Forty-six years later…..
"And among our distinguished guests tonight is New York's top neurosurgeon and chairman of Pediatrics at Princeton-Plainsboro in New Jersey. Please give a warm welcome to Dr. Braeden Daniel House. Or as the children like to call him, Dr. Popcorn."
The applause rose and everyone watched the gracious doctor ascend the steps. His soft silver hair combed neatly. He wore a black tuxedo with a red and black checkered bowtie. He had large steady hands and a smile that enchanted. The women in the room were all taken by his handsome features but Dr. Braeden wouldn't ever have eyes for anyone but Katie Dakota.
Johnny Dakota had married Savannah Carmichael the year after House married Cameron. That same year Savannah gave birth to twins, a boy named Henry and a girl named Katie. Braeden took charge of protecting Katie and when she entered college they began dating. After Braeden's second year of medical school, he and Katie wed in front of the entire town. Both Uncle Cappy and Aunt Virginia were in their 90's by then.
Cameron gave birth to a girl two years after the wedding. They named the baby Cora Virginia for Uncle Cappy and Aunt Virginia. Braeden and Katie had six children of their own, four boys and two girls. Braeden studied hard and learned both House's profession and Dan Brady's profession. His love of children made him join pediatrics.
As Braeden stood in front of people he had grown to cherish along with his wife, children, and sister, he felt a sense of pride.
"Thank you dear friends for that warm reception. I am truly humbled because in my heart I'm still just a little boy. I've spent my life with children. I can only say that God has blessed every part of my life. I had four parents instead of two. I was raised by an entire town. I married an angel and I was given the gift of a beautiful sister and six precious babies. You have graciously and warmly welcomed me into Manhatten's top hospital and Jersey's top teaching hospital. I have made a career out of fixing children's hearts and scars. I am proud and honored that this hospital has allowed me and encouraged me to open the Serafina House wing. This wing will house, fund, and research the toughest childhood diseases while not being a burden to the parents."
The applause sounded once again.
"Thank you friends. Before I step down from this podium tonight I feel it my duty and honor to say a word about my dad Dr. Greggory House. My sister Serafina passed away a long time before I was born and my dad carried that burden. Thanks to a very special woman who became one of two of my mothers and a nosy little town, my dad was able to let go of his sadness. The year following my adoption my dad opened his own clinic in Kingston, New York and not one parents paid a dime for getting their child assistance. He never talked about his joy because my dad wasn't that way but it brought him and my mother unspeakable joy. My parents are gone today; I lost my mom Ruthie three month ago. I am who God has made me and who that town inspired me to be. Thank you for all of your support, fundraising and donations. I love each of you and I look forward to saving the future of our children. Goodnight and may the Lord smile down on all of you."
Braeden descended the steps and made his way to his family. On the screen was a panoramic picture of Margaretville taken the day Al's House of Italian opened its doors. His eyes scanned each and every face. Al's was run by Joey's children now. Braeden found House's face in the crowd and then looked at himself as a young child. He was draped around House's neck. It brought tears to his eyes still missing his dad and hero. Dan Brady standing with Ruthie and Cameron completed his beloved family. The applause from the crowd was thunderous but to Dr. Braeden Daniel House it sounded just like fireworks.