More Mail Call
A/N: A huge thank you to Gib for creating these great characters and to MarenMary93 and Dlwells51 for adding to them so wonderfully thru the story "Mail Call". This is just a little offering to show my gratitude for your sharing your amazing talent for story telling with us! Enjoy!
This picks up right where Gib's "Mail Call" Chapter 9 ends...
Playfully cuffing Mac's shoulder, Jack wiped the moisture from his eye as he tilted his head to try to make eye contact with his friend. "Hey Bud—really, you're up. Our families are really grateful for all you do for us—"He leaned back in his chair and looked around the circle of friends. "And so are we. It might not always seem that way, but we love ya, little brother." With that, the room erupted with a chorus of "Amen's", "Damn strait's" and "couldn't do it without ya's".
Mac looked up and smiled, shaking his head. Jack knew he was embarrassed so he pushed him along.
"Now git opening those packages! We ain't got all day!"
Mac shyly looked at the guys, not really knowing what to say.
"Thanks you guys, really. This is…amazing." He laughed and reached for the medium sized package on the top of his pile. He looked around the circle, letting his eyes settle on the tallest soldier of the bunch.
"This one's from "Tordis—Mill Valley, California. " He gently shook the box, listening for any sound that may give away its contents.
"That'd be my folks. They love Mill Valley. Been there since they were born. Go ahead—open 'er up!" Coop said, his hopeful expression adding to Mac's curiosity.
Mac took out his knife and, taking his time, carefully sliced the packing tape along the edges. Opening the top revealed a letter addressed to "Specialist MacGyver", written in careful script. He placed the letter aside and looked underneath.
Coop practically jumped out of his chair. "Oh no. You have to read the letter first! Momma always explains in the letter what she's put in the box. Sometimes it's hard to figure out just what it is she's got in there."
"Okay okay…" he said quietly and opened the letter. Clearing his throat dramatically, he started to read aloud.
'Dear Specialist MacGyver—'
Coop all of a sudden looked serious. Shaking his head, he interrupted Mac.
"I told them they could call you Mac, but my folks are old school and my mom said that the proper way to address someone you've never met was by their second name."
Mac looked up and smiled. "It's all good".
Coop settled back again, crossing his arms and stretching out his long legs. Boxer gave him a well-placed head slap and a look that easily said, "don't interrupt again". Coop feigned injury and scooted his chair farther away from the offending senior officer. Mac continued.
'When our son Cooper told us that you didn't often receive packages from home, well, we were happy to send you some things to remind you of sunny California! He told us you were from Mission City—that's not far from our little town of Mill Valley! '
Coop again felt obliged to clarify his mother's writing. Craning his neck, he leaned towards Mac, eyeing Boxer carefully.
"We're only about 3 hours South of Mission City". At this point he seemed more excited about his mother's letter than Mac was. Mac looked at him and laughed.
"I've actually been there. It's a really nice place" Mac said refocusing on the letter. Boxer gave Coop another head slap.
"Damn it, Box. That hurts!" He whined. Boxer just looked at him and shook his head.
"Stop with the comments and let the boy read or we'll never get to see what's in the box!" He settled back in his chair and waved his hand at Mac, giving him the floor once more.
'Karl (Cooper's Dad) and I had a free weekend so we took a road trip to your lovely town and took some snap shots of things you may remember. We thought it would be fun for you to show Coop and the guys where you live—and we thought trying to figure out some of the less "obvious" landmarks would be a challenge and fill some of your free time hours.'
Mac swallowed hard as he tried to process what Coop's parents had done for him. Mission City didn't have much going for it, but it was his home, a home he hadn't seen in more than two years, longer if you count being away at college. Pete was sitting next to him and noticed his hand start to shake. Putting his arm around his shoulder, he gently encouraged him on. "C'mon man. Let's get to the end so we can see those pictures she's talking about." Mac glanced up at him and nodded. Taking a deep breath he read on.
'We had never been to your neck of the woods before so it was a nice weekend for us. We stayed in a quaint Bed and Breakfast right in the center of town which was run by a family from –of all places—Oslo! We chatted the night away (which, if you knew Coop's dad, was nothing short of a miracle!)'
Coop couldn't help himself and quickly added, "She's so right. Pappa never says anything—just 'hello, how are ya.' That's it. He must have really enjoyed himself."
Boxer went to slap him again but he ducked and covered, leaning way over onto Duncan, out of Box's line of fire. Duncan pushed him away and glared at Boxer. "Gee, man. Leave him alone. Go ahead, Mac. Pay no mind to these idiots." He settled himself back in his chair as Mac smiled and again, read on.
'We ate at Burger Nirvana (see photo) and walked along the river. It was a really nice weekend!
We hope you enjoy the pictures and a few treats we picked up at Harper's Store in the center of town. When I mentioned your name, the young girl at the counter smiled and said she remembered you from school. Sorry, I can't recall her name. Oh, and I almost forgot—when I told Astrid (the owner of the Inn) why we were in the area, she sent along some homemade treats she had made special for you and wanted to thank you for your service as well. The cookies are full of special spices that will help to keep them fresh longer. Coop will remember them—I make them every year at Christmas time. I tried one of Astrid's—they are delicious!
Anyway, thank you so very much for your service and for all you've done to keep our son safe (he's told us stories about your adventures!) We hope you enjoy a little something from home!
Gud velsigne og vaere trygg—'
Inga and Karl Tordis
That last line Mac read with a perfect Norwegian accent. Box, Pete and Duncan shook their heads in amazement. Coop especially was taken aback. Jack was the only one who didn't look surprised.
"Tell them what it means" the Delta team leader said, smiling like a Cheshire cat. He knew Mac had a gift for a lot of things, languages being one of them.
Mac smiled and looked at his friends. "Gud velsigne—God bless—og vaere trygg—and stay safe."
Coop smiled and nodded proudly. "Consider yourself adopted. You'd fit right in at our house."
Mac smiled, gently folding the letter and sliding it into its envelope. He tucked it safely into the back pocket of his cargos and picked up the package.
Coop could just about contain his excitement. "Find the cookies first! I bet they're Pepperkaker."
Duncan did a double take. "Pepper what?" he asked, totally grossed out by the thought of pepper and 'kaka' in a cookie. Coop kicked him with his outstretched foot, rolling his eyes.
As Mac dug thru the box, he was about to explain the origin of Pepperkaker and the scientific reason why they were known to stay fresher longer, when his hand touched a smooth, hard object. He furrowed his brow, wondering what it could be. Glancing over at Coop, he pulled the dark wooden form from the packing paper. Holding it in his outstretched palm, a slow smile spread across his face.
Coop recognized it first and got up, crossing the circle and taking the object to study it more closely.
"Yep. That's Pappa's work alright. Pretty cool, eh?" He proudly placed it back on Mac's hand. "Takes him hours to carve something like that. If I know him, it's his way of saying thank you."
Jack saw Mac's total lack of response and quickly jumped in to help.
"What is it, buddy? Looks like-"
Mac found his voice and smiled. "It's the EOD insignia."
Running his fingers over the intricately carved wreath and lightning bolts, Mac was amazed at the workmanship.
"I'm….wow. He's really talented. That's a really special gift. Thank you, Coop."
Coop went back to his chair and smiled at his friend. "I'm sure he enjoyed making it for you. It's what he does."
Mac passed the precious treasure around the circle, each person examining it and admiring Coop's father's handiwork.
As the carving continued to circulate around the room, Mac pulled a pile of pictures out of the box. He started flipping thru them, smiling and nodding. Jack got up and stood behind him, looking over his shoulder as Mac thumbed thru the photos. One by one the guys all gathered around, looking at the different scenes from Mac's hometown as Mac narrated. When he had gotten thru the pile, he carefully placed them back in the box as the guys all went back to their seats.
"Looks like a great place to grow up" Coop commented, taking his seat and stretching out once again.
Mac cleared his throat, wiping a 'speck of dust' out of his eye. "Ya, it was. Still is. Makes me want to go back real soon" he said, pulling out a cookie tin and a few bags of popcorn.
"There's the good stuff. 479 Degrees popcorn. That is just the best stuff in the world!" Coop said, diving across the circle so he could see what flavor it was.
Wrapping his body around the pile of goodies, Mac turned away so Coop couldn't get at it. "Oh no. This is for me! Toasted Sesame and Seaweed is my favorite flavor! Hand's off big guy!" Mac said, laughing. Coop looked devastated as he slunk back to his seat. "It's my favorite too. Geesh. Mamma never sent me seaweed popcorn". He feigned disappointment, but smiled at the young EOD, truly happy for him.
Mac stuffed the popcorn back into the box and pried the tin of cookies opened. Taking one he sampled it, nodding his approval. Passing it around the circle, he watched as the group of big, tough Delta operators very gently selected a thin, delicate cookie. Coop closed his eyes and chewed slowly, savoring the spicy flavors and enjoying its crisp goodness.
"Mmmmmm. Just like Mamma's. Miss Astrid is a good cook!" Coop complimented as he reached for a second cookie.
The tin finally made its way back to Mac, who immediately took a handful of the gingery treats. As he looked around the room, he was filled with a warmth he couldn't quite explain. These guys, this crazy bunch of soldiers, had accepted him as family. Even more amazing, they had shared their families with him. He had never been on the receiving end of such generosity and he was at a loss for what to say.
Coop looked over and saw Mac grinning, looking at each of them, then to the pile of packages he had still to open. "Well, little brother. I hope you liked your surprise. I know my folks loved doing it for you."
Mac got up, crossed the circle and, stopping in front of the place Coop was sitting, crouched down in front of him and looked him square in the eyes.
"Hey, man…I don't know what to say. Thank you. So much. I really appreciate it." He extended his hand for a hand shake, but Coop grabbed it and pulled him in for a hug.
"Glad to do it, brother. My folks too."
When the guys saw the uncharacteristic display of affection, they all started teasing. Soon wadded packing paper was flying back and forth and the room became a war zone of flying projectiles. Making his way back to his chair, he noticed Jack just sitting, watching with a huge smile on his face.
"I have a feeling you had something to do with all this" Mac said, gesturing to the pile of packages yet to be opened.
Jack crossed his arms and leaned over so Mac could hear him over the riot going on around them.
"You deserve it, pal. We just wanted you to know you are appreciated."
Mac smiled and looked around the room, then back to the box of pictures and special treats.
"Ya, I'm feeling it. Thanks, Jack."
The team leader nodded his head then clapped his hands together.
"C'mon now. These ain't gonna open themselves. Who's next?"
Mac sat down and reached for another package….
The end…at least for now.
A/N 2: Hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it! I know I can never write these guys as well as Gib and friends, but I hope I did them justice. Thank you, Gib, for letting me play in your sand box! What a great bunch of guys!