"Sir, if you don't mind I'd like to go next," my father said.
"Of course Pierce," the Colonel said. "And Houlihan," as we stood up next to my father.
"You all may have guessed that I will return to my hometown of Crab Apple Cove, where I will have the position of Chief Surgeon at Portland Hospital," he told them. "What you don't know is that I will be spending the rest of my days as a devoted husband and father."
Gasps were heard throughout the tent. Some were even laughing.
"As many of you nurses have noticed I haven't gone out with any of you in months," he pointed out. "That's because, about four months ago I got married."
"I too, will be spending my time as a devoted wife and mother," my mother shared, "But I am not moving to California with Donald Penobscott as you all have assumed. Donald and I haven't seen each other for the better part of a year, and in fact we have been divorced for a little over six months. I will be moving to Maine with my husband, and the father of my child."
"Oh dear Lord," Father Mulcahy gasped, as did many others.
"Is this some kind of sick joke?" Charles asked.
"No," they said in unison.
"Hawkeye is my baby's father," my mother told everyone proudly. "I am even happier to share with you that he is my husband."
"That's true," Colonel Potter defended my parents. "I have know about it since they have gotten married. They got hitched in Seoul."
"And you kept it a secret this long?" Father Mulcahy asked.
"Yes," Dad said, "And Father, we wanted you to do the service, but we felt that we couldn't wait any longer."
"We kept it a secret so long," Mom started to explain, "because I was coming out of a failed marriage and Hawk isn't marriage material. If it happened that we had made a mistake we wanted us to be the only ones to know."
"Yes," my father added, "But we have made it through four months, and we are still very much in love."
"How about a toast for the happy couple?" Uncle BJ suggested.
"Here, here," shouted the rest of the gang.
"As honorary best man," Uncle Beej started, "I would like to wish on my two best friends a wealth of happiness, and a wish that they may never have to go through a hell like this again."
"Amen," said Father Mulcahy.
"Cheers," everyone else joined in. Then tapped on their glasses.
"What the hell," Dad laughed, "I haven't done this in public yet." He embraced my mother and kissed her a long kiss full of passion.
Whistles, and laughter filled the room.
The next day made my mother cry for the first time since my parents got married, as she said goodbye to her friends who had become family to her. "Colonel," my mother said, as he was leaving on his horse, whose name was Sophie. "I would like to thank you for all that you have done for me. You are a dear man. I love you, and will never forget you." She kissed his cheek.
"Well gee Margaret," he tried to hold back his tears. "You here at the four oh double seven have meant a whole lot to me too. You take care of yourself, and Pierce, and this little one on the way."
Thank you Colonel, I will," she said as he was leaving. "Oh Colonel, bring Mrs. Potter to see us in Crab Apple Cove when the baby is born."
"I will do," he told her, "and that's a promise."
"Colonel," it was my father and Uncle BJ.
"We were thinking," BJ started.
"That we want to give you a little something," Dad picked up.
"Now it isn't much," BJ warned.
"But it comes from the heart," Dad said he too holding back tears. I was told in later days that Uncle BJ and my father took a step back and saluted their Commanding Officer. Something neither did at all.
"Thank you boys," Potter said choked up, "That means a lot. I will never forget you. You know, I couldn't tell you then, but you were always there to give me a good laugh when I was down. Like the time that you pulled Winchester's pants down in the OR. OF course I had to pretend to be angry at you guys, but I was laughing so hard on the inside."
"I could really use a laugh like that right now," BJ said.
"Yeah," Dad said.
"Good bye boys." He said as he rode away.
"And then there were three," Uncle BJ said to my parents.
"Yeah," Dad said sadly.
"Hey," BJ said not convinced, "This isn't the end of the world. There will be times when we will see each other."
"Yes," Dad said in tears, "Holidays, and when the baby is born please bring Peg and Erin to Maine. I would love to meet your little girl, and you need to meet my baby."
"Right," BJ said now crying, "I want you know that you meant a lot to me."
"You, know, BJ," Dad said to his best friend, "Next time I see a giant pair of feet or a cheesy mustache, I will think of you."
"And when I smell months old socks," BJ tried to laugh.
"The next time someone nails my shoes to the floor," Dad added.
"When someone offers me a martini that taste like lighter fluid," BJ laughed, but his tears were winning the battle.
"I want you to know," Dad said not able to control his emotions, "I am going to miss you."
"I'll miss you a lot," Uncle BJ said as the two best friends, hugged. After a few moments he said top my mother, "Margaret, take care of yourself, and Hawkeye. You deserve the best and that's what you got." He kissed her on the cheek. "Hawk, take care of her, okay."
"Good-bye BJ," my mom said to him, "Go home and be with your family, don't wait another moment."
At that my father's best friend got on his motorcycle and drove away. My mother and father got into a jeep and we slowly trekked along. We boarded an airplane from Seoul that would take us to Boston.
When we were up in the air both of my parents were rather quiet. "Margaret," Dad said to her, "Why don't you try to sleep."
"I can't Hawk," she said. "I am having trouble.
"You look exhausted," he pointed out, "Is something wrong?"
"I was just thinking," she said softly, "More like worrying."
"About what?" He asked with concern.
"First of all I am afraid to fly, and secondly your father," she said, "I know it sounds silly, but what if he doesn't like me."
"Oh, Margaret," Dad sigh, "My father loves you already."
"We haven't met he might not like me even if I am carrying his grandchild."
"Margaret, sweetie, he loves you because you are you. Because you love me, because I love you enough to marry you and bring you home to Crab Apple Cove. My father is a real easy going guy, he likes everyone," Dad said and he kissed my mother on the forehead. "Now try to get some sleep."
"Will you sing to me?"
"What?" Dad asked with shock.
"I know you sing, and I love your voice, please," she sounded like a small child, "When I was small, and scared, my father would sing to me."
"Of course, I will sing to you," he said wrapping his arms around us. He softly sang to us. He took this job more seriously then the times he would sing in the OR. My father had a beautiful voice.