2003 Papa Bear Awards - Nominated
Best Challenge - Word of the Week (clamber)
This story takes place following the events chronicled in our story 'Games of a Heart: A Father's Story.' It was also written in response to a challenge posted on the Hogan's Heroes SmartGroup's list. This challenge, offered by Lauren (the Oboe One!), was to utilize the word "clamber" in a Hogan's Heroes Fan Fiction. We again do not make any claims on the original Hogan’s Heroes’ characters. All other characters are ours. But again, those characters are free for anyone to use, if you so choose. Our rating for this story would be G. Enjoy!
The Word of the Day for Friday April 27, 2001 was 'Clamber' -- from Dictionary.com
clamber \KLAM-bur; KLAM-ur\, intransitive verb:
To climb with difficulty, or on all fours; -- also used figuratively.
The act of clambering.
At one point a whole horde of them fell over a shallow cliff.
Plumes of red dust rose in the air as they struggled to clamber back up.
--Thomas Beller, The Sleep-Over Artist
London, England, Feildstone US Army Base Hospital, Room A156,
June 20, 1945, 1800 Hours
Major General Robert Hogan lay in his hospital bed in a semi-conscious state. He had not yet regained consciousness from the surgery performed earlier that morning. His doctor, Colonel Rodney Ballister, hadn't expected Rob to have this reaction to the anesthesia. Concern had been steadily growing during the day, as he should have come around hours ago. The surgery was to have been only routine... to reconstruct the General's right cheekbone that had been crushed during a rather violent Gestapo interrogation during the last days of the war. While the General wasn't in the best of shape physically, all indications during the surgery had been normal. There was nothing more that Ballister or his team could do. They could only wait.
Rob was trying to open his eyes, but they just wouldn't open. He could hear voices though. Voices that seemed so very far away. Voices that he couldn't yet place. Quickly a thought passed through his mind that maybe he was in danger. From the Gestapo? But as quickly as that thought formed, it dissipated. Rob was somehow sure that he wasn't in any danger. He recognized the voices, but they weren't the voices that he would have expected. Where are Kinch, Newkirk, LeBeau and Carter?
Rob continued to struggle for some time to fight his way towards those voices, how long he wasn't sure. But his body just didn't seem to respond as it should. He felt only numb, experiencing no other sensations at all. Why? Time passed very slowly, but eventually the voices became clearer and clearer. Beth and Joe. Rob was finally able to understand the words that his fiancée Beth was whispering in his ear. She loves me. And she's asking me to please wake up? He also now heard his brother Joe trying to comfort Beth. And almost hollering at me, not to do this to them now?
What are they talking about?
Beth. Joe. Everything's fine, Rob tried to say but realized that they couldn't hear him. His heart began pounding hard in his chest, as he knew he needed to let them know that everything was okay. That he was fine. And they shouldn't worry. Why can't I get them to hear me? It seemed that the adrenaline rush was all that was needed. With that thought, his eyes snapped open and he was able to see the faces of his fiancée and brother.
"Oh Rob," was all that Beth could say. She bent down with tears in her eyes, took hold of his hand and kissed him on the cheek.
"Damn. You never do things the easy way Rob," Joe said as he came up to the bedside and put his hand on his older brother's shoulder. "Do you?"
"Huh?" Rob asked completely confused.
A third voice chimed in and Rob turned toward the sound. "Well General. I'm glad to see that you've finally decided to rejoin us," Doctor Ballister began seriously as he approached his patient. "Don't worry. Everything is fine. The surgery went well. But after that you managed to put the whole hospital in a panic. You had quite a tough time recovering from the anesthesia. You should have been awake hours ago," the doctor said almost accusingly, but quickly smirked. "I guess I should never have expected you to be an easy patient... sir."
Rob just glanced between the faces of his three visitors, until he finally had a clear memory of what was supposed to have happened that morning. "So. Everything is okay now… right?" he asked just to make sure.
Beth squeezed Rob's hand tighter and smiled. Joe sighed in relief and patted his brother on the shoulder a couple times. Doctor Ballister was the only one to respond, "Yes General. Everything is fine now. The surgery was successful. You should be up and around in just a few days."
"Thanks Doc," Rob replied relieved. "I guess that surgery just doesn't agree with me."
"It seems that's true, General. You'll just have to be more careful in the future," Ballister replied admonishing his patient and then he smiled, "But you're welcome." Ballister turned to the others and said, "If you'll excuse us, I'd like to examine the General now. I'll be done shortly. You can come back in then."
As expected the exam didn't take too long. And soon Rob watched his doctor leave the hospital room after giving him orders to rest. Rob was waiting for both Joe and Beth to return, but was surprised when Joe came back alone. "Where's Beth?" Rob asked his brother anxiously as his heart began pounding wildly in his chest. She didn't leave did she? Please say no.
"Whoa big brother. Relax. Beth just went downstairs to get something to eat. She thought she would have more time. You do realize that she's been here all day with you. And hasn't left your side once. You do know that, right?" Joe asked.
"Really?" Rob asked, but knew in his heart that it was true. She wouldn't have done anything else.
Joe didn't respond to his brother's question, knowing full well that Rob really wasn't surprised that Beth had stayed. All he said was, "You know Rob. You are a lucky guy to have found someone like Beth. I can easily see that she loves you. And after seeing your reaction to her not coming back here with me... I'm sure that you love her even more."
"Is it that obvious?" Rob asked smiling sheepishly.
"Yeah. It's that obvious," Joe said smirking at his love-struck older brother. "Congratulations big brother. Beth told me that you had proposed to her... and that she accepted. I'm really sorry that I can't be in the States for the wedding ceremony. But rest assured that I completely agree with your judgement. You and Beth are perfect for each other. All you have to do now is get passed the Mother and Father test," Joe said with sympathy. "Since I know that you haven't told either of them that Beth has said yes... Right?"
"Oh God," Rob groaned. "All I told them was that I was going to propose. You're right," Rob admitted. "I haven't told them yet that Beth had said 'yes'. Or that I want the wedding to take place while I'm home." He couldn't help but remember all the 'life' talks that his dad had given him while growing up... about finding the right girl... about not rushing into anything... about making sure that you do right by that girl... about not rushing into anything... Mom. Dad. I'm not rushing into anything. Really. It's just that life is just too short to wait. I love Beth more than you could know. Or imagine.
Beth came into the room at that moment, interrupting the two brother's discussion. She quickly sat on the bed with Rob and held his hand. The three shared some small talk for a time before Joe finally noticed that his brother and his soon-to-be sister-in-law hadn't taken their eyes off one another. Joe decided to excuse himself… to give them time to be alone. He told them that he'd be back to visit the next day.
After Joe left, Beth sat quietly holding Rob in her arms, for a long while, until he fell asleep. She only left the hospital after being forced to leave by the hospital staff.
London, England, Feildstone US Army Base Hospital, Room A156,
June 21, 1945, 0800 Hours
Rob woke the next morning concerned about last night's conversation with his brother Joe. Rob had never actually given a thought about his parents and what their feelings were toward Beth. How could they not love her? Rob finally realized that he had not told his parents much about Beth at all. Only that he loved her. Even before being shot down all those years ago, he had never told them much about her. And now I've just told them that I'm getting married, out of the blue. And they've never even met Beth. And they haven't even seen me in over four years... How would I feel if it were my son telling me all this. I'd be skeptical. Maybe even more than just skeptical... How about angry or confused?
Rob had asked one of the nurses to get him some writing paper. He needed to try to explain himself and his reasons for marrying Beth to his parents before both he and Beth showed up on his parent's doorstep in Bridgeport CT… and certainly before either Beth or Joe arrived today.
June 21, 1945
Surgery was yesterday. Everything is fine. Just a little cosmetic magic to cover for an old broken bone. No big deal at all. I'm feeling great. Really.
I'm so excited to be finally coming home. I can't wait to see everyone. Beth and I should be arriving in Bridgeport on July 29th. I'm sorry but we can only stay a couple weeks. I tried to pull some strings to stay longer, but this Military Governorship has kept me hoppin.
I know I told you Dad, that I was asking Beth to marry me. I wanted you both to know that she said YES! We are planning to get married during my visit home. And I'd love to have the ceremony at the house. Now don't panic Mom. All we are going to have is a small service. With a Justice of the Peace and immediate family only. Nothing elaborate. Okay? Isn't Frank Marshall a Justice of the Peace as well as being Deputy Mayor? Could you do me a favor? Would you ask him if he would perform the ceremony for us? If he agrees, tell him I will work out all the specifics when we arrive.
I know all of this is rather sudden. And I'm sorry for that. There just isn't much time to waste. I love Beth and she loves me. And in the long run, that is all that really matters. I know that you will love her when you meet her! She's incredible! Joe has already given Beth and I his blessing. She is all that I could ever hope for. I can't imagine living the rest of my life without her. I hope you can both truly understand.
You know Dad...
I'm sure you remember all those talks about life we had when I was growing up. Well I've always remembered one in particular. Because at the time, I never really understood what you meant. It was the time that you told me how you knew that Mom was the person that you wanted to spend the rest of your life with. You told me that whenever you two were separated that you would have a hard time breathing. And that when you were together... your heart would beat so hard... that it felt like an elephant clambering over your chest.
I finally understand.
But I don't have just one elephant...
I have the entire herd.
Please be happy for Beth and I. We will see you soon.
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