A Mother’s Worry by Shelley H.

Word Count 1,583

The story is in answer to the May 2021 Mother’s Day Challenge on facebooks Lancer Fan Fiction

AU as Catherine is still alive, Johnny is 15, Scott is 18 and Maria is not in the picture. (It’s a story on its own. This is about Catherine.)
Based in the 1960’s during the Vietnam war, inspired by Letters From War by Mark Schultz and 8th of November by Big and Rich, both amazing songs, for different reasons.
I own nothing

Rated PG for war themed violence, but not graphic detail.

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Catherine Garrett- Lancer stirred the pot on the stove, before wiping her hands on her apron and going to the living room.

Her husband, Murdoch Lancer sat in his favorite chair, reading the paper, and her two boys, 17 year old, Scott and 15 year old Johnny played chess.

The news was on, going over the Vietnam War and soon turned to the Draft Lottery.

Catherine sat heavily in her chair.

The paper fell from Murdoch’s hands.

Johnny looked to his brother, eyes wide.

And Scott Garrett Lancer let his king fall.

****

Catherine stood at the bus stop with Scott, and watched as a bus prepared to pull out, a mother to be holding the hand of a young soldier, who was leaning out the window.

She discreetly wiped a year away, and Scott put his arm around her, kissing her forehead.

“I’ll be back, Mama. I promise.”

Catherine looked into her oldest son’s eyes and smiled, “I know you will, son. I know you will. You make us proud, Scott.”

The tall teenager studied his shoes, “I’m not so sure of that, Mother. Father seemed so….” he trailer off, not knowing how to continue.

The beautiful blond brushed the hair from her boy’s eyes, “Your father is a hard man, Scott. But don’t ever think he doesn’t love you, or care about you. This isn’t easy on him, either. And if he hadn’t of had to take care of the oil company, he would be here. And so would Johnny.”

Scott smirked, “Lancer Oil has done a lot for us. But so has the cattle. I’m going to miss your steaks and Johnny slipping his vegetables to Ginger,” he said, referring to the family dog.

Catherine kissed her son’s cheek, one last time, before he boarded the bus.

Catherine wrote Scott every day, letting him know the latest events and his little brothers newest escapades. She talked about the newest herds and the auctions.

About Thanksgiving and how she wished he was there.

He received a letter from his dad wishing him a happy birthday, and that was it.

But Catherine wrote four pages and Johnny wrote another two about what they were doing for his and Murdoch’s birthdays. Catherine smiled, all her boy’s had birthdays in December.

She told him about the Christmas preparations they had and that they had his presents set aside for when he came back.

Spring came, and with it, the memories of the years she had lost with her husband and stepson. No! That was her baby, just the same if she had birthed him. Ten years ago, she regained her memory after the terrible accident that left her in a coma and where she had almost lost Scott, if it hadn’t been for the amazing doctor that had been called in.

But her father used that time to continue his corrupt dealings, only then, her and her son were used as pawns. She found the letters Murdoch had sent, in her father’s desk. She also found where he had found Murdoch had remarried after her death, two, almost  three years later. And the memories came rushing back.

She got 8 year old Scott from school in Boston and had packed a few of their belongings, and went to the bus station.

Three days later, they arrived in California and two days later, she stood on a hill over looking the mansion her husband had finished, Scott holding tightly to her hand.

She held their suitcases and Scott held his bag, as she knocked on the door.

A little dark headed boy with bright blue eyes opened the door.

Catherine shook her heard as she hung out the laundry.

“These are for you, mama,” came the voice behind her

Turning, she saw those same blue eyes in the face of the young man before her.

She looked at the wildflowers and smiled, “Thank you, son,” she said, taking the flowers and smelling them, surprised when he took her hand and led her to the harder she had started, the roses in full bloom and iris as well. Turning to the rose archway she gasped, as she took in the sight before her, “Happy Mother’s day, mama.” And on the table, complete with French food, a nod to her French ancestry. And in the middle set the prettiest floral arrangement…. from Scott.

Johnny pulled her chair out for her, and sit next to her, before passing a package to her.

And Catherine felt her heart swell, as she wrote Scott that night, and told him that she would be fully adopting his little brother within three weeks.

It was late July 1970 when she got the letter that no mother ever wants to receive.

It described a young man who was pinned down and injured, saved by another young soldier, who rushed him back to the allied lines. The young man gave him and address and told him to write her.

“Ma’am, your son saved my life and that of three others, before he was captured. I swore to him I’d write you and let you know what happened. I’m sorry, Mrs. Lancer.

Sincerely,

Richard James

Murdoch read the letter and went to his study, closing the door.

Johnny ran out to the barn and soon was riding off, probably to his and Scott’s secret place.

Maria, the housekeeper silently wiped her tears and went to the kitchen.

And Catherine walked to her garden, sat on the swing and wept.

For the next two years, Catherine wrote to all the hometown servicemen that she could.

It was the fall of 1971 when the black military car pulled into the drive. Catherine was putting a pumpkin on the front step when it parked.

She fell on the steps, and wiped her tears. Her baby was gone. That was the only reason the military would even show up at her door.

“Mama?”

And if Catherine Lancer had ever been happier in her life, she couldn’t remember when.

She stood and Scott Sept her into a hug, dropping his bags on the ground by them.

Johnny heard voices and came around the corner of the house, and ran to his brother.

Murdoch stood on the steps and looked at his oldest son, before pulling him into an embrace, “Welcome home, son.”

****

Scott sat on the swing in the garden and stared at the night sky, watching as the stars twinkled. Catherine sat by him and handed him a cup of coffee, before covering their laps with the blanket she brought with her, “It’s a bit cold out, son. Sam said you may be more susceptible to sickness for sometime.”

She didn’t need to ask why, nor delve deeper in to the conversation the doctor had with her and her husband.

Scott had left his door half open when he had changed shirts and she had seen the scars, and knew why the cane was necessary, although, temporarily.

Scott took the coffee and savored the hot beverage.

Although he had been home a few days, this was the first time he and his mother had been able to talk.

“Mama, you know your letters are the main reason I made it home, right?”

Catherine smiled slightly, “I’m glad they helped you, Scott. I’m so glad you’re home. We’ve missed you so much.”

Scott put his arm around her, “Me too, mama. Me too.”

She looked to the front yard where the American flag flew and then at the black POW/ MIA flag next to it. She would never forget.

****

And all over the United States, men were returning to their homes, each with a letter from a mother they would probably never meet, telling them to make it home and be safe.

Mother’s day rolled around again, and this time, it was Scott who came up to his mother and put a blind fold on her, while Johnny took her hand, and they led her to the garden. And this time, the whole family was there, including her father, who had recently reached out and asked if he could ever be forgiven for what he had done.

Two weeks later, Johnny stood in the living room with Catherine adjusting his tie and making sure his tassel was on the right side. She smiled at her baby. He was graduating, and she couldn’t have been more proud.

Johnny kissed her cheek, “Thank you, mama, for everything.” And even though, she had heard that word for the past 13 years, Catherine was grateful each and every time

End
May 2021

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Author Notes:

I hope this meets the Mother’s Day Challenge, and is special enough to be a Mother’s Day story.

Garrett is a French and German surname

I know nothing about chess.

I guessed about calling in for a flower arrangement, especially in 1969. Floral arrangements had been around since the 1880’s.

The POW flag was created in 1971, by Mrs. Michael Hoff. (Centraliowa . Va . Gov)

Possible prequel to come if enough people want it.

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