“Ten?” Potter repeated, a smile lighting up his face even more, “Well, you must have been just a baby yourself at the time.”
Trapper was sitting on his bunk, writing a letter to Louise, trying to
tune out Charles’s record player while BJ reread the letter he’d gotten from
Peg that morning. Again.
Dear Louise, he wrote, then stared at it for several minutes, not sure exactly where
I wish I had better news
to report from the 4077, but everyone is at each other’s throats here. I wish I
had to more say than that I miss you and the girls and I wish I was home. This
war can’t end soon enough for me.
Supposedly, peace talks
have been going on. But that’s been a rumor for the last year, so who knows
when this stupid thing will wrap up. For my own part, I’ve had enough and I
just want to come home.
Colonel Potter is
painting a picture of all of us to give his wife. I hope some day, dear, we can
have what they have. I think I have a lot more growing up to do first, though.
Which reminds me, I’m sorry I’m missing yet another anniversary. That makes
three, doesn’t it? And this is a big one, too. Can’t believe you’ll be
celebrating without me. But I’ll make up for it when I get home. Maybe we’ll
even have another baby. A boy this time?
Look, my room mates are
arguing again, so I’m going to sign off. Maybe I can find a quiet place to
think and get another one off later this week. Give the girls lots of hugs and kisses
from me and tell them I love them, would you? And tell them to hug and kiss you
for me, too.
All my love,
Trapper folded his letter and tucked it away before slipping quietly
from the tent. He needed some peace and quiet. And he needed to think.
He somehow managed to find some quiet time until supper rolled around
and then reluctantly headed over to the mess tent. He took a seat across from
Potter, not exactly expecting anyone else to sit with them at this point, since
everyone else was at each other’s throats. It was just as well, he didn’t feel
like talking. He had a lot on his mind.
Father joined them after several minutes, as did BJ and Charles. Which
kind of surprised Trapper. He’d thought even they would be sitting at opposite
ends of the mess tent after the way they’d been carrying on back at the Swamp.
Still no sign of Hawkeye, though.
And Trapper really wanted to
talk to Hawk. He needed advice.
“McIntyre?” Potter questioned. “Are you with us, Son?”
Trapper looked up from picking at his meal. “Yessir?”
“Ah, there we are,” Potter smiled. “I was asking you about your own
anniversary. I know when Hunnicutt’s is. But I don’t think I’ve ever heard you
mention yours. I hope I haven’t missed it.”
Trapper glanced back down at his tray, clearly closing himself off from
his friends. “Louise an’ I got married after I graduated from college,” he
answered simply, “before med school.”
“So, a summer wedding?”
“That means it must be getting close. How many years?”
Trapper sighed despite himself, “Ten years,” he whispered.
“Ten?” Potter repeated, a smile lighting up his face even more, “Well,
you must have been just a baby yourself at the time.”
“Well, when is this happy occurrence? We should throw you a party. Ten
years is an awful long time.”
Trapper didn’t reply this time; didn’t even give a sign that he’d heard
“Son?” Potter pressed, “Do you feel all right?”
Trapper threw down his fork. “It’s tomorrow, all right? My tenth
anniversary is tomorrow. Now if you’ll excuse me.” He stormed from the mess,
not wanting to deal with anyone’s comments. He wanted to be alone.
When Charles was at high school, he went to Choate (which is now known as Choate Rosemary Hall). Assuming that Charles is a bit older than Hawkeye, I’d say he was born in 1917, which would make him 33 in 1950. If he was born in 1917, then he would have graduated from Choate in 1935. Do you know what that means?
Charles Emerson Winchester III went to school with John F. Kennedy (who was a complete trouble maker and blew up a toilet with fireworks). Could you imagine how annoyed he would’ve been when JFK became president?
When you live in a cruddy situation like this long enough, you get to love a few people and even hate a few. I guess outside of our families, we’ll never be closer to anybody than we are to each other.
i’ve been thinking a lot about the relationship between Mulcahy and Winchester, and how, in theory, as the camp’s two intellectuals, they ought to be friends. they both appreciate literature – Mulcahy brought War & Peace and The Rise & Fall of the Roman Empire to war with him, for cryin’ out loud. this is a person Winchester should be hanging out with. they both pepper their everyday conversation with 5-dollar words and find it a little difficult to fit in because of a special status that socially separates them from others (Winchester’s class; Mulcahy’s priesthood). Mulcahy’s musical tastes seem to trend more popular, but he’s got to at least appreciate a good mass – they could find common ground there. and they both seem pretty fond of Klinger.
what they also have in common, though, is vast reserves of pride – although it expresses itself in different ways. Mulcahy’s explosive temper emerges at even the mildest teasing from Winchester (perhaps this originates from his childhood; we know he was a bullied child and I imagine some of the bullying might have come from Winchester’s side of the social stratum), and Winchester’s upbringing means he can’t imagine treating someone working-class and Irish-American and Catholic as his equal.
throughout the series, though, they do seem to gain some mutual respect, and maybe even a little bit of affection for each other. Winchester confides in Mulcahy about his own shortcomings in “morale victory” – that’s a lot of vulnerability for Winchester to show towards anybody, much less someone he used to see as his inferior. Mulcahy may still fly off the handle at Winchester occasionally, but he recognizes his strengths and appreciates them.
i really enjoy these two and as many scenes as they had together, i wish they’d had more.