Crabapple Cove, Maine
August 27, 2003

"Fifty three years ago you couldn't convince me that these two would be married, let alone be one of the happiest, if not the happiest couple I know. When we arrived in Korea we saw this blonde siren walking across the compound our way and Hawk said to me I'll never forget this, "Would you look at her, she's got a body I'd like to tango all night with." Who would of known that that Army major would give us the worst time. I took an immediate dislike to her as well as Hawk so I thought, but I didn't find out until later Margaret was one of the most wonderful and talented women I know, and that Hawk was in love with her from first sight. I'm happy for you two of you and Congratulations on fifty years of marriage."

"Well when I got the phone call fifty years ago to be Hawk's best man, I knew. I knew he was marrying Margaret. It came to no surprise to me. You see Hawk and Margaret went to a different M*A*S*H unit to demonstrate a new technique that they had developed at the 4077th when they came back, Hawk told me what had happened between he and Margaret and he admitted that she stirred something in him. I always knew they'd wind up together whether or not they wanted to admit it. She would always run to him for comfort and he would confide in her. They were each other's comfort they always have been. Congratulations to two of the best friends I've ever had. Fifty years of marriage is beautiful thing, I wish you many more years together."

"Margaret I'm glad to see you found happiness but it boggles the mind to see you've found in such a cretin like Pierce."

"I'll never forget the time Hawkeye, Margaret, and I went to the front to help at an Aid Station. The compassion between those two was something I had never seen. The next morning when I woke up I saw those two sleeping together and he was protecting her and keeping her warm. When we were entering camp after we returned from the Aid Station he looked at Margaret and said, "Your my favorite Officer in the whole U.S. Army," and he kissed her on the cheek. Congratulations you two!"

"I'll never forget when the whole camp had to 'bug out' and Hawk, Margaret, and I were left by ourselves with the enemy approaching. I remember how scared Major... I mean Margaret was that the enemy would harm her and Hawkeye comforted her and assured her nothing was going to happen. Congratulations!"

"Mom, Dad, I'm so glad to have parents as wonderful as the two of you are. You have helped me in every way possible, emotionally, physically, and even spiritually. You have been there for me when times were rough and I though I'd lost my way. You both have my guidance and the best friends I could have. Daddy you're the man I measure all others too and I couldn't ask for a better father. Mom you've been the nurturer and friend, and I couldn't ask for a better mother either. You two are my strength, and on your special day I raise my glass in honor to you. I love you both. Congratulations!"

"I guess it's my turn now! Mom, Dad I love you. I'm glad to have had the support of the two of you in my decisions to become the best I could possibly be. You two know I'm not big on speeches like my Oscar winning sis here but I will tell you both this: Dad thank you, even though you're not to keen on the army thank you for letting me pursue my dream, and have a wonderful mentor such as you have been to me. Mom like Betsy said about Dad you're the woman I measure all other women up to. Again I can't ask for better parents. I love you guys and here's to you. Congratulations!"

"Well, like Trapper said it was love at first sight and what B.J. said it did stir something in me. I have loved you unconditionally since the day we met. I have never been out of love with you. True there has been times when I wanted to ring your neck back in Korea but you know I'd never lay a hand on you. I love you more than words can say, more than the sun, the moon and the stars above. I've never loved anyone as much as I've loved you. I would do anything for you and you know it. That day we said goodbye in Korea I thought my heart was breaking into a million pieces. When I got in the chopper, I had the pilot change directions so I could come and get you without ever looking back. I have never regretted that day. I only regret one thing, not telling you sooner. Every morning I wake up and look at the woman next to me. I fall in love all over again. I often marvel at nature's ability to create such beauty. I love you. I'd like everyone to raise their glass and toast to Margaret, the most beautiful, talented, and magnificent woman, the joy of my life Margaret Pierce!"

After Hawk's toast they danced to Nat King Cole's, "Unforgettable." Everyone danced the night away and talked and reminisced about the past and talked of the present and their plans for the future. It was late when everyone finally left the restaurant with a beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean. The sweet smell of summer was almost gone, as Hawkeye and Margaret danced on their pier and then went upstairs to their room.

"Stay here I'm going to get some champagne, and I'll be right back. I love you Ben."

"I love you too, Margaret."

Margaret ran downstairs and into the kitchen. She grabbed a bottle of champagne and two champagne glasses. It was a very special vintage, a fifty- year old Dom Perion. She had been saving the champagne for just this occasion, a fifty - year- old bottle, for a fifty- year- old marriage. Margaret giggled like a school- girl as she ran up the stairs to meet Ben for the perfect toast to top off the perfect evening. As Margaret entered the bedroom, Ben sit in his favorite chair gazing out the window. As Margaret poured the bubbly champagne she rambled on about how happy her life has been since they have been together. "Ben, I don't know what I would ever do without you, and I hope I never have to find out." She reminisced about their days in Korea, and how something so beautiful was born out of something so ugly. Margaret grabbed up the champagne glasses and walked over to Ben and said, "Honey, I love you more than life itself. Let's toast our love over a glass of champagne." Ben, appeared to be in deep thought and totally consumed with the lovely landscape painted by nature's brush. Margaret placed her hand on Ben's shoulder and softly spoke his name. No reply. She spoke his name again, and again and again. Margaret's champagne glass slipped from her hand and shattered on the floor. Champagne splashed all around her feet as she fell to her knees crying out Ben's name. Ben had left life as he had lived it. Marveling at nature's beauty.

"Here's to you Ben!"

The End

I hope everyone enjoyed my story After "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen." Please let me know your thoughts, and please send them to Hotlips4Hawkeye@aol.com. I would like to thank my Dad for his creative input. Thanks Daddy! Thank you all for reading; once again I hope you had as much fun reading it as I did writing it.

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