by MK McIntrye
Katie sat on the edge of the beach as the waves came up and slowly caressed her body. This must be heaven, she thought to herself. She was the only one on the beach at this hour, and everything was completely quiet except for the waves and the occasional sea gull that would fly over head.
This gave Katie time to think to herself and compose her thoughts. Med. school was over, she was a doctor now and she could finally relax for a while. After almost 10 years of studying you think she would be happy to finally be free and be able to begin work but there was something missing for Katie. Inside there was this feeling, she couldn't describe it. It made her feel like something was missing like she wasn't anywhere near finished yet.
She had wanted to go into medicine since she was a teenager, and she always knew she wanted to be a surgeon. Now she was, she was everything she had waned to be. She remembered watching M*A*S*H with her father and knowing that she wanted to be a doctor like Hawkeye and save people's lives everyday.
She stared out into the horizon. She knew she was home. Katie always loved the ocean, and the way that it met the sky, so perfectly, and the way that the ocean and sky seemed to go on forever as one always amazed her.
Why did I ever leave here, she asked herself. She left Maine to go to college, in California. She missed it while she was in California, but when she came home she had this feeling of belonging that she didn't get from anywhere else in the world.
To take her mind off of her feelings Katie sang to herself, an Old Irish song her mother taught her a long time ago.
"Oh of all the sweethearts that ere I've had, they wish me one more day to stay, but since it falls unto me lot, that I might rise and you should not, I'll gently rise and softly call good-night and joy be with you all," her voice definitely wasn't what it used to be when she was back in High School with the choir.
Katie was suddenly flooded with memories of her mother. Images of her filled Katie's mind. Eileen was Irish through and through. She had thick brown hair and deep blue eyes. Katie's was an ugly shade of blonde, but she had always wanted to look like her mother. Katie remembered her mother's laugh and her stories the most. And she never forgot the things her mother would tell her of Ireland and how she missed it and the songs her mother would teach her.
She remembered the story that Eileen had told Katie about the song A Little Bit O' Heaven. She had said that every night at the pub she would go and play her guitar as the men got drunk and sang that song in a loud and obnoxious voice. Katie also remember how every time her mother would hear How Are Things In Galcamora she would cry her eyes out remembering how much she missed Ireland.
Eileen finally got to go home 10 years ago when she died. Katie went back to Ireland with her Aunt Mary. The priest had asked Katie to sing her mother's favorite song at her funeral. The song that Katie sang at her mother's funeral was Danny Boy. She was singing with her Aunt and everything was fine until the last line of the last verse. "And I shall sleep in peace until you come, to, me!" Katie broke down in tears and had to leave. Even today she can't hear that song without thinking of her mother and she never sings it unless she goes from start to finish out of respect. Being at home with Aunt Mary also reminded Katie of her mother. Everywhere she turned in Aunt Mary's house was Eileen. Her Irish lace hung in the hall with pictures of Irish castles on it, and Aunt Mary had a picture of her in almost every room.
St.Patrick's day was the worst. All the leprechauns were too much. When Katie was about ten she asked her mother about them. "Mom, I know there are leprechauns all over the place on St. Patrick's day but are there any real one?" "Ah, thick ya?" joked her mother, "of course there are wee-people but not here in America, only in Eire. That's while ya see all these cartoon leprechauns everywhere, cause Americans can't see the real thing!" explained her mother.
Katie's father was an American though all right. He had met Eileen in Vietnam. He was a wounded solider, and she was kind nurse with a pleasant accent.
Her father's war experience always interested Katie. And she supposed that was the reason why she loved M*A*S*H so much. It let her picture the horrible time that her father had had in Vietnam, since he seldom spoke of it, except for the part about meeting her mother. She saw Margaret as her mother, she was Irish after all, and Hawkeye as her father. But now Dad is gone too, Katie thought to herself. At Christmas for God's sake.
Her father had died of a heart attack a year ago on Christmas day. And now Aunt Mary was all she had left.
She rose from the sand and dusted off her clothing. She probably wouldn't see this beach again for a while so she took in her surroundings for one last time and then headed to her car.
Aunt Mary lived in Boston now, and since Katie couldn't afford to say in her child hood home forever she decided to say with Aunt Mary until she got her life back on track again.
Boston can't be that bad, she thought to herself and she finished loading her car and stared up too look at the house that she used to call her own. Trapper and Charles lived there so I might as well give it a try. As she drove down the highway towards her new home Katie was flooded with memories of M*A*S*H. Of course when she watched them there were always reruns but even though he had seen a million, her father would sit and watch it with her every time. And sometimes, before she died her mother would watch it too, to compare her nursing job to one at the 4077th. She always said the thing she loved about M*A*S*H was that it was very real.
Katie erased the memories of her parents and M*A*S*H out of her head and light a cigarette. She knew it was bad for her, hell she was a doctor, but she smoked anyway.
She drove along peacefully for several miles until she heard a helicopter fly over head and all she could think of was Radar screaming "choppers!" and the personnel running to the chopper pad.
She smiled to herself. "You gotta get over that," she said to herself. "Although Hawkeye would make a good husband though wouldn't he?" she asked aloud. Then she laughed at the idea, like she would ever find a man like Hawkeye, which would be perfect.
Katie stared down at her hands. She had a big hand, her mother had once told her it was an Irish washerwoman hand, but her fingers worked fast when they were needed. Even though large her hands had become leaner and very defined after years of playing the cello, embroidery and now surgery. Then she thought of the rest of her body, after struggling with her weight all through her high school years, she had slimmed down considerably. Her hair was an inch or two below her shoulders, and she vowed never to cut it again after a hair cut in 9th grade that brought her hair above her ears.
If only dad could see me now, really like Hawkeye. Katie then thought of her father's parents, she didn't really remember anything about them, they died when she was 2. She knew their names, Margaret and Ben Pierce, often laughed when she saw their names, it was just pure coincidence. M*A*S*H wasn't real! But then her father's name made here think twice, everyone called him B.J. but his name was Benjamin John. She just smiled and remembered that it wasn't real! Of course her grandfather had been a surgeon, and her grandmother a nurse. "Oh my God!" she said to herself, "they might have been in Korea!" After several miles of driving and thinking she removed that idea from her mind.
Finally she was in Boston. Just 10 minutes to Aunt Mary's, she thought.
As she turned the corner to her Aunt's road, she never saw the speeding car that took her life away.
"Margaret! Margaret hello?" screamed her husband.
A dazed Margaret Houlihan-Pierce lifts her head from the kitchen table she was draped over. "Yeah sorry Hawkeye I was day dreaming. What is it?" she asked.
"They're making a TV show about us, about the 4077th can you believe that! Beej just called and told me!" her husband danced around the kitchen before returning to her.
"Oh that's great Hawk," she said with little enthusiasm in her voice.
"Are you okay Margaret, I thought you would be happier." Hawkeye asked his voice sounding concerned.
"Yeah I just had the strangest dream, it was about B.J.'s daughter."
"Our B.J.?" asked Hawkeye. "Margaret he's only seventeen years old!"
"I know that! I just had a dream that he had a daughter and I saw her life. Maybe it's because I'm uneasy about him turning 18, I mean there is still a war on, and there's still a draft."
"Margaret, after what we went through you know if I could stop the draft I would, especially for our own son. But there's nothing I can do."
"I know Hawk. Gosh" she breathed, "I swear, my dream was so real. Imagine our B.J. with his own daughter," she said speaking to herself more than Hawkeye.
"I don't know Margaret, I thought I was the one who cracked up!" he joked.
"Har har, Charles!" she said sarcastically.
"Ouch Margaret that was below the belt!" he winked at her, "Alright, come on we have to call and tell people about this, Trap and Colonel Potter, Radar and Klinger everyone!" Hawkeye said excitedly.
"Ok, Hawk, ok. I own hope they get a knock out to play me." She said rising from her chair.
"None can be as beautiful as you," said her husband as he wrapped his arms around her. "But they do have to get a handsome Casanova for the chief surgeon, what's his name again?"
"Again ha ha, come on who do you wanna call first?" she asked.
"How about the Colonel?" he suggested then the two headed for the phone.
"Sherman?" Hawkeye asked the elder man who answer the phone.
"Hawkeye, well zippodeedodah, what's the occasion?" asked the now long retired Colonel.
"I just got the best news from Beej. They want to make a TV show about the 4077th. They want to call it M*A*S*H and start making it in a year or two they said." Blurted out the excited Hawkeye.
"Well galloping gorillas! That's just dandy! Who else knows?" asked the Colonel.
"You, me, Margaret and B.J. we haven't really gotten around to calling anyone else yet."
"Well Pierce I better let you get back to it. Great to hear from ya, and call me when you get anymore news on the show."
"I will Colonel. Good-bye." And with that Hawkeye hung up the phone.
30 years later
Katie sat on the edge of the beach as the waves came up and slowly caressed her body. This must be heaven, she thought to herself. She was the only one on the beach at this hour, and everything was completely quiet except for the waves and the occasional sea gull that would fly over head