Disclaimer: Don't own M*A*S*H - never will!
Rated T for future graphic detail and language.
To the one whom I love,
How's life going for you in Iowa, now that all six of your children are gone? I hope that Patty is taking it okay.
Boy oh boy, do I ever remember the first time I drove out to the Ottumwa to visit with the O'Reilly clan. It was in May of 54', I think. You were a nervous as a turkey around Thanksgiving, because Patty was about to give birth to your first born child.
After all of the rotten things that happened over in Korea; you meeting Patty and starting a family with her almost made up for all of it.
It gave me indescribable joy that the first baby I delivered since stepping onto one-hundred percent, real American soil, was your son Henry.
I felt like I was walking on water the second I handed him to you and Patty. You were both crying crocodile sized tears of pure joy. When you took off your round glasses and wiped the tears away with the back of your hand; a distinct voice rang out as clear as day.
"You are going to be one hell of a Dad, kiddo. I guess I don't have to come back and set you straight afterall."
Everybody – including Henry – ceased to make any type of noise of a solid minute. As our eyes made silent contact with one another to confirm what we were all thinking, but dared not say. You confirmed all of our suspicions when you whispered in a barely audible tone, "You won't have to, Colonel Blake."
We agreed to never speak of that incidence to anybody – ever.
I broke a lot of promises in my time, but I can assure that I was true to my word with that one. Besides, can you imagine how people would have reacted if we went around blathering on about how our Colonel who died two years prior, suddenly communicated with us from beyond the grave?
It would have been a quick one, two, three – and the whole lot of us would have been thrown in to a padded room.
Why am I going on and on about this one event? Well here's why… I'm dying, Radar.
Yes, you read that correctly; no need to get up and go running to the sink to wash off your glasses.
I know how young I am, and so on and so forth. It's all that I've been hearing for months on end now.
When I first received my diagnosis, the thought that I would kick the bucket soon scared me. However, I must admit that now the finish line is in sight – I really don't mind. I am sick and tired of well… simply being sick and tired.
Maybe once I croak, I can do like Henry did the day of your son's birth and talk to you from the other side.
Heck, maybe I can even come back and haunt Frank Burns in Indiana!
When I go, I will make sure to put in a good word for you with the big cheese upstairs. Not that you'd really need it, though. You are a good egg; always have been and always will be.
I remember the first time me and Trapper got you drunk. Coincidently, that night was the night we taught you how to drive. Remember how on the road to Seoul you were so tanked, that Trapper had to spring up from the passenger seat beside you and grab the steering wheel to swerve out of the way to avoid getting in to a head on collision with that supply truck. Thankfully, trusty Trapper John jerked the steering wheel just right so that nobody got hurt.
That close call sobered you up almost completely. The wide-eyed look of facing off with the grim reaper was evident. You knew what had happened. I'm sure you even saw your life flash before your eyes or something like that.
Trapper and I on the other hand, just sat back in the jeep and laughed our half cut asses off at the whole thing. Now I can't speak for Trapper, but I can say this – have coming very close to death gave me an indescribable thrill.
To put it simply, I felt and reacted the way I did because knowing that I cheated death in a place where the only two things a solider could count on. One was seeing dealing with death every day. The other was being scared out of your socks from the time revelry blew, to lights out.
Wanna know something else? In that very moment, it struck me like a bolt just how naïve you really were. Fresh out of the corn fields – if you may. I realized that you weren't just some sort amusing thing that Trapper and I could mess with whenever we felt like it.
Uncle Sam plucked you away from the only way of life you've ever known – and put you in with a bunch of people who lived very different lifestyles than you did. I can't even imagine how terrifying it must have been for you.
I apologize if my lunacy made things worse for you during those first weeks at the 4077th. I was still trying to wrap my own head around the fact that I was actually in the Army, fighting off in some tiny country that I had never even heard about before.
It was an honour and privilege watching you grow from the timid farm kid, into a man whom could bear several responsibilities of adult life; yet, still able to hold onto and maintain a set of strong morals.
If you really want to get down to the heart of this letter; I am very happy that you never decided to really pick the bottle and lean on it to help you through life.
Keeping on drinking that grape Nehi, kid – it'll keep you from ending up like me.
Sure we had some falling outs here and there over the years, but when push came to shove – we were always able to stay friends. Even at my worst of times, when I was drinking so much that I lost track of days at a time – you were still willing to be my friend.
I know how much you hated that way I drank, but you also knew that I was too far gone to try and stop. You accepted that fact, and moved out to Maine to take care of me for the winter right after Margaret left me.
I suppose she had finally had enough of arguing back and forth about how I lived my life, and realized that a drunkard for a husband wasn't a good choice.
Now that I've lost the battle and am lying here on my deathbed - I feel a very guilty for how selfish my actions were…
My body is a frail as a sheet of filo pastry, Radar. Over the past few weeks my hair has gone from salt and pepper, to a shade as white as snow. My complexion is so yellow that somebody could graft a circular portion of it, to use it in place of a yellow traffic light.
I've done several astounding things during my time on Earth, as well as many deplorable ones.
I am so weak that I can barely hold the pen between my once remarkably dexterous digits, which saved the lives of so many people…
Promise me this Radar… never pick up the bottle.
I don't care if Patty dies in a car accident, or if the entire farm goes up in flames from an out of control bush field fire. Don't do it…
I am going to close now, but before I do there is one more final thing I want say.
You are truly the finest kind, Walter O'Reilly.
With all my love,
"Hawkeye" Benjamin Franklin Pierce
A/N: So this idea has been floating around in my brain for quite some time, and I thought that I should finally get in on paper.
This isn't a one-shot – Hawkeye will write six more letters to people he loves.
I hope that I am writing him in character. I haven't had much experience writing him, but I feel that I know his character very well.
Please review and let me know what you thought.