The Letter Home
ML Miller Breedlove
No ownership of the Hogan's Heroes characters is implied or inferred. Copyright belongs to others and no infringement is intended.
A tear worked its way down James Hogan’s cheek, as he proclaimed, “Darling, he’s smiling at me!”
“James, dear, he’s not smiling at you. That’s just gas!”
The proud father looked into the face of his newborn son…and smiled back.
The autumn sun fell on James’ back, on this clear September afternoon, warming him like a gentle hug. He was only a few yards away from the house, sitting in the shade of his favorite maple tree, but he was miles away in thought. The letter in his hand had opened the door on a flood of memories.
A robin’s song temporarily drew James back to the present. Looking up, he watched as the bird leapt from the tree and flew away, setting off another string of memories.
“Bird!” The small hand pointed with a bent finger.
“Airplane, son,” the father corrected, as he looked at the smiling face of his two- year old.
“Bird!” the boy answered more determinedly, his brown eyes twinkling.
A single engine plane flew into view taking the place of the vanishing robin. A hint of mischief showed on James Hogan’s face.
“Dad, there’s a pilot down at Hanson’s field. He’s giving plane rides for a dollar!” Excitement broke out in a smile on his son’s face, spilling into his eyes!
“Your mother would have us both standing in a corner if…” His son’s enthusiasm stopped him cold. “All right, Rob, let’s go…it’ll be our secret!”
The years continued to whip by in James Hogan's thoughts until, grabbing at a more recent memory; he swore he could… hear…
Rumble, Rumble, Rumble, Zoooom, Zooooooom! A thunderous roar echoed through the neighborhood. James, leaving his morning paper on the porch swing, walked to the street determined to keep the person who was creating this early morning ruckus from waking the entire neighborhood. Standing, hands on hips, he waited for the metal monster to show itself.
It wasn’t long before the motorcycle came into view. Leaning at a thirty degree angle, its rider rounded the corner and shifted into high gear. Hugging the handle bars, the dark haired youth headed down the straight stretch of road that lay ahead, before skidding to a grinding halt in the Hogan driveway.
“Dad!” The face, red with exhilaration, broke into a broad grin, “I’ve joined the army!”
James forgot what he had set out to do, and embraced his son.
Now, looking back, the day Rob left for the army seemed like both yesterday and forever ago. James looked at the letter, still in his hands, and once more reminisced.
“I passed the tests, Dad; I’m going to be a pilot!” The voice crackled over the party-line. “Dad? Can you hear me?
“Yes, Rob, I hear you!” James answered. Smiling at the excitement in his son’s voice, he swallowed the lump in his throat and added, “You’ll be a good one, son!”
Taking in a long steady breath, James Hogan looked up at the blue cloudless sky and smiled. “I’m proud of you son!”
Now, firmly in the present, he again read the crumpled letter in his hand. The words on the page ran together, as his eyes filled with a fathers pride once more, and he read with an aching heart….
“…We regret to inform you that your son is missing in action…missing in action…missing…” The words echoed in his head.
And a tear worked its way down James Hogan’s cheek.
Text and original characters copyright 2005 by ML Miller Breedlove
This copyright covers only original material and characters, and in no way intends to infringe upon the privileges of the holders of the copyrights, trademarks, or other legal rights, for the Hogan's Heroes universe.