"I hereby pronounce you man and wife," Father Mulcahy announced with uncontainable pleasure. "You may now kiss the bride."
The crowd cheered as Hawkeye flipped Margaret onto her back and kissed her passionately. The kiss went on and on, seemingly without end; B.J. and Charles stood uncomfortably beside the couple, impatiently waiting for the kiss to end, just as they had when Hawkeye and Margaret kissed each other goodbye before they left the 4077. Their actions contained a certain element of humor that was obvious solely to Colonel Potter, and the former C.O.'s face turned beet red as he tried to hold back his laughter. B.J. and Charles noticed Potter's reaction, and they too became overcome with the urge to burst into hysterics. But they were able to hold their laughter in till Hawkeye and Margaret finally came up for air. "Wow," was all Hawkeye could manage to say as he stared lovingly at his bride. "We did it Margaret."
"We sure did."
Later, after the wedding and after the reception, the former members of the MASH 4077 gathered in a good sized tent in Hawkeye's backyard for a combined reunion and wedding celebration. That tent was, of course, the Swamp. It was complete with old run-down army cots and chairs from the surplus store in Augusta; a small army - issue table or two; a stove Daniel had found down at the dump; and a still made from medical supplies, which Hawkeye and B.J. had thrown together a few days earlier. To top the whole thing off, the hand painted sign with the name of the tent graced the front door. "I just can't believe you drug this old thing home with you Hawkeye," Trapper exclaimed of the Swamp with a laugh. "I never thought I'd see it again. I really didn't. And as many horrors as it bring back, there are twice as many good times in this place. And look at it! Its perfect! The cots, the stove, the tables and chairs, the sign on the door, even the still! Do you remember when we first moved into this thing? You said it was the messiest, trashiest dump you ever saw, and we figured that since we'd be living in it for a month or so, it should have a name. I wanted the Swamp, I can't remember what you wanted, but it was terrible. Luckily I won, so we painted the sign. I think we were drunk when we did it, from the looks of it." Trapper took a swig of the home made gin. "Damn, this stuff's just as nasty as the rat poison we made, Hawkeye."
"That's because we followed the same nasty recipe," Hawkeye laughed. "And as for the tent being here, Beej and I decided that one day we were going to have one hell of a reunion, and what better place to hold it in than our old tent? The Colonel managed to get the Swamp a permanent discharge to the states, so home it came. But when we packed it up we never dreamed we'd be using if for my 4077th-members-only-wedding-reception, did we Beej?"
B.J. shook his head. "Sure didn't. But am I ever glad that's what we're using it for! I'm still trying to get over the shock of hearing you propose to Margaret."
"So am I," Margaret piped up. "I never thought either one of us would ever realize that we love each other, and if by some chance we did, I never thought Hawkeye would have the guts to propose."
"Hey, I'm not as soft as you think," Hawkeye offered. "I'm actually a very gutsy guy. It comes from drinking all this lighter fluid."
"Hah!' scoffed Winchester. "Which is precisely why I brought along this." He produced a bottle of cognac, and a bottle of fine scotch. "I would have had an armed guard to keep this out of your hands in Korea, Pierce, but how about a toast to the bride and groom?"
"Why Charles!" exclaimed Hawkeye. "How kind of you! There may be hope for you yet, Ebenezer. Hand me those glasses, Max."
Klinger passed a few rock glasses to Father Mulcahy, who handed then to Radar, who gave them to Potter, who finally delivered them to Hawkeye. "Here you go, Colonel," Hawkeye said as he filled a glass and handed it to his former C.O.
"Thank you Hawkeye. This is mighty fine stuff Winchester. I wish I'd had some of this in my foot locker at the 4077, it would have come in handy."
"Father?" Hawkeye asked as he poured another glass.
"Of course. I've hardly had a drop of liquor since Korea, but for this occasion I'll go off the wagon."
"No thanks Hawkeye, I never did like that stuff much."
Hawkeye nodded, having expected this reaction from his young friend. "Well, just for you, I have something a little softer. Here, catch. But don't open it right away, you wouldn't want to spill stuff all over our lovely little spread here." Hawkeye tossed a glass bottle across the tent and Radar caught it neatly.
"Hey, Grape Nehi!" he exclaimed eagerly. "Thanks Hawkeye."
"We've got a whole case of it back here reserved for the minors, or at least those with minor taste. Max?"
Klinger stood half way up, leaned over and took a filled rock glass from Hawkeye's hand.
"And for my beautiful bride. Better drink up while you can, if I have my way you'll soon be abstaining from spirits for nine months."
Margaret shot Hawkeye a reprimanding smile as she accepted the glass of scotch.
"Cognac for everybody's favorite pompous ass, and one of my better ushers," Hawkeye said as he handed Charles a drink.
"Thank you Pierce."
"Thank you, Charles. And finally for my two favorite drinking partners and partners in crime." Hawkeye handed both B.J. and Trapper drinks.
"To Hawkeye, Margaret, and the kids Hawkeye seems to be so eager to have," B.J. proposed, and nine glasses clinked together.
"To the 4077, the hell hole that brought us all together," Potter proposed, and once again the sound of clanging glass filled the tent.
When Trapper swallowed his swig of brandy, he took his stab at a toast. "To B.J., Radar, and Klinger for being responsible for my being here. I owe you guys."
"And to whichever Korean tailor did that suit of yours, Trap," Hawkeye added.
"And to the manufacturer of Hawkeye's shirt," Klinger piped up.
"Anything else to be added to this toast?" asked Trapper, and when everybody shook their heads the glasses crashed together once more.
"Any more toasts?" B.J. asked. "My glass isn't quite finished off yet."
"I've got one," Margaret piped up. "To Trapper. Trapper, I know I treated you terribly in Korea, and I'm sorry. I got over my hate for you a long time ago. You don't know how excited I was when I noticed you standing there with B.J. and Charles and Radar and Klinger. To our friendship?"
Trapper smiled and nodded. "To our friendship. No more mean jokes, I promise." The two touched their glasses together and each took a long sip of brandy.
"I've got one more toast to make," B.J. announced. "Actually it's more of an announcement to make, but since I still haven't finished my drink we can turn it into a toast."
"What is it?" Radar asked, his curiosity brimming.
"Well, Peg and I have spent the past couple of weeks here in Crabapple Cove helping to get ready for the wedding and everything," B.J. began. "I may have neglected my duties as a captain in the United States Army, but I'd never neglect my duties as best man. But we've been here a while, and we've been thinking. Since I got back from the war, all I've really felt like doing is taking it easy and being a good husband and a good father and a good surgeon who takes the time to get to know his patients. I could probably manage to do that in San Francisco, but both Peg and I are suddenly tired of the big city now that we know what small town life is like. We want a quieter, more personal place to raise our kids. Hawkeye, you don't know this, but I've been talking to the director at Crabapple Cove General, and it seems that they can use another doctor, another surgeon. Peg and I talked it over, and I've decided to take the job. The plan is to be all settled in somewhere in Crabapple Cove by the time the baby arrives."
An expression of shock dominated the faces of everyone in the tent. "Are you serious Beej? Are you really coming to work at Crabapple Cove General?" Hawkeye demanded.
"Forget about the job at the hospital!" Margaret exclaimed. "What was that about 'By the time the baby arrives'? Do you and Peg have something to tell the rest of us?"
B.J. nodded. "Erin's going to have a little brother or sister in a little less than eight months. He, or she, will be the first Hunnicutt native to Crabapple Cove."
Everyone exploded into cheers and they all descended on B.J. at once, congratulating him. Hawkeye pounced happily on his best friend. "You mean we're actually going to be co-workers again? Actually live in the same town? And Peg's pregnant? You know Margaret and I are going to try to have a kid just a couple of months younger that yours, and if you don't name yours after me I won't name mine after you."
"I'm happy for you son," Potter declared. "It takes a lot of guts to leave a nice job in a big city hospital to go for what you really want, especially with a little one on the way."
"B.J., you don't know how happy I am for you and Peg," Margaret exclaimed. "I'm almost as excited about the baby as you are, and there aren't two other people in the world I would rather have for neighbors."
"Hey B.J., I can show you a great diapering technique," Klinger offered.
"You can demonstrate in eight months," B.J. shot back.
Trapper slapped his new friend on the back. "I don't know you real well yet B.J., but I know you're a great guy, and I've seen you with Erin. That baby doesn't know how lucky it is yet."