Disclaimer: Don't own M*A*S*H – never will!
1970 – Bloomington, Illinois
Lorraine Blake sat outside, on her front porch on swinging patio bench. She was casually sipping away at her English tea and eating a blueberry muffin. The warm morning sun, felt heavenly as it shone down onto her skin.
For the first time in months, she actually felt relaxed.
Curled up beside her was the only man in her life – her beloved dog, Hippocrates. He was an average mixed mutt. His coat was mostly black, but there were a few splotches of white scattered across his belly and hind legs. His brown eyes held the undeniable look of wisdom in them. Moreover, you could see just how kind and loyal of soul he was just from a simple glance.
Hippocrates was given to Lorraine as a gift by her youngest daughter Jane, a few years prior when she moved out of the house to live with her new husband. Jane knew that within a few years her Mother would be left all alone in the house because Andrew was almost eighteen, so – giving her Mother a dog was a logical choice.
Lorraine named her companion what she did, as a subtle nod to Henry and the gift he had once possessed.
It was no secret that Lorraine loved animals; she had been rescuing them her whole life. At the age of three, she begged her parents to help her nurse a bird with a broken wing back to health. After several weeks of intensive care and feeding; it was the best feeling on the planet when she finally tossed the bird into the air and watched it fly away.
Even after giving birth to three children didn't feel the same as how it felt, to know that she had given a helpless soul a second chance at life.
Most women her age had their own special hobby to pass the hours now that their children were all grown up and gone. Some enjoyed baking copious amounts of bread and pastries for bake sales, while others preferred sewing or simply reading a good book.
Lorraine's hobby though, was making sure no animal in the neighbourhood went hungry or went without a home.
It was only the beginning of June, but she had already tamed and adopted out two stray cats; saved a small nest of baby robin's whose Mother had abandoned them; and nursed a bush bunny back to health after it had had its paw crushed from a close run in with a Studebaker.
Hippocrates was the perfect helper for her hobby. He had this comforting way about him, which could calm down even the most distressed critters.
His gift also worked wonders with humans too, which had really been a Godsend for Lorraine in the past few months. She had felt like she had been going through hell lately, and was as sure as the sky was blue, that she wouldn't be able to cope if she didn't have Hippocrates.
Even though she tried every way known to mankind to occupy oneself – she just could not stop worrying about Andrew fighting the Commies, over in Vietnam.
There was only one day as awful, as the day that she had received the telegram that Henry's plane had been shot down over the Sea of Japan – the night before Andrew's eighteenth birthday.
It was about eight o'clock in the evening, when Andrew asked if Lorraine would come and join him at the kitchen table. His tone was very respectful and resolved, which in turn, immediately put Lorraine's maternal instincts on high alert.
Andrew had always been a bit of a wild child growing up, and his rebellious nature only blossomed once he hit his teenage years. He did everything from skipping school, to attending crazy summer time music festivals, to sneaking out in the middle of the night to go to wild parties with friends.
Despite the combined efforts of herself, her parents, as well as Henry's mother – there was no way of controlling Andrew.
Lorraine had devoted her every waking minute to ensuring that she could give her children the best life possible without their Father. Therefore, she could not fathom as to why Andrew resented her so much.
After several years of tiring arguments and failed attempts at discipline, she finally came to the conclusion that there wasn't a person or thing on Earth that could help her son. She realized that Andrew was so troubled because, he was – and always had been – a boy without a Father.
A couple years after Henry's death she had tried going out on a few dates with men from the country club, but it all just felt too wrong to her. Sure, Henry was no Clark Gable or Errol Flynn – but he was the perfect man in her eyes. Nobody could replace her late husband, so she figured why bothering trying.
The night that her son had sat her down at the kitchen table though, was the first time that she had ever doubted her decision to remain a widow.
Every word of that conversation would forever be etched into her memory.
"Mom, I know that this won't be easy for you to hear – but I ask you to please not say anything until I am finished talking. Okay?"
Lorraine swallowed nervously, as she folded her hands on the table in front of her. Feeling too anxious to speak; she simply nodded her head in agreement.
After sucking in a deep breath and exhaling, Andrew began, "I know that I haven't been a model son for you… and I'm sorry for how much trouble and pain I've caused you over the years. Without Dad being around, I should have stepped up and been more of a man. Instead, I've wasted my time by ignoring my studies and going to stupid parties. Well, it's far past time that I become the man that I know Dad would have wanted me to be, which is why first thing tomorrow morning; I am going to walk downtown to the enlistment office and sign up to be a paratrooper."
Out of nowhere, a bout of bile surged up from Lorraine's stomach to her mouth and she ran over to the kitchen sink as fast as she could.
Memories of how she felt in the days following Henry's death, and the inconsolable cries of her daughter when she told them that Dad would never be coming home – charged through her mind like a freight train.
After Lorraine had thrown up practically everything that she had eaten during the day, she wiped off her mouth and face with a nearby kitchen towel. She then washed the throw up down the drain with the tap before returning to her previous seat at the table.
The immense shock she was in, prohibited her from feeling or portraying any type of emotion as she began to speak, "Andy honey, I –"
"Mom, I'm not done yet," Andrew politely interrupted. His wide eyes and uneasy tone conveyed that he was quite upset by how much his words had impacted his Mother.
"Of course," Lorraine replied quite flatly. She couldn't possible imagine what else her son had to tell her, but let him continue on anyways.
"I don't want to just sit around and wait for my draft letter to show up in the mail. Dad died after serving our country. Hell, helped to establish the most efficient medical units in Korea during the war. I want to do the same thing that he did – I want to serve my country. The Army has turned many a boy into real men before… now I think that it's my turn."
Lorraine found herself thoroughly shocked at her son's stance on the Army. Never in a million years would she have guessed that he would willing want to be a part of the institution that had stolen the one thing he had ever wanted in his life – his dad.
Furthermore, Lorraine knew that Andrew hung around the crowd his age that detested the concept of the current war. She had heard him discuss how awful and barbaric the idea of the war was to his friends over the phone, multiple times.
Was this just a sudden change in mindset? Or did he just conceal his true feelings so that he could fit in with his peers?
None of those questions mattered though, because judging by the seriousness in Andrew's brown eyes and his firmly set jaw – he had made his decision and nothing she could say would stop him.
Lorraine knew from talk, that once Uncle Sam had gotten a hold of him; they would snatch him away within a matter of days and whisk him off to basic training. The last thing she wanted was for what could be one of their last conversations to be an argument. So, she straightened up her posture and forced a small smile upon her face.
"Well if that is what you want to do Andrew, then I cannot stop you. Maybe the Army will be good for you; allow you to really discover what it means to live life."
Andrew let out a huge sigh of relief. He had expected the conversation to escalate into a full on yelling match, like most of their talks usually do. Moreover, he had his Mother's support which meant more to him than words could describe.
"Thank you for understanding, Mom," Andrew stated sincerely as he stood up from his chair. He held his arms out towards Lorraine and told her, "come and hug me now."
Lorraine didn't waste any time and pulled her son into such a tight embrace that he could barely breath. She stroked his sandy hair with one hand as she whispered into his ear, "You must promise me this, Andrew. You will return home to me… you must."
"I promise, Mom. I am going to be the best damn paratrooper the Army ever saw."
After taking one last bite of her muffin; Lorraine scratched Hippocrates on the head which signalled to him that it was time to get up. She then stood up, and bent down gather up her empty dishes from the small glass table beside the swing. As she straightened her back and turned around to head inside the house – she stopped dead in her tracks when she heard a car screech to halt in front of her driveway.
Out of nowhere, Hippocrates started to growl furiously which was completely out of the ordinary. In fact, Lorraine had never heard the dog growl before that moment.
A sudden heavy and familiar feeling formed in the bottom of her gut. She closed her eyes and prayed that her instincts wrong.
After taking in a deep breath, she gathered enough courage to turn and see who the mystery visitor was. The porcelain plate and cup in her hand feel freely from her grasp and shattered into a million pieces onto the wooden boards, when she a man in a uniform get out of the car and began to walk up her driveway with a letter in hand.
A/N: Yeah so I know I said that I'd get back to work on, Don't Let Me Fall for You – but apparently my brain has other ideas.This will be a short story. There will be two more chapters following this. You can expect appearances from most of your favorite M*A*S*H gang.
I'd really appreciate some feedback on what you thought of this chapter. I hope I've succeeded in turning Lorraine Blake into a fully dimensional character, and not just the flat almost non-existent character like in the show.
Thanks for taking the time out of your day to read this.