"Actually," Hawkeye said, "Do you remember when you went to find Margaret and me when we were supposed to be at the 8063rd?"
"Hawkeye?!?" BJ asked in astonishment, "You didn't."
"Am I to assume that Margaret has the matching ring?"
"Why didn't you wait to have it here?"
"Margaret said something about waiting," Hawkeye started, "She mentioned Father Mulcahy doing the service, and you being my best man, but we decided not to wait."
"I suppose congratulations are in order," BJ said.
"Keep it quiet," Hawkeye told BJ, "We are going to announce it later."
"All right," BJ agreed.
"Incoming Wounded," the loudspeaker bellowed, "All personal report to triage!"
"Let's go," Hawkeye said as they both jumped up and ran out of the Swamp.
"Margaret," a man with a Bostonian accent said to my mother, "You forgot to take you rings off. You never forget to do that."
"Oh," my mother said with embarrassment. It brought attention to the significantly larger rock she now wore on her ring finger.
"Major Houlihan," said a nurse, "That's a beautiful ring, how long have you had it. I thought the one from Donald was smaller." My mother didn't say anything and continued to scrub up. We went into the OR.
"Margaret," it was my father's comforting voice. "I need a nurse here. If you are up to it."
"Of course, doctor," she said.
"I had the same problem, myself," he whispered to her about the ring incident.
"Major Houlihan," Colonel Potter called. "When we are done in here, I would still like to have that chat with you."
"Of course Colonel," my mother replied.
The hours seemed like days. I slept as they all worked. There were a few times when I sensed that my mother was getting sick. Dad sensed it to, but Mom continued to trek on working in the OR.
"Colonel," my mother said when we were done in the operating room, "You wanted to see me."
"Yes," he said cheerfully. "Why don't you have a seat. Being on your feet for that long isn't healthy for you or the baby."
"Has Pierce told you?" She asked.
"Told me?" the older man asked. "No, nobody has told me anything. I just assumed."
"I am pregnant, Colonel," she told him.
"As I assumed," the Colonel sighed, "We have to talk about what we should do."
"Colonel, please don't have me discharged," my mother pleaded. "My closest friends are here. They are like family to me. I will continue to work."
"Ahh," Colonel Potter thought for a moment. "Since the peace talks are going well, I suppose a few more weeks can't hurt. Nothing we do here is GI anyway. Just don't over do it. Know your limitations. All I need is for you to get sick, and it will be on my record."
"Thank you, Colonel, sir," my mother said happily.
"What does Donald say about all of this?" he asked.
"Donald?" she hesitated, "I haven't spoken to him."
"Well, I suggest you do," Colonel Potter advised. "I know that the two of you are divorced, but the father has a right to know."
"The father knows," she told him.
"Margaret?" He spoke with a disapproving tone. "I am not one to pry, but care to tell me who the lucky man is?"
"Pierce," she revealed my father's name to her commanding officer.
What?" He asked, "No, what how?"
"Permission to keep my private life private?"
We got up to leave. "Oh one more thing," my mother said. "You need to update two of the records?"
"The status of Pierce, Benjamin Franklin, and the status of myself."
"Yes. Both are now married."
"To each other?"
"Yes, Colonel," she said, "We got married in Seoul. Please keep it a secret, we plan to share the news with everyone a little later."
"Of course, Margaret," he said, "and Congratulations, may Hawkeye be everything you wanted from Donald, but never got."
"Thank you sir," she said, "He is, and so much more."
The next weeks were trying for Hawkeye and Margaret and the entire camp. Hawkeye wanted to see Margaret more often then he could, because them seemed to work different shifts, and when Margaret was working she was sleeping. When Hawkeye was off he would go to Margaret's tent and sit by her bed, and read to me. He read letters from my grandfather Daniel, about how he was already painting a room for me, or he would read classic literature. My favorite is The Last of the Mohicans, because that is where my father got his nickname. Although, the nurses did throw my mother a shower. Lots of oohs and ahhs were accounted for, but a fairly boring event. On top of everything else, the peace agreements were so near that everyone could smell home.
My mother was ending her second trimester, and Colonel Potter was weary of her in the operating room. She continued to work as hard as ever. BJ and Potter had kept the Pierces' secret, and Charles, the man with the Bostonian accent still hadn't had a clue.
"Attention all personal," the loudspeaker sounded one afternoon when I was listening to the newest letter from my grandfather. "We have just been given word by Harry S. Truman that at twelve oh one tonight there will be a cease fire ending this, the Korean War. We're going home folks!"
"Margaret," my father woke her up he was filled with excitement, "Did you here that? We're going home! We'll have this baby in the states like Potter promised!"
"Oh Hawkeye, that's wonderful!" My mother said. "I'll get to meet your father, and your Crab Apple Cove." The two kissed There was a knock at the door, "It's me!" Said a voice belonging to the familiar BJ Hunnicutt, who Dad told me I was to call Uncle BJ.
"Come on in, Beej," Dad said.
"San Francisco, here I come, right back where I started from," he was singing. "I can't wait to get back to Peg, and to Erin!"
My father laughed when BJ went into another chorus of the song. His laugh had become my favorite sound. It was so full, and unique, and occurred so often.
"Are you two going to tell everyone?" BJ inquired.
"That's a good question," my father said, "Shall we?"
"Yes, at dinner the last night, Mom suggested.
"They deserve to know," Uncle BJ told them. "There has been speculation that Hawkeye is trying to get in on a pregnant married woman."
"But I am a pregnant married woman."
"Ahh but they think that Donald is responsible for this," BJ said.
The last night everyone was gathered in the Mess Tent (ahh you know the scene). "Everyone, may I have your attention, please," Colonel Potter said over the laughing and talking. Slowly it silenced. "As you all know tomorrow this camp comes down for good. We all have worked together for such a long time, I thought it might be nice for us all to take a moment and share with each other what we will be doing when we go home."
"You go first Colonel," my mother pushed.
"As you all know, for the better part of the last thirty years I have been from one tour of duty to the next. When I go home tomorrow, it will be the last time I come home from war. I will be retiring. There is someone at home who has been waiting for me to come home from one tour to another. So I will be spending some of my time as a semi-retired country doctor, but mostly as Mrs. Potter's Mr. Potter," he ended crying.