Oct. 22nd: 0800 hours
My dear Honoria,
Thank you for sending me the wool cap and scarf. They have arrived at the right time. Every night, the temperature here drops another degree or two. We have been informed that rain and bitter cold will arrive soon. I am not looking forward to spending the winter in this wretched camp.
I'm glad you like the photographs I sent to you. Why am I smiling so much in the one taken of me in the Swamp? Because Sarabeth was taking my picture at the same time that she was telling me some outrageous tall tale. It was difficult to keep a straight face.
As the other pictures indicate, we are still switching those signs on the signpost back and forth. We've given up nailing them. Instead, Sarabeth attached wires to the back of each board so we could hang them on the nails. They're easier to exchange, now.
I told Sarabeth I was sending those photographs to show you what a Texan looked liked. She laughed that delightful laugh of hers and said it was about time I educated you in the important things in life. She did not intend that as an insult, by the way.
Sarabeth teases me all the time that Yankees aren't being taught the right information. She says we should be taught things like...why the Alamo is so important...and how to brand cattle...and, what to do if a skunk crawls into your sleeping bag. On the other hand, I tell her what her Texas education is lacking: what to wear to the opera, which wine should be served with baked fish and where to walk on the Commons.
Do not think that I'm implying that she is ignorant, by any means! Despite their rural surroundings, her parents have always encouraged, and expected, their children to learn everything they could on a variety of global topics. Sarabeth has regaled me with the lively discussions her family has participated in for years around their 'supper' table. (In contrast, I am reminded of the deafening silences that reigned at our family dining experiences.)
A working ranch hand since she was five years old; Sarabeth has had to help raise cattle, repair barbed wire fences, bale hay, tend a garden, milk cows---all types of work that I've never thought about---or even knew existed. Her earlier life was certainly a far cry from the tennis lessons, symphony concerts and polo matches of my youth.
It is amazing to me that two people, from entirely different backgrounds, can have so many things in common. And yet, we can sit and talk for hours and never run out of things to say.
I feel so comfortable around her. I enjoy being with her. I like to listen to her voice and to her laugh. I like to make her smile. I'm even beginning to enjoy her puns. (I shall deny having made that statement, however.)
I like her, Honoria. So very much. She's one of the few people I consider a true friend.
Unfortunately, I'm about to lose this wonderful friend. Her three week grace period is almost over. She has not been given enough time for that ankle to heal. Hunnicutt has examined it every day. He's taken x-rays every time he's had to replace her cast. The prognosis is not good.
She has to stand on that foot for hours and hours while in the operating room. Margaret Houlihan keeps her busy the rest of the time. And Sarabeth pushes herself too hard---trying to convince Margaret to allow her to stay at the 4077th.
Every one knows that when Margaret returns from her medical conference in four days, Sarabeth will be shipped out. I may not be able to prevent her transfer but I can give her something to remember the Yankee surgeon who likes her smile.
I have a favor to ask of you, sweet sister. I would like for you to go to the jewelers where I purchase jewelry for you and Mother. Ask for Mr. Gilbert. Tell him I want him to create a pendant---about two inches long, made of good quality gold, with emeralds, sapphires and diamonds. I also want a gold chain, with a safety latch, to accompany the piece. The design is very important: I want it to be a Texas bluebonnet.
This is the hard part, Honoria. I do not know what a bluebonnet looks like. Sarabeth has tried to describe it to me but I can not visualize this flower. Have Father talk to our Congressman. And have him contact the Congressman from Texas. Surely, he has an example of a bluebonnet that we may acquire.
You'll have to supervise the design and manufacture of this piece. Remember, I want some tasteful and elegant...something special for a special lady.
I realize this will be expensive. Contact my accountants for the funds you require. I want this pendant as soon as possible. Offer a bonus, if you must. Only if you must, however.
I know this is not something that you are used to handling. I have confidence in your abilities, however. I am very proud of you. You are a wonderful and talented lady.
I met one of Sarabeth's brothers the other day. Seeing how much he worries about her safety has made me realize how lucky I am to have you safe at home. I love you, Honoria. And I miss you.
Take care of yourself. And Mother and Father, as well.
Your loving brother,