Author's Note: This is for Rachael! You are my inspiration for this story, and I can only see you playing the oboe solo (yes, there is an oboe solo!). I hope you enjoy the story, and get out of it what I was trying to describe. Please let me know what you think and please, please, please let me know if you hear the music!!!
Time had taken its toll on Sherman Potter. He had been back in Missouri for five years. It was the longest time he had been in one place for many years. Korea, his last military tour had made the once youthful and energetic man tired. Mildred, his dear wife took wonderful care of her dear colonel. It had been years since they were together, and she wanted to make up for lost time.
"I brought the mail in, dear," Sherman Potter said smiled as he came in from his daily walk to the mailbox at the edge of their farm. "What is this?" He thought out loud, as he opened a hand written envelope with no return address. There were two ticket to the Boston Symphony inside, and a handwritten note. The penmanship was somewhat familiar to Sherman, yet the origin was unknown.
"Dear Sherman," it read, "Please bring Mildred to Boston for this extraordinary concert." Sherman thought it was odd that no one had signed the letter.
Sherman was till unsure of the of the free tickets, a week later, and called the box office in Boston. The woman on the phone assured him that it was no mistake. He and seven others along with a guest each were to be treated as VIPs the night of the concert. She told him there was no doubt in her mind that the group would have the best seats in the house.
More assured, yet still very confused, Sherman and Mildred Potter went to Boston the next month. "You look very handsome, Sherm," Mildred complimented her husband's rented tuxedo, as the two were preparing to go to the concert.
"You my darling," Sherman said to his wife in a red beaded dress, "Look spectacular."
With their arms linked the older couple walked across the street from their hotel to the symphony hall. "You must be Sherman and Mildred Potter," the usher said as they handed the their mysterious tickets to him. "The rest of the group is awaiting your arrival. Follow me, please."
They slowly climbed a flight of stairs to a very spacious, and very chic box. As the couple peered in Sherman was shocked at the company.
"Colonel Potter," Margaret Houlihan in a long black evening gown said and embraced the man.
"Margaret?" Sherman blinked his eyes, "Hawkeye? Radar? BJ? Father Mulcahy? Klinger?" It was Sherman Potter's family from the 4077th MASH and with their civilian families mingling before the concert. "Why are you all here?" Colonel Potter asked.
"I got a letter in the mail with two tickets asking me to bring Peg to Boston," BJ said. "We weren't going to come, but at the last minute I didn't have to work, and Peg's parents were in town to watch Erin and Michael so we decided to come." BJ smiled, "Peg, this is Sherman Potter, our CO from Korea."
"Hello, Sherman," the short woman in a blue said.
"Oh Peg," he smiled, "I have heard so many wonderful things about you. Now, who is this Michael you spoke of?"
"Michael is our three year old son," BJ's cleanly shaven face beamed.
"Ma and I got tickets in the mail, too," said Radar O'Reilly who looked every so much more like a man than he did in Korea.
"As did I at the deaf school that I run," Father Mulcahy said, self-consciously touching his hearing aids.
"When Soon-Lee and I arrived home from Korea with her parents about three weeks ago there were tickets waiting," Klinger said.
"So you're back in Toledo?" Margaret asked.
"Yes," Klinger said. "It was one of the happiest days of my life, and Soon-Lee had found her parents. It was terrific, Major."
"Oh no," Margaret said. "It is not Major anymore. It hasn't been since I left Korea," Margaret said with a twinkle in her eye. "I find that my rank as mother is much more satisfying then Major."
"Mother?" Klinger asked.
"Yes," Margaret smiled it seemed that only one person in the room caught her smile. "This is the first time I've left home since Matthew was born eight months ago. He is bonding with his grandfather."
"Margaret?" Sherman asked, "You have a son?"
"Yes," Margaret said.
"Do you have a husband?" Radar asked.
"Yes, Radar," Margaret said a tad annoyed, "Normally the deal is, you get the husband first and then the baby."
"Who is the man blessed enough to have your hand, Margaret?" Sherman asked. "I hope he is better than Donald."
"Oh, Colonel," Margaret smiled, "We are both very happy." No one seemed to notice that BJ Hunnicutt and Hawkeye Pierce were both on the verge of laughing.
"Is he here tonight?" Sherman asked.
"Yes," Hawkeye answered.
"So you have met him Hawk?" Sherman asked. "Is he worthy of Margaret? How has your life been?"
"Yes, I have met him, and I don't think Margaret could have done much better if she married BJ Hunnicutt," Hawkeye told Sherman. Which relieved the old man. He had thought about Hawkeye many times since they had left Korea. Sherman always worried about his mental health and knew of his strong feelings towards Margaret. He hoped that Hawkeye hadn't been too crushed when he met Margaret's husband.
"Margaret," Sherman Potter asked, "When do I get to meet him?"
"You have," Margaret said taking her husband, Benjamin Franklin Pierce's hand.
"You and Pierce?" Sherman laughed, "Holy horse hockey! I have always hoped that you too would find your way to each other. I could only intervene so much."
"We were married in the town hall," Margaret said. "Only Daniel, and my parents and Beej and his family were there. It will be five years next month."
"We've only been out of Korea five years," Father Mulcahy pointed out.
"Today is the anniversary of the cease fire," Sherman reminded them.
"Yeah," Hawkeye said. "I realized that I couldn't live without her. It hurt so much when we left I had the chopper land at the 8063rd. Charles and Margaret hadn't even gotten there. I lent my hands and did what I could."
"I was so surprised when I saw him there," Margaret said, "I nearly fainted. Then he came up to me, and we kissed again. He told me that he loved me, and knelt down in the middle of the compound, and proposed," Margaret shared. "I couldn't say no. I had come to love this man, and I didn't want to lose him."
The lights began to dim as the friends of the 4077th MASH began to bombard Margaret and Hawkeye with questions. As they took their seats an all too familiar man walked onto the stage. Charles Emerson Winchester the third, who now sported a beard walked to the microphone set at center stage.
"Good evening," Charles welcomed the full house. His aristocratic Bostonian accent added a rich flare to his sharp tuxedo. "I would like to thank you all for coming out this evening. Tonight's concert is very special for me." Charles looked up to the box where the 4077th was sitting. "Five years ago I came home from a tour of duty in Korea. When I was sent to the front, I fully expected to be at a hospital in Tokyo for my service. How things change. I was sent to a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, which was very close to and sometimes actually the front line." Charles stopped for a moment. "Five years ago tonight, I was sitting in a mess tent with the people who I worked so closely with, they had become as close to me as my family in Boston. We were having a final meal together, and sharing our plans for the future. When the time came for me to share with them, I of course told them that I would be returning home to Boston, where a position as chief of thoracic surgery was waiting for me at Boston Mercy. I also shared with them that music would never mean the same thing to me as it once was such a part of me. The reason being, I had taken a group of North Korean prisoners under my guidance, and I had the enemy playing Mozart. It was truly incredible. The prisoners were later killed when they were being transported. I left music behind in Korea for many months. That was until I slowly went into a state of depression and was institutionalized for a short period of time. It was then that I came to terms that music was my escape. I needed music. It was then that I started to compose and conduct." Charles stopped for a moment. "I have been working on a symphony for the last four and a half years, and tonight it is my great pleasure to conduct for you for the first time, "Korea." I would like to dedicate this to my family from the four oh seventy-seventh MASH, who meant the world to me, and did not know it. And every young man who served during this forgotten war. I would ask that you follow along with the movements. They are written in your program."
Hawkeye looked at his wife and held her hand. He had never thought that he could relate with Charles Emerson Winchester, but it now seemed that the two shared something from Korea-a temporary loss of their sanity. He looked at his program, which had a picture of the members of the 4077 on the front and read that title of the first movement 'Tokyo to Ouijongbou.'