Suddenly a familiar voice pierced the air. "ATTENTION, ALL PERSONNEL..."
"Radar, you say 'incoming wounded' and I'll clock you." Trapper threatened the younger man seriously.
"...dinner is served." Radar concluded, shooting a mischievous look at Trapper.
"Let's just hope that these lovely ladies didn't send to Igor for any traditional 'M*A*S*H 4077th Recipes'." Hawkeye commented as he rose to his feet. "I don't think that my stomach could stand it." While the others laughed in agreement he turned to his wife an in a heavy French accent asked. " Madam may I escort you to the fine banquet table to see what kind of edibles these fine ladies have cooked up or would you like me to serve you here?"
"I'll come." Margaret replied with an amused smile. "After all, you'll have your hands full serving the girls."
"Ah, you irresistible fiend." He laughed softly as he helped her to her feet. "But won't it bother you to see me with two younger ladies who happen to be extremely cute. After all you know how hard it is for me to resist cute girls or for them to resist me for that matter."
"Ah, ha. Well, as long as their names are Rebecca and Elizabeth and their ages are 6 and 4, I'll take my chances." Margaret remarked, then giving him a sly look she jokingly grabbed the front of his shirt added. "But don't get any ideas about any other cute girls of any other name or age."
"How about one." His eyes twinkled lovingly. "A beautiful young girl name of Margaret, age...."
"Never mind." She cut him off, clamping a hand over his mouth to keep him from continuing.
"Party pooper." He mumbled against her hand. Causing her to laugh at him. Removing her hand she leaned forward and brushed a gentle kiss on his lips.
"Am I still a party pooper?" She teased as she pulled back slightly.
He looked thoughtful for a minute before replying. "I'm not sure. Let's try it again." Margaret merely smiled at him and stepped back.
"Don't you worry about the girls, son." Daniel commented as he came up beside the pair. "I'll look after them. You just take care of this beautiful wife of yours."
Hawkeye moved to stand between Margaret and his father. Putting an arm protectively around her waist he lifted his head hautily and peered down his nose at his father. In a snotty tone he demanded. "Excuse me sir, but are you making inappropriate passes at my wife?"
"Well, with a wife as beautiful as yours, who could resist." Daniel replied, accepting the bait that his son dangled in front of him.
"Why sir, if I were a Frenchman I'd slap you with my glove." Hawkeye retorted, his tone still haughty. "And if I had a glove I'd slap you even though I'm not a Frenchman."
"If you were a Frenchman Napoleon would turn over in his grave!" Daniel exclaimed, sticking his face almost in Hawkeye's. "And even if you weren't a Frenchman he would turn over in his grave because you likened yourself to a Frenchman." Hawkeye arched his neck back, widened his eyes and lifted his hand to place it inside the front of his shirt in imitation of Napoleon's famous posture. "How dare you sir! I have never been more insulted in my life."
"Don't look in the mirror often then do you?" Daniel shot back, his tone serious, but his eyes dancing in fun. A small crowd had gathered around the Pierces as they watched the little scene with great amusement.
"No, sir, they've all cracked from your repulsive reflection." Hawkeye spat out, his tone hostile but his eyes were mirroring his father's expression.
"At least I don't have the personality of a halfwit simpleton who doesn't know the meaning of the word 'laurustinus'." Daniel exclaimed.
Everyone around them looked at each other and repeated "Laurustinus?"
Charles, a puzzled look on his face piped up. "What does an evergreen winter-flowering shrub from the Mediterranean have to do with anything?"
"It doesn't." Daniel replied looking at Charles with mock seriousness. "I just threw that in there." The group chuckled heartily at the pair.
"Come on you two halfwit simpletons." Margaret chuckled as she pulled her husband towards the food table. "Let's get something to eat before it's all gone." As she started to load her plate she looked at the two men affectionately. "You two idiots, what am I going to do with you?"
Hawkeye looked at her for a moment and then leaned in a little closer. "Marry me." He said in a loud whisper.
She chuckled gently. "I already did that."
Hawkeye pretended to be surprised, as if her reply was a revelation. "That's right, you did." Then he shrugged and went back to dishing up his plate. "Well, then I guess there's nothing else that you can do. Potato salad?" He dropped a spoonful of salad on her plate as she gave him an affectionate smile.
"Hey, this spread looks wonderful!" B.J. exclaimed as he reached for a serving spoon and dug in.
"It sure does!" Hawkeye echoed, a wide smile on his face. "It sure looks at lot better than the meals that we use to share together in Korea!"
"Was the food really that bad over there?" Peg asked, appearing at B.J.'s elbow.
"Bad doesn't describe it." Hawkeye replied. "None of it was fit for human consumption. Even the flies stayed away."
"Except from the tapioca pudding. " B.J. remarked, glancing slyly at Frank who was just ahead of them in line.
"That right!" Hawkeye laughed heartily. "To this day I can't eat tapioca pudding without wanting to gag."
"That's okay, Hawk." B.J. chuckled. "To this day I can't eat army food without wanting to gag."
Looking at Peg, Hawkeye joked. "The entire time that I was in Korea I thought I was pregnant." At Peg's surprised expression he added. "I had morning sickness, afternoon sickness and evening sickness."
"If the food was as bad as your day it was, its no wonder that you looked so pale and thin when you came home." Peg commented to B.J., her eyes full of sympathy. "You'd certainly lost a lot of weight during those two years."
B.J. chuckled and looked at Hawkeye with a mischievous smile. "Speaking of loosing weight. Remember when Charles was going through that weight lose, weight gain period?"
Hawkeye started chuckling at the memory, casting a sly glance towards Charles who was standing out of earshot. "I seemed to remember that he was also having a height problem. " The two men laughed heartily.
"What did you two clowns do now?" Margaret asked with a knowing smile.
"Hey, I was merely the observing clown." Hawkeye protested with a mock insulted tone. "B.J. was the performing one."
"Yeah right!" Margaret exclaimed, giving her husband a knowing smile. "I know you better than that, Dr. Benjamin Franklin Pierce. You can't resist a good joke."
"Are you trying to tell me that you don't appreciate a good joke, my dear Mrs. Margaret Pierce." Hawkeye retorted with a challenging smile.
"I didn't say that." She replied, her eyes twinkling in fun.
"So, what did you two clowns do to Charles anyway?" Daniel asked curiously.
"I kept switching Charles' uniform pants on him." B.J. explained. "One day I made him believe that he had lost a lot of weight and in order to compensate Hawk and I encouraged him to eat more."
"That was cruel!" Klinger exclaimed in mock horror. "You could have killed him!"
When the laughter subsided, B.J. continued his story. "Next, we made it look like he had gained a lot of weight. After that we moved on to height."
"You guys were absolutely awful." Margaret scolded with a hearty laugh.
"It was just part of the initiation." Hawkeye replied in an innocent tone. "We were just trying to make him feel more at home."
"And I'm sure you succeeded very well." Daniel remarked with a sarcastic smile.
"Ah, yes. Charles adored us. Right Beej." Hawkeye replied looking at his cohort for agreement. B.J. merely smiled mischievously.
Margaret chuckled at the pair and glanced at Charles who was talking to Potter at the back of the line. She knew that if he was aware of what Hawk and B.J. were saying about him he'd probably sink into his boots in horror.
"Well, are you ready to go eat?" Hawkeye asked Margaret after they reached the end of the food table.
Margaret smiled and nodded. Offering her his arm, Hawkeye slowly guided her back to their seats. Just as they were getting settled Radar's voice rang out loudly.
"Hawkeye!" the younger man called, approaching the pair with an older woman on his arm.
"Careful, Radar." Hawkeye warned, his tone serious, but his eyes dancing in fun. "Better not let Patty see you going around with an older woman. She might get jealous." He chuckled softly and Margaret shot him an amused look.
"Ah, come on, Hawkeye." Radar protested, looking at the other man with mild annoyance. "This is my mom."
Hawkeye chuckled in amusement. "I figured she probably was, Radar." He told the younger man. "I was only trying to tease you." Looking at the older woman he flashed her his most charming smile. "Hawkeye Pierce at your service, Ma'am." He reached out and gently shook her hand. "It's a pleasure to finally meet you, Mrs. O'Reilly. Radar has told me a lot about you."
"Walter has told me a lot about you too, Captain Pierce." Mrs. O'Reilly replied, returning his smile with one of her own.
Hawkeye flinched noticeably at the old title. "Please, call me Hawkeye." He told her with a grimace. "I left the 'Captain' title behind in Korea."
The older woman smiled at bit more. "Walter told me that you weren't a true blooded army Captain. He said that you were always very kind to him and would go out of your way to help him. I could tell that he was very fond of you. You were like a big brother to him."
Hawkeye gave Radar a warm smile. "I'm very fond of him too." His tone turned teasing. "He was like the child and pet I never had."
Radar looked at him for a minute, feeling almost hurt by the comment until he realized that his old friend was only trying to tease him. His look then turned to one of amusement. "Don't mind him, Ma. He loves to kid around." He told him mother. "He and B.J. were always horsing around." He looked at Hawkeye and added. "I guess you were the same with Trapper too."
"Who me?" Hawkeye asked, a mock innocent look on his face. "Young man, I think that you are highly mistaken. I would never even think of cracking a joke, I'm far too serious for that kind of nonsense." Radar shot him a look of mild exasperation.
"Walter, you haven't told me who this lovely lady is." Mrs. O'Reilly remarked, interrupting the friendly teasing between the two old chums. Smiling at Margaret warmly she gave her a mischievous wink. Margaret smiled back.
"Oh, Ma, I'd like you to meet Major Houlihan." Radar said, introducing the two women eagerly. " She was our head nurse."
Hawkeye and Margaret looked at each other and rolled their eyes. "Radar." Hawkeye sighed in mild annoyance. "How many time do I have to tell you to stop the 'Major Houlihan' bit."
"Oh, sorry Hawkeye." Radar blushed slightly with embarrassment. "I forgot. Ma, I'd like you to meet 'Margaret' Houlihan."