HOPE'S CALLING-CHAPTER 1- ARRIVAL

Nurse, Lt. Hope Jones is assigned to MASH 4077. Her arrival causes Father Mulcahey to question his calling as a priest. Hope has a somewhat disquieting effect on Hawkey as well.

CHAPTER ONE

Lt. Hope Jones arrived at the 4077 when a new batch of wounded soldiers had just come in. She hopped out of the jeep, grabbed her bags and looked for someone who could show her to the Head Nurse. Feeling a little bewildered, she stood still for a moment trying to get her bearings. Hope noticed a man wearing a hat rushing around with a small prayer book in his hand.

She touched the man on the shoulder and said, "Excuse me I'm the new nurse y'all have been expecting. Can you show me where the Head Nurse is, please?"

The man turned around and she saw the crucifix around his neck. "He must be the chaplain here," she thought. His kind smile tugged at her heart. "Why I'd be glad to. Just follow me. By the way, I'm Father Mulcahey."

They shook hands. "Nice to meet you Father. It looks like I came at a very busy time."

He responded, "You certainly did. Let me get you to Major Houlihan. She's our Head Nurse."

He led her across the compound to where the Major was kneeling beside a wounded soldier. She saw his shadow and sighed, "Yes Father, what do you want?"

Mulcahey said, "I brought you the nurse you've been expecting."

Major Houlihan looked up to see who the priest was talking about. "You must be Lt. Jones. Drop your things in the nurse's tent and go scrub up for O.R."

Hope was taken aback at the Major's gruffness. "Yes ma'am. I am on my way.''

Fr. Mulcahey called after her, "After the O.R. session is over, I'll introduce you to everyone."

"Thanks, I'm looking forward to it" she called back and waved as she headed for the nurses tent.

Once scrubbed up, Hope entered the O.R. She froze. She had worked in an O.R. before, but never in a war zone. Hope was not prepared for what she saw, the number of wounded being operated on at the same time, the noise and the blood..

Major Houlihan bellowed at her across the room. "Jones, snap out of it! Come over here and assist Col. Potter. Now! Move it!"

Hope jumped. "Yes Ma'am, right away." She moved to the Colonel's side.

He looked at her and smiled. Well at least she could see the smile in his eyes above his mask.

"Welcome, Lieutenant to the 4077th. This is not exactly the way I had hoped to meet you."

"Me too, sir", she responded. "This is a little overwhelming for me. I have worked in an O.R. before, but not one in a war zone.

"It does take some getting used to. It won't be easy, but it will get better. I promise."

"Thank you, sir." Then Hope focused on assisting Col. Potter.

After 8 hours and the last patient had been taken to Post Op, Hope stumbled to the laundry bin and tossed her bloody scrubs in it. She stretched and rubbed her back. It had been a while since she had had to assist for that long at one time.

She walked outside as the sun was setting. Hope couldn't decide which she need more- a strong cup of coffee or just to collapse in her bunk.

Father Mulcahey walked up to her. "Are you ready to meet everybody?"

Hope sighed, "I'm sorry Father, I'm so tired, I don't know what to do."

Mulcahey smiled. "I know what you mean. Why don't we go to the mess tent and get a cup of coffee? At least you can get off your feet that way and I make those introductions I promised you.

"O.k.", she responded.

They entered the mess tent and got cups of coffee. The priest steered them over to a table where Col. Potter, Hawkeye, BJ, and Charles were sitting.

Col. Potter was the first to speak. "Hello again, Lt. Jones. How are you holding up?"

"Alright, sir. Just incredibly tired., she responded.

"Well, now. Introductions are in order," Father Mulcahey said. "Lt. Hope Jones, Here are the rest of the surgeons on staff. This is Captain B.J. Hunnicutt to my right. And across the table from you is Captain Hawkeye Pierce and Major Charles Winchester."

BJ nodded and smiled, "Welcome to the mad house."

Charles simply nodded said "Welcome" in his Boston Brahmin accent.

Hawkeye reached across the table and shook Hope's hand a little longer than necessary. His eyes twinkled as he said, "Don't tell me, you have sisters named Faith and Charity."

Hope laughed and answered, "Actually I do. My dad is a minister and he chose those names because they come from his favorite Bible verse."

"Ah, yes," Fr. Mulcahey said. "That's from First Corinthians chapter 13, verse 13, I believe.""And now abideth faith, hope and charity, but the greatest of these is charity."

"Bingo," Hope laughed. "That's it. But don't tell my baby sister the greatest is Charity, because she already thinks she's the queen bee of our little town!"

Col. Potter stood up. "I hate to break up this little confab, but I think we all should getting some shut eye while we can."

Everyone else at the table followed the Colonel's cue and got up to leave. They said their "good nights" and went to their tents. Well everyone except Hawkeye.

"Lieutenant, may I walk with you to your tent? Wouldn't want you to get lost on the way." He grinned.

"O.K., thanks," Hope responded.

It was only a few steps to the nurse's tent.

"Well good night Hawkeye. Thanks for the escort."

She turned to go inside the tent, thinking Hawkeye had already left. But there he stood just looking at her. "My God'" he thought. "She's lovely. I could get lost in those green eyes of hers." He had an expression on his face like a love sick teenager.

"Uh Lieutenant, Hope? Maybe we could go over to the Officer's Club tomorrow night and get to know each other better?"

She turned to face him. "Yea, that would be nice. Good night." Then she went inside the tent.

Hawkeye "floated" to the swamp. When he entered, BJ teased him, "Well it looks like Dr. Pierce has come down with the love bug." He laughed as he ducked the pillow Hawkeye threw at him.

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