graciously offered to give me away.
Pat and Bron – the latter was the best longneck male – stood up front with Mr. Thicknose who officiated the ceremony.
The ceremony itself was so beautiful. Mr. Thicknose spoke of how each pairing of male and female promises another generation. He said family is important, and for us to survive, no matter what life hands us, it is the family that weathers it all. We've been through some tough times, he said. Weird weather, earthshakes, food and water shortages, the ever present threat of predators...All those things that can tear a family apart.
I, and so did everyone else, knew what Mr. Thicknose was talking about. It was an earthshake that separated me from my sister. A Sharptooth took her life, leaving Littlefoot to fend for himself, and Bron to wander far and wide in search of the young one he thought lost forever. Anyway, Papa Longneck gave me away, Grandma and the Old One placed a wreathe of flowers on my head. They said it is symbol of everlasting love and to remind everyone of the Great Circle of Life. As old Rooter told Littlefoot after my sister died, "We don't always meet at the end." I thought about that, and while I don't want to think of ever leaving Pat before my time, it is inevitable. Pat is, to be sure, much older than I, and on that day I realized he may die before me. I know it's quite morbid dwelling on things like that, but it's a fact. The Circle of Life is mysterious that way, letting some of us go and others behind to carry on. I hope someday, we will be able to start a family of our own to widen that circle. Oh wow, I never imagined Pat as a father! Not that I don't have any worries about his parenting skills – He's already proven that by the way he looks out the little ones. And all the kids love Pat and regard him as an uncle. All I can say if we do decide to have youngsters of our own, they will have the most loving and devoted father. I can see Pat simply spoiling our children rotten, and I wouldn't mind, not one bit.
Oh, the reception afterwards. Can't forget that, ever. We gathered in the flowery meadow which burst with colorful blossoms. The ladies of the Great Valley gathered much fruit and tree stars for the wedding feast. For this special occasion, tree sweets, those tender flowers that taste so good but are only around for a few weeks, were served by the heaps. I believe every tree was stripped of every single flower! Much to the delight of Aunt Moire and Daddy Threehorn, giddyberries had been gathered by the flyers. Everyone, except the children of course, indulged in those sweet little berries that makes one a bit giddy. Naturally we restrained ourselves with those berries. We just couldn't afford anyone literally falling out or waking with a terrific headache come morning.
Bron led the first tribute to Pat and me, wishing us much happiness and peace in our married life. He said, "Even after all these years, love still finds a way to bring two special longnecks together."
He is right. In the darkest of times, when we least expect it, love finds a way to bring us together. In awe I look at Papa and Mama Longneck and marvel at the devotion they still have for each other. I look at Littlefoot and Ali. Okay, so they're still children, but I, as well as Bron, notice the spark between the little ones. They may not realize it now, but some time, many years from now, Ali and Littlefoot may very well stand before family and friends, declaring their love for each other. Hmm...and that cute little girl spiketail giving our adorable Spike the eye. Can a kid with a bottomless appetite ever make good husband material? You bet! Spike is sincere and loyal, a wonderful catch for any nice lady spiketail. Ducky and Petrie shouldn't have trouble finding devoted mates given their pleasant, selfless personalities. Cera, I'm not so sure, but there has to be a nice boy threehorn who would love Cera enough to put up with her cantankerous moods. Cera is more like her mother than father, if truth be known, and I believe it will take a special young male to match her wit and spit.
My new husband is stirring awake. I know he's not much to look at, but in my eyes he is the most handsome of the herd. So what if he has a few bags under the eyes – His eyes are a beautiful baby blue. So what if he's missing a few teeth – His smile is still warm and inviting. So what if he has this folksy charm – It is part of his irresistible personality, and I wouldn't change anything about him.
Littlefoot said something last night before going to sleep. He asked, "Aunt Dvora, since you and Pat are married now, I hope you have lots of kids. Grandma says I could have little cousins to play with. But if you don't, I don't mind. I have you and Uncle Pat, and Grandpa and Grandma. And I have my dad, and my friends. I think I have all I need."
"Don't," I said to him, "forget your special friends, Ali and Shorty. You know, Shorty is as close to a brother you have. And Ali, well..."
"I know, I know. She's a girl, and Grandma says Ali and I might get married just like you and Pat. But that's a long way off."
When he said it like that, I know what he meant. To enjoy your special friendships while you're young. But I'm not young anymore and neither is Pat. Who cares? We will cherish each other each day we are given. Our special friendship will last forever, even after we're gone.
Copyright©2006 by PRP.