"She ripped the housecoat off me." Hawkeye laughed. "Left me standing in the middle of the camp in just my T-shirt and underwear."
"Anyway, Colonel Potter had told us not to be playing anymore jokes because a certain Colonel Daniel Webster Tucker from the Surgeon's General office was coming for an inspection." B.J. continued. "He had the reputation for being a real stickler for army regulations. So Potter made us promise not to do anything foolish."
"So, what did you do?" Trapper asked.
"Pierce stole Margaret's tent." Potter concluded simply, than shook his head and laughed. "I could always count on you to be a bone head."
"That's Dr. 'Bonehead' to you, sir." Hawkeye laughed good-naturedly.
"Anyway, who should happen to arrived during our little pillow fight, but Colonel Daniel Webster Tucker." B.J. commented. "And he was not the least bit impressed."
"And he was even less impressed the next day." Hawkeye added.
"He busted your butts well didn't he." Potter laughed heartily. "You should have seen your faces."
Hawkeye, B.J., and Charles laughed in agreement.
"You should have seen when we confronted him." B.J. said, looking at Charles and Hawkeye with a smile. "He told us that he was putting us on report for 'gross insubordination and conduct unbecoming an officer'."
"What did you do?" Trapper asked, his face serious.
"We did the only thing we could do." Hawk replied, with smirk. "We nailed with a joke."
"You didn't?" Trapper exclaimed, laughing in amazement.
"Trust me." Potter nodded and then laughed. "They did."
"What happened?" Trapper asked eagerly.
"Well, it turned out that it was all an elaborate set-up by him and our beloved colonel." B.J. replied. "They had set up this elaborate April Fools joke to get us."
"And it worked." Hawkeye replied. "We were royally had."
"I don't know, Hawk." Klinger objected. "I think that B.J. deserves a thumbs up too."
"For what?" Hawkeye asked, looking at the other man curiously. Then his eyes lit up in remembrance. "You mean that time that I tried to glue myself to my chair in the Officer's club." He shot B.J. a sly look and added. "Oh, but I think what Charles and I did to B.J. after topped that." Hawkeye laughed, looking at his cohort for agreement. "What do you say, Charles?"
"I'd say, most definitely." The other man replied. "And I have the pictures to prove it."
"No you don't." B.J. exclaimed, "I destroyed them, remember."
"Not the 8x10's from the bulletin board." Charles stated, a sly look on his face. B.J.'s face whitened slightly.
"Maybe we should send the pictures to Peg." Hawkeye commented.
"Why would you do that?" Klinger asked. "I'm sure its nothing she hasn't seen before."
"But with four beautiful nurses in the background." Hawkeye teased, shooting his friend an amused glance. "Ah, revenge is so sweet."
"What revenge did you seek when B.J. got you with the elaborate joke of not getting you?" Klinger asked slyly.
"Huh?" Hawkeye looked at him with a confused look on his face.
"Remember when B.J. said that he was going to pull a joke on everyone by the end of the next day." Klinger reminded him.
"Oh, yeah." Hawkeye nodded, a mischievous smile on his face as he looked at B.J. "I most definitely do remember. In fact I don't think I'll ever forget it."
"What happened?" Trapper asked curiously.
"That was the time that B.J. wanted to try to fill those shoes you left behind." Hawkeye laughed heartily. "After I told him that nailing my shoe to the floor was a sad excuse for a joke, he decided to do something big to gain the title as the 'champ scamp'. So, he made the challenge, without really making it, that the person who could pull a prank on everyone before the end of the next day would be the 'champ scamp'."
"And did you do it?" Trapper asked B.J. "Did you get everyone?"
"Actually." B.J. confessed. "The only real target was Hawk. Everyone else was in on it."
"I don't understand." Trapper replied. "What do you mean that they were in on it?"
"I had everyone pull a joke on themselves, or pretend that a joke had been pulled on them." B.J. explained. "Charles claimed that he found a live snake in his bed, Potter said that someone had put shaving cream in his toothpaste container, Margaret complained that someone had cut a hole in the backside of her housecoat, a fire exploded in one of Klinger's filing cabinet. Father Mulcahy started choking on his lunch. Hawk saw all these things, but he never actually saw them done. He never saw the 'live' snake, just the dead one that Charles waved from the end of a putter, he heard the story of the toothpaste when Potter was gagging on it, but never actually checked it is was for real. Same with the other jokes. He didn't actually 'see' Margaret walk out of her tent with her backside showing through her house coat, he was just there when she came into Post Op to scold me for it. He never even imagined that he was the one victim of my little scheme."
"So, what happened?" Trapper laughed, looking at Hawkeye, his eyes dancing in amusement.
"Hawkeye became a basket case, just waiting for B.J. to nail him." Klinger laughed. "He even spent the night laying in the middle of the compound surrounded by barbed wire and armed with golf putter."
"Sounds like he got you good." Trapper laughed in amusement.
"That wasn't the best part." Charles grinned wickedly at Hawkeye. "We got to watch Pierce humiliate himself further."
"Oh?" Trapper prompted.
"The stakes of the game were that whoever was gotten, was to stand on a table in the mess tent and sing 'Your the Tops' to B.J. in their underwear." Klinger replied. "Guess who had to do it."
Trapper hooted at the idea. Looking a Hawkeye he said, "Now that I would have loved to have seen. I would have paid good money to have been there."
Hawkeye opened his mouth to reply but Potter interrupted. "Never mind that. We're getting off topic. Continue you story, Hawkeye."
Hawkeye looked at Trapper for a minute, then decided to let the matter drop. Putting a mischievous smile on his face he said, "Oh, yes, where was I."
"You were telling us about Margaret's wonderful sense of humor." Potter reminded him.
"Oh, yeah." Hawkeye smiled.
"There's something that I don't understand, Hawk." B.J. interrupted, a thoughtful look on his face.
"What's that, Beej?" Hawk asked, looking at his friend curiously.
"You say that you cared for each other in Korea." B.J. repeated, to which Hawkeye nodded. "But I saw you two kiss each other good-bye when the war was over. You went your separate ways."
"That's true, we did." Hawkeye admitted. He paused for a moment, looking at his daughter with a thoughtful expression before continuing. "Margaret and I fell in love in Korea, but neither one of us did anything about it. After that trip to the 8063rd, I realized that I cared for Margaret very much. Much more that I was ready to handle at the time. And Margaret was in the same boat. She was still married to that rat fink Penobscott. They tried to work their problems out, but finally they got divorced, as most of you remember." The group nodded their heads in acknowledgment. "After that she was afraid to get too close to somebody again. She was afraid of getting hurt. So, when the war ended, we said 'goodbye', kissed and went our separate ways."
"So then what happened?" Klinger asked curiously.
"Well, about two years after we left Korea, I was at a medical conference in Chicago."
"A medical conference?" B.J. exclaimed in surprise. "You!"
"Amazing isn't it." Hawkeye laughed, looking at B.J. with an amused smile on his face. "Well, trust me, it wasn't my idea. The hospital sent me. They figured that since I was Chief of Staff then I was the one that should go. And, to be honest. I'm thankful that they made me."
"What happened in Chicago?" B.J. asked.
"Well, I had spent the entire weekend dodging a nurse that I had just met, who seemed determined to pin me down, almost literally, when who do I happen to run into but our own Major Houlihan. She was working as head nurse at a Veterans Hospital in Boston at the time."
"Boston?" Charles exclaimed in surprise. "Margaret was working in Boston? Which hospital?"
"Boston General Army Hospital." Hawkeye replied.
"Why, that's not far from Boston Mercy." Charles commented. "I didn't even know that she was there. She never contacted me. Ten years and she never contacted me." He sounded almost distressed about it.
"Actually, Charles. She was only in Boston for a little over a year." Hawkeye replied. "She had stayed in Korea for a couple of months after the war, helping to tie up lose ends with the different M*A*S*H units and Evac hospitals. Then she spent a couple of months in Tokyo relaxing and trying to figure out where she wanted to go next. She applied to a few different hospitals in the States. She'd received acceptance letters from San Francisco, New York, Boston and Washington."
"What made her decide on Boston?" Charles asked curiously.
Hawkeye paused for a few minutes, noting the look in the other man's eyes. "She told me that she knew that I had once lived in Boston and figured that if by some chance I had left Crabapple Cove, she thought that would be the place I'd go. So, she decided on Boston General."
"So, what happened at the conference?" Klinger asked, curiosity on his face.
"Margaret invited me out for coffee before my plane left." Hawkeye replied. "When we found out that we were living in the same part of the country, we decided to keep in touch. Though, to tell you the truth, I think if Margaret had have been living in Timbuktu I would have kept in touch. Anyway, we visited back and forth a couple of times the first few months. I invited her to the Crabapple Cove Lobster Festival and she asked me to be her escort at a couple of hospital fundraisers. Then the visits became more frequent. Any excuse was good enough for one of us to visit the other, just like we used any excuse to drink back in Korea." He looked at B.J. and Trapper and laughed.
B.J. and Trapper laughed with him and alternately began to list:
"...annual sheet changing day." They finished together.
Everyone laughed, then Hawkeye continued, "After a couple of months we started writing letters and phoning all the time. Soon the letters were arriving two, three times a week and the phone calls were every few hours." He chuckled. "When I started calling all the nurses at Crabapple Cove General 'Margaret' I realized that I was hooked."
"So, when did you propose?" B.J. asked.
"It was about five months after we had found each other." Hawkeye replied. "One night I couldn't sleep. I couldn't stop thinking about her. I realized that I was head over heels in love with her, but I was afraid that she might not feel the same way. I knew she cared, but I wasn't sure if she loved me that way. I wanted to marry her, but I was worried that she might not want to get married again after the way Penobscott had treated her."
"What convinced you to ask her?" Potter asked.
"My dad, actually." Hawkeye told him. "He heard me up, and came to see what the problem was. I poured my heart out to him, telling him how much I loved Margaret, how I had loved her since Korea, and that I wanted to marry her. I also told him about her past and how I was afraid that she might not want to get married again. He told me that as far as he could see, Margaret was just as much in love with me as I was with her. And that if I really and truly cared for her I would take the chance and ask her, making sure to tell her how much I loved her. Then he gave me my mother's engagement ring. 'In case I needed it'."
"So when did you ask her?" B.J. asked again, excitement in his voice.
"That weekend." Hawkeye replied with a smile on his face. "I flew to Boston and surprised her. I was suppose to be on call that weekend at the hospital, so we hadn't made any plans to get together. Fortunately one of the other doctors owed me a favor, so he agreed to take my shifts, leaving me free to head for Boston."
"How did Margaret react to your unannounced visit?" Potter asked, curiously.
"With great surprise." The man commented, laughing at the memory. "I had never received such a warm welcome in my life. Almost all my fears and doubts about her feelings for me vanished with her welcoming kiss. And they completely disappeared when she accepted my proposal that evening. I was never so happy in my life."