Chapter 16 - Home for the Holidays
"Here Soon-Lee, let's put mustard on that and some onions and peppers."
Max was showing Soon-Lee the finer points of eating Hungarian hot dogs at Tony Packo's. This food was like nothing she'd ever had before. She looked around. Everything was so different in America. But it was her husband's country and she knew he hadn't been happy in Korea.
Soon-Lee sighed. She'd had her heart set on finding her parents. She hoped and prayed that one day she would see them again. Max had tried so hard. He was a good husband and she loved him with all of her heart. She knew he would be a good father. She loved being married to him. He made her laugh.
"Max, baby is kicking me...here, you feel," she took his hand and placed it on her belly.
He smiled at her. "That's my son," he said confidently. "It has to be a boy with that much force behind the kick. I can't wait to take him bowling."
"Max," she laughed, "this baby could be girl baby."
"Then I can show her how a lady should dress."
Soon-Lee laughed. She hadn't known him when he wore dresses but she had seen pictures.
"But if it is boy baby you not put him in dress!"
The Klingers had spent the day shopping. Soon-Lee needed American clothes he said. She was wearing one of the new maternity outfits that they had bought. It was a smock top with a pair of maternity pants. She kept looking at herself in the windows of the stores they passed.
"I look like American mother, yes Max?"
"Yes, sweetheart you do. You are the most beautiful American mother I've ever seen."
"I am, how you say, a real himdunger?"
Max laughed, "I think you mean humdinger and yes you are!"
For Max's family it was love at first sight with Soon-Lee. The challenge was the language barrier. Max's mother didn't speak English...but the two women liked each other from the start. Mrs. Klinger was happy that her son had found such a lovely wife and she was excited at the prospect of having a new grandchild. She could rest now that her beloved son was no longer in Korea.
Soon-Lee felt like she'd found a home.
"What do you think, Sherman?" asked Mildred as she put the last few decorations on the tree.
"I'd say this tree is the kipper's knickers!" he said and kissed her.
"I've already got some presents to go under the tree. I'm looking forward to having family for Christmas," said Mildred. "Patty and Walter are coming over the day after Christmas so it will be like having two family dinners. I can't wait to see the baby. I'll bet she's grown since we've seen her."
"Welcome home!" cried Rose as Hawkeye and Margaret walked in the door. She had made a banner and put it over the fireplace in the front room.
Margaret looked around the room as if she were seeing it for the first time. When she'd walked out the door four weeks ago she'd been on her way to dinner in Boston. The last time she'd walked out the door she'd been pregnant with her first child. The last time she'd walked out the door she'd been so high the moon couldn't touch her.
Rose had decorated the Christmas tree which stood in front of the bay window. There were already many presents under it.
Margaret said flatly, "It all looks beautiful, Mom."
Hawkeye said, "It really is nice. You didn't have to do all of this, Rose."
"Yes I did. I love decorating. And please, Hawkeye...to you it's 'Mom.'"
"Yes...Mom," Hawkeye said it but it felt strange. He hadn't called anyone Mom since he was ten years old. But then again, he'd never had a mother in law before.
Daniel came in behind them, trying to maneuver the plants and flowers they'd received during their hospital stay.
"Here, Dad, let me help you," said Hawkeye.
"You sit down...you've still got some recuperating time left. You doctors are all alike. You make the worst patients!"
"And everything I know I learned from my dad."
Rose was going to stay with them for another month. Daniel thought it was a good idea since he would be working at the clinic. He didn't think that it was a good idea for Margaret, in particular, to be left alone.
Daniel felt that he'd taken enough time away from his patients. Fortunately during his time away there hadn't been any major emergencies. The worst thing that had happened was that Danny Wilder had broken his arm falling out of a tree. Daniel's new assistant, Dr. Matthews kept things running smoothly.
Dr. Matthews was fresh out of residency in Portland. He really wanted to be a general practitioner. Daniel had hoped that Hawkeye would one day take over his practice but that was not to be. He'd accepted the fact that his son was a surgeon who felt that his skills were wasted at the clinic.
It was, in fact, Hawkeye who had referred Dr. Paul Matthews to Daniel. Hawkeye had been impressed with the skill and compassion that the younger doctor had. He decided that it was the least he could do since he himself wasn't going to be his father's assistant.
Daniel chuckled. At least for a short time people would be able to tell Danny and Donny, the Wilder twins apart.
Rose took some of the plants from Daniel and placed them around the room.
"I've always enjoyed plants. They brighten a room," said Rose as cheerfully as she could. "Don't you think so Margaret?"
"Whatever you say, Mom," said Margaret who was sitting on the couch, staring out the window. Rose was worried about her daughter. She was usually so vibrant, loud and opinionated. Since the accident she'd become pale, quiet and withdrawn.
"Margaret," said Hawkeye. "Would you like to go lie down? You look tired. As a matter of fact, I'm tired...I'll come with you."
She gave him a small but grateful smile. "Yes, I think I'd like that."
Daniel watched as the two slowly ascended the stairs to their room. Both of them were still tender from their surgeries and the accident. He knew they were hurting and not just from the physical injuries.
"Why don't I fix us a nice lunch?" said Rose.
"Why don't you sit down and take a rest, Rose," said Daniel, patting the cushion on the couch next to him. "You've been running yourself ragged." Then he added gently, "She'll be all right, she just needs some time to heal."
Rose looked at Daniel, surprised by his sensitivity. "Mind Reader," she said. She sat and leaned her head on his shoulder.
Hawkeye was washing his hands when he heard Margaret's cry. It sounded like the cry of a wounded animal. He rushed out of the bathroom.
"Margaret, what is it?"
She picked up a Macy's bag from the corner of the room. She pulled out the contents: a baby blanket, a little pair of pajamas and a teddy bear. She'd been so excited when she found out that she was expecting that she'd gone shopping for baby things on her way home that Friday.
Margaret held the bear to her and sobbed. Hawkeye sat on the bed next to her and held her. She buried her head in his chest. He felt helpless and heartbroken as well. He buried his face in her hair and they cried together until they'd exhausted all their tears.
"Hawkeye, telephone! It's BJ."
It was now late afternoon on Christmas day. Margaret and Hawkeye sat on the leather couch in the study. The fire was warm and inviting. Hawkeye hated to get up to answer the phone. He kissed Margaret who sat staring into the fire, not moving. Hawkeye sighed. He missed his wife. Her body was here but her mind seemed to have taken flight.
"Hi Beej, Merry Christmas!"
"Merry Christmas, Hawk. How's your holiday going?"
"Hawk, you want to try that one again? What's going on?"
"Nothing, Beej...everything's okay. How are the kids? Are they having a good Christmas?"
"Oh yeah. Erin's got the front room covered with toys. Santa Clause brought her a doll house."
"Yeah, I'll bet Santa Clause was up all night putting it together, too," said Hawkeye, "What was the squeal I just heard."
"Ben's getting into the doll house and Erin's not too happy about it. He's so cute. He's just at that age where he's crawling and pulling himself up on things."
BJ listened for a reply from Hawkeye.
"Hawkeye," BJ said, "How is Margaret doing?"
"This holiday has been really tough for her. She's been just sitting and staring into space. She's scaring me, Beej. I've had a breakdown and I don't wish that on anyone, particularly when that anyone happens to be my wife."
BJ didn't know what to say. He could hear the sadness in Hawkeye's voice.
"How's your dad?"
"Oh Dad's doing really well. Rose has been here since we got home from the hospital. So it's like having our own live-in housekeeper."
"I thought she drove your dad crazy."
"Yeah...about that, it seems that she hasn't been getting on his nerves quite so much."
"Are you thinking...?"
"Yeah, could be...those crazy kids."