by Angela Stevens
There was a knock on the screen door. "Mama, are you home?" "Oh, come in! Come in!" She cried. "The daughter looked at her mother with a look of concern. She appeared to be listening to the radio, but she had never seen anything on the radio give her mother such a look of joy. "The peace talks-" Her eyes widened. "Mama-" The older woman sank into a kitchen chair. "Your father -" "Mama, what happened to daddy?" "Listen." "With the start of the peace talks again, we hope this will be the beginning of the end. The end of the war, and a new beginning for Korea." Her daughter waved her hand. "Mama, we've heard this before." She grabbed her hand."It's different this time. I can feel it. Your father is coming home."
Mrs. Mildred Potted paced the floor, as she waited for the mailman, and then chided herself for being so foolish. She had been waiting for Sherman Potter for the better part of thirty years. What in tarnation was so important that it put her behind in her chores? There was that dress that needed to be mended. The ladies of her garden club had assured her it was a simply stunning frock. She wanted to look beautiful for her Sherman. Or she could bake that apple pie, but that might go stale before he made it back. She wanted to have a pie ready for him. She knew he'd have a hankering for something good. He always did when he came home.
She was so lost in thought; she almost missed the sight of the mailman at her box. She calmly walked out, and found two envelopes. One was the electric bill. The other was from her sister in Iowa. Ottumwa to be exact. It was amazing, but her sister's bridge partner had a son who had come from Sherman's unit. She had made a special point the last time she was visiting her sister to meet him. Radar O'Reily was a very charming young man, with a boyish smile, and gentle eyes hid behind his glasses.
Her eyes went to the painting Sherman had sent her for their anniversary. She had expected a Korean fan or a kimono perhaps. She could hardly wait to meet the people whose painting had a place of honor in her home. It would happen now. She had written him a letter of all the things they would do when he got home, and every one of those things would happen now too. Oh, there would be so much to do when her husband came home. Where would they start?
That was indeed a question that had occupied her mind for some time. It had been a week since the war had been declared over, and she hadn't heard a word. She had hardly dared to leave the house for fear he'd call while she was away. That was completely unlike him to not send her word. She pushed down the other fear. Why couldn't he? Was he hurt? She pushed it aside. She would know if something happened to her Sherman. As long as they had been married, and as much as they had been separated, she had developed an uncanny sixth sense.
She smiled as she remembered one time when Sherman had called. He had been shot she knew it. Yet he insisted nothing was wrong. When she had met Radar, he told her the whole story, and she had a good laugh. That dear man. He did so much to keep her from worrying.
Stepping out the door, she surveyed the land, bathed in the light of sunrise with an appreciation. However there wasn't much time to admire it. There was milk and eggs to gather. She was glad that soon her husband would help her. She went to get the horses their food, and petted Sherman's favorite. He missed Sherman as much as she did, she was certain. "He'll be home soon," she whispered in his ear. The horse whinnied in agreement. She stepped outside and surveyed the area around her with satisfaction. Nothing forgotten. Everything just as it should be.
She got the coffee on. Oh goodness gracious! She had forgotten about the cinnamon rolls in the oven! She had been nigh distracted lately. Out of the corner of her eye, she thought she saw the barn door open. Goodness she thought she had closed it. She stepped out of the back door, and for a moment she thought she was dreaming. There stood Sherman's horse. "I thought I left you in the stable," she laughed. "I thought we could go for a ride," Sherman said, stepping out from behind the other side of the horse. "Mildred," he cried, sweeping his wife up in a gigantic hug. "Sherman," she cried, looking into his eyes. She could hardly believe her husband was home. "I've missed you so much," he told her. "How come you didn't tell me?" she scolded playfully. "I must look a fright. My hair hasn't been done in a week. I meant to drop by the beauty parlor this afternoon and …" "Mildred, you're a sight for sore eyes, and I'm pleased as punch to be home."
She could scarcely believe her eyes. She had to reach out and touch him again, just to make sure she wasn't dreaming. "why didn't you tell me you were coming home?" "What? Didn't you get my letter?" "No." "I couldn't phone you because we had to bug out, and then after the end everything happened so fast. One minute I was operating, the next, I was on the first plane out of Honolulu to Missoura'" "No more sleepless nights," she said, reaching for his hand. "Not a single one," he promised squeezing her hand back.
"Mother, here's a letter for you from Daddy," she stopped, her eyes wide. She rushed to her father to give him a hug. "I was just about to call you," her mother said. "Yes, I don't suppose any of the children are with you. It's been a mite too long since I've been called Grandpa." "Oh, I'll bring them over right now," she said, leaving the mail she had retrieved on the table. "Well, I'll be. I beat it back," he said. They shared a laugh, and Mrs. Potter enjoyed it heartily. It was good to feel like Mrs. Sherman Potter again now that her Mr. Potter was home.