I must have fallen asleep for along time, because when I woke up I heard my father say, "Margaret, we are home. This is it, Crab Apple Cove." We walked up the path in the spacious front yard, to the top of a wrap around porch that belonged to the Victorian style Pierce home. Dad rang the doorbell, and I heard the door creek open.
"Hawkeye!" an older voice said loudly and full of happiness.
"Dad," my father said to the man. The two embraced. It was the first time they had seen each other in over two years.
"I was expecting you a little later," my grandfather, Daniel Pierce admitted, "I am still in the middle of straighten up the house, and putting clean sheets on your bed."
"Don't worry about it," my father said. "Dad, this is my wife, Margaret."
"Oh, Margaret," my grandfather said to her, "You really are as beautiful as Hawkeye described in all of his letters. Margaret, welcome to the family."
"Thank you, Doctor Pierce," my mother said politely, "It is truly an honor to meet you sir, Hawkeye spoke of you so often."
"Margaret," he stopped her, "Please its Daniel, and when we are better aquatinted, I hope you will call me Dad. Come on in." We walked into the house, and got situated in the living room. "How have you been feeling?" Daniel asked my mother, the doctor was getting the better of himself.
"I am feeling better, but tired," my mother shared.
"We'll take great care of you," he told her. "Hawkeye can show you around the house, but I want to take you up, and show you my wedding and baby gift for you." We toured the house, and went upstairs, Dad showed Mom their bedroom, and then Grandpa Daniel took them to the room next door. "This is for the up and coming arrival of the newest Pierce," he told them.
"Dad," my father said in surprise, "That was your study."
"Well," he told them, "I knew that the little one needed a room more than I needed a study."
"Daniel," my mother said in tears as we entered the room, "This is really beautiful."
"Dad," my father said, "Where did you find this?"
"Believe it or not," Grandpa said to my mother, "This bear and Hawkeye were inseparable, it was in a closet, but I found a new one at the department store, and I thought it would be better for the baby to have a new one."
"His name was Mr. Bear," my father said sheepishly.
"Inseparable, Hawk?" My mother asked smiling, "Like someone else we know?"
"Radar," my father sighed. "That is what the new bear's name will be."
"This is fantastic, Dad," my father said cheerfully.
"It truly is wonderfully, Daniel," my mother commented. "You know, I would really like to get to know you a little better, and be there as the two of you catch up on stories, but I am exhausted and would like to go to bed."
"We have plenty of time to get to know each other, darling," Daniel told her.
"You know what Dad," my father said, "It has been a long day, I think I am going to turn in with Margaret."
"Of course," my grandfather said, "We can talk tomorrow. Good night."
My parents walked into their room. It was the first time that they would share a bed since they had gotten married over four months ago. My mother drifted to sleep quickly, as she always did, but my father tossed and turned restlessly.
"Hawkeye," my mother said with concern after a few hours had passed, "what's wrong? Are you having nightmares?"
He laughed quietly, "No, I haven't gotten to sleep yet, so I can't be having nightmares."
"What's wrong, then?" She asked.
"I was thinking, and all of my thinking scared me," he said.
"Margaret," he said sincerely, "I am scared."
"Of what, Ben?" My mother inquired.
"I am afraid that I won't be a good father," he said choked with tears. "I am not a role model. God, I scarred Radar more times than I can remember. I am nobody's hero, Margaret. How can I be a good father? I am afraid that I will screw this kid up." He was now pacing around the room, which he did when he was nervous.
"Hawkeye," my mother said, "Come here." She took his hand and placed it on her swollen stomach to touch me. "This baby has no idea what to expect when they arrive in this world. There are no guarantees, Hawk. All we can do is love him or her, and take whatever our parents taught us. Ben, your dad is a wonderful man, and I know that you will make just as great of a father as he was to you. You can't go worrying about this. You play cards, you know you have to deal with what ends up in your hand. We'll work together, and we'll make mistakes together."
He kept his hand on me for another few moments in silence, and then took my mother in his arms, and kissed her.
As my mother was nearing the end of her pregnancy, the guesthouse on the Pierce's property became inhabited. "It really isn't a house," my father insisted, "It was a barn, but one summer Dad and I fixed it up so that my Aunts and Uncles could come and visit for long periods of time. It is carpeted and there is heat, and running water."
"It doesn't matter," the man said as he pulled himself out of a taxicab one afternoon, and we were all there to greet him.
"BJ," my mother said as she hugged the man, "It is great to see you again."
"Margaret, you are looking fantastic," he said.
"You are too sweet, really I wish I could look fantastic at almost nine months."
"Hawk, Margaret," BJ said to them as he helped the rest of his family out of the cab, "This is my lovely wife, Peg, and our daughter, Erin."
"Peg," my father said, "I have heard so much about you and Erin."
"And I," the woman said in a shy yet kind voice, "Have heard everything about you at least twenty-five times, and Doctor Pierce-,"
"Please, Peg," my father said, "It's Hawkeye, no one calls me Doctor Pierce."
"All right then," Peg said, "Hawkeye, I am forever indebted to you for taking such good care of BJ. He wouldn't have made it through without you."
"You're welcome, of course," my father said confused, "but I really didn't do anything. We took care of each other."