Chapter 27 - Beautiful Dawn

March 31, 1955

Dear Lorraine,

It was good to see you in Tokyo, however brief our visit. You look wonderful and your Lieutenant Colonel Fitsimmons is a real Marlon Brando...hubba hubba! I hope you have better luck with your lieutenant colonel than I had with mine. Thanks for the picture and the card.

Yumee loves the little kimono you sent. She looks like an Oriental doll in it.

We have been home in Crabapple Cove now for almost two weeks. My mother is going to have that child so spoiled. Although I think Dad and Hawkeye run a close second to her in the spoiling department.

I'm thinking of quitting my job. Doris says I can come back any time but I think I'd like to stay home and be a mommy for a while. After going halfway around the world to adopt her, I'm just not in a hurry to leave her with a sitter on a regular basis.

Listen to me, would you. I don't sound anything like Major Margaret Houlihan, regular army. But there was always that American dream of home and family inside me. I guess that's why I wasted so much time on that idiot Frank Burns. He had a private practice and I thought if he'd just leave his wife and marry me that I'd have it all. I won't even address the other jerk in my life.

Speaking of marriage...you'll never guess who got married! Remember how my mother and Hawkeye's father were at each other's throats the week of the wedding? Of all the surprises that we've had lately, that's the big one! While we were in Korea, those two eloped!

Now Hawkeye and I both have a mother and a father. Hawkeye's mom died when he was only ten. He and his dad have always been close. My mom and Hawkeye got off to kind of a rocky start but part of that's my fault. I couldn't stand him when we were first in Korea together and I didn't write very nice things home about him.

As they say, war makes for strange bedfellows ...And the Korean War did indeed bring some of the strangest together. Four years ago there was no way I would have ever chosen someone like Hawkeye for a life partner. But then I'm sure he wouldn't have chosen me, either.

I am so happy, Lorraine. I have a home, a family and real parents. I don't want to be disrespectful of my father's memory, but Daniel Pierce is more of a father than the colonel ever was.

I must end here as Yumee is waking up from her nap.

Take care of yourself and please let me know when you and Paul set the date.

All my love,

Everything looks better from the topside of a horse, thought Sherman Potter. He patted his horse's neck.

"You're a good girl, Lucy," he said. He could tell that they were going to be good friends. Radar knew his animals and he'd hand picked Lucy for him.

He thought about his friends who had given him Lucy. Best damn people I ever worked with, he thought. He was going to do his blessed best to keep in touch with each and every one of them.

Sherman chuckled when he thought about the changes in Winchester. He'd always known that under that 'hoi polloi' exterior there was a real person. He'd seen glimpses of that in Korea.

Soon-Lee and Klinger were in the process of buying a house in the suburbs of Toledo. The tough street kid decided that he didn't want his son to be just like his dear old dad.

It was still a wonder to Sherman that Soon-Lee's folks had turned up the way they had. He would always cherish the memory of that reunion. Figure the odds, he thought. That's one horse he never would have placed bets on.

The sun was beginning to set on the horizon.

"Come on, Lucy, girl, let's ride off into the sunset."

"Look, Walter," said Patty. "Jenny's sitting up!"

Radar sat down on the rug next to his daughter and played peek-a-boo with her. She fell over in a fit of giggles. Radar laughed and said, "At least we both lived through it."

Patty looked puzzled at his statement.

Mary O'Reilly laughed and said, "Walter's daddy was a whole lot older than me and the first time he played peek-a-boo with Walter he had a heart attack and died.

"Oh, I'm so sorry," said Patty, stifling the urge to giggle. "Walter, do you know what? We need to send a card out to Hawkeye and Margaret. Their first wedding anniversary is coming up."

"I'll make sure it gets sent out," said Radar in company clerk fashion.

Patty crawled over to where Radar and the baby were still playing and kissed them both. "I'm glad you are both alive and well," she giggled.

"How is Yumee taking to her new home," asked BJ.

"She's already discovered Saturday morning television," laughed Hawkeye. "I wish you could see this. She's sitting on the couch in her jammies, watching Howdy Doody. She's holding that teddy bear, in fact she doesn't go anywhere without it. She so cute."

"It sounds pretty similar to the picture here," laughed BJ. "Ben's all over the place now that he's walking. He really keeps Peg on her toes. He's into everything. I wonder if Erin was like this at the same age," he said wistfully. "I'll never get that time back."

"No," said Hawkeye. "Look on the bright side, Beej. She's only three and has lots of 'firsts' ahead of her; first day of school, first missing tooth, first date..."

Both men fell silent at the thought of one day not being the most important man in their daughters' lives.

"Um...right," said BJ.

"Yeah...right," echoed Hawkeye.

"How are the newlyweds doing," asked BJ

"They're doing very well," said Hawkeye, "I still can't believe my Dad eloped. I mean I think it's great. Dad has been a widower a long time. But Margaret's mother? That's one for the books. Last year he was ready to roll her over Niagara Falls in rusty bucket."

"Look at you, Hawk," laughed BJ. "You and Margaret weren't exactly likely candidates for the altar when I first met you. In fact I think you two could be written up in Ripley's Believe It or Not"

"True," agreed Hawkeye.

"So are you doing anything special for your anniversary?"

"I guess I should make some plans."

"Word of advice, Hawkeye. Your anniversary is not something you are allowed to forget and live. I'd better go help Peg do some cleaning. Her family is due in from Oklahoma to celebrate Ben's first birthday."

"That is coming up, isn't it? How could I forget that? Be sure to tell Floyd hello for me. Give Ben a kiss from Uncle Hawkeye and Auntie Margaret.

"So Hawkeye, tell me how you're doing," said Sidney.

"Sidney, I thought this was a friendly lunch," laughed Hawkeye. "You sound like you're ready to do analysis."

Sidney was in Boston visiting a patient at the hospital so he'd called Hawkeye to see if he could meet him for lunch.

"Sorry, Hawkeye, I've been in sessions all morning. It's an occupational hazard. So how are you doing? How is Margaret?"

"We're very happy, Sidney. I never thought it possible. I spent years running after women and running from marriage. And the one that I finally did marry would have been my last choice," Hawkeye laughed.

"Life has a way of happening when we least expect it," said Sidney.

"Sigmund Freud?"

"Grandma Freedman."

Hawkeye laughed and then looked Sidney in the eye, "Sidney, thank you for helping us make it through this year. Losing that baby nearly killed Margaret. I don't know how we would have made it through without you. You always seem to be there when I need someone to lean on."

"I'll send you my bill," laughed Sidney. "Seriously Hawkeye, you and Margaret were the ones that ultimately helped yourselves. I just happened to be there to keep you from killing each other in the process...So, tell me, how is it being a father?"

"There's nothing like it in the world. I would do anything for that little girl."

"Welcome to the club," said Sidney. "I feel the same way about Aaron and Jeff...and Rivka, they're my heart and my soul...And you're doing well with the new stepmother?"

Hawkeye laughed, "Well, she was already the old mother in law so there's not much difference, other than the fact that she's sleeping with my father of course. Truthfully, Rose is good for Dad and I think he's good for her."

Sidney picked up his glass and said, "To home, hearth and family."

"Cheers," said Hawkeye.

"Maybe I should call," said Margaret looking nervously at her watch.

"Margaret, Yumee is fine. Both of our parents have raised children. The three of them are probably sitting on the couch right now watching "I Love Lucy" and eating popcorn."

"It's just that this is the first time I've been away from her," said Margaret.

"Mrs. Pierce, do I need to remind you that this is our first anniversary? Yumee will be okay without you for a few hours."

"Would you be Mrs. B.F. Pierce?" asked the hostess.

"Yes, I am."

The hostess handed Margaret a vase with a dozen red roses and a card. "Happy Anniversary, Ma'am." Margaret looked at Hawkeye and grinned.

"Don't look at me, I have no idea where this came from."

Margaret opened the card and read,

"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight."
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

"Thank you for being my wife
And turning my nightmares into a dream come true!"

Margaret's eyes glistened as tears spilled over on her cheeks. "You romantic sweetheart." she kissed him.

The band began to play "The Anniversary Waltz."

"May I have this dance, Mrs. Pierce?"

He held her in his arms as they danced and sang softly in her ear, "Oh how we danced, on the night we were wed, we vowed our true love though a word wasn't said..."

Margaret leaned her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes as they whirled around the dance floor. Hawkeye continued to sing to her. She remembered how his singing used to annoy her. Now she felt safe and cared for in the circle of his arms. His voice was as sweet to her as his touch.

"...Two hearts gently beating one murmuring blow, My Darling, I love you so."

"I love you, Captain," she whispered.

"I love you, Major."

"Don't cry, sweetheart," murmured Margaret in her sleep. She reached over to put her arm around Hawkeye but felt only an empty pillow. Her eyes opened. She turned on the lamp by the bed and looked at the clock that told her it was five o'clock in the morning. She thought she knew where he might be.

Yumee was crying in her sleep. Margaret knelt by her bed. The child opened her eyes and wrapped her arms around Margaret's neck.

"Wet," said Yumee.

"Let's put dry clothes on you and then Mommy wants to show you something."

Margaret put some dry pajamas on the girl and then bundled her up and proceeded outside.

Margaret made her way with Yumee in her arms down to the beach. She'd been right on target. Hawkeye stood on the beach looking out at the ocean.

"Did you have a nightmare?" asked Margaret.

"No," he said with a smile. "Actually I had a very good dream last night and my two best girls were in it. I woke up early and decided to come watch the sunrise."

Yumee hugged Margaret's neck tightly and said, "Mommy."

Margaret said, "Hawkeye, that's the first time she's ever called me 'Mommy!'"

The child turned in Margaret's arms and reached for Hawkeye and said, "Daddy."

Hawkeye reached out and took Yumee in his arms and kissed her. In the pale morning light Margaret could see the tears trickling down his cheeks.

The sun began to peek up over the horizon.

"Look Yumee," said Hawkeye. "That's the sunrise."

"Sunwise," repeated the child.

Margaret kissed Yumee, looking out at the rising ball of light reflecting on the water, she whispered, "Beautiful Dawn."


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