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.“Wow! Hard to believe the 'Father of our Country' was afraid of anything.So duty kept him focused when he was scared? Man, that's impressive,” David said, still astonished by this new piece of information.“Inspiring,” Dr.Morgan corrected with an insinuating smile.“Hmm, yes, very inspiring,” David replied back with his own reassuring smile.“So I may presuppose that you will be joining me for dinner this evening?” the old doctor asked.“Well, what kind of man would I be if I turned tail and ran after that kind of story? Besides, now that I'm thinking more clearly, where would I go if I did leave?” David replied with an appreciative smile.Extending his hand, he continued, “Thanks for the help, doc.I owe you one.”As Dr.Morgan shook David's hand, a confused look came over his face.“One what?” He asked.“It's just a figure of speech,” David replied.Dr.Morgan nodded simply, then retracted his hand.Without another word spoken, the two turned and walked back toward Dr.Morgan's grazing horse and the waiting wounded in need of treatment.Walking side by side, the scuffle of their footsteps was the only sound between the two as both reflected on their previous dialogue.The two reached Dr.Morgan's horse and prepared to mount two on one horse.As David watched the old doctor climb up into the saddle, he asked, “So your dad worked on George Washington, eh? What did he say about him? What stood out in his mind the most about the ‘father of our country’?”Reaching for the reins, Dr.Morgan immediately replied without hesitation, “He had a propensity toward exceptionally foul and unrepentant flatulence.”At first, David wasn't sure if he heard the old doctor correctly, but replaying his words in his mind, there was no question of what he heard.David's stomach twitched.As the corners of his mouth began to turn up, he forced them back down.David felt the makings of a laugh approaching and struggled to contain it, as he was not sure how Dr.Morgan would react.He did not want to insult the old doctor, but subject matter of this nature was just too overpowering for David's self-control.Slowly and steadily, he felt it: the involuntary muscle spasms that signal an oncoming laughing spell.David bit his lip and pushed his fingernails into his palms, hoping that the pain would derail his impending laughter.It was not to be.Like a broken dam, David let out a bellowous, uncontained laugh, bringing tears to his eyes and almost losing his breath.“The guy was a farter?” David roared, throwing impropriety to the wind.With a straight face and even tone, Dr.Morgan replied, “I hear tell he could clean out a tavern faster than rats on a sinking ship.Not the sort of thing becoming of such royalty, I admit, but I suppose every man fights his own demons.”“And unrepentant no less.” David added.At that, both men joined in, each other’s laughter propelling the other to newer heights.David was bent over his knees.Tears dripped from his eyes and pooled on the dirt below him.The old doctor wasn't faring much better, as he struggled to stay atop his horse as his body writhed in the saddle.As the laughter died down a bit, Dr.Morgan extended his hand to David, offering him a lift up on top of the horse.Still chuckling, David step forward, placed his foot in the stirrup and hauled himself up behind the old doctor.Still laughing, Dr.Morgan reiterated once more, “Yep, foul and unrepentant.”“I suppose being father of your country affords you certain liberties,” David replied, still chuckling.“I suppose,” Dr.Morgan added.With a snap of the reins he sent his horse off on a trot, and the two settled in for the short ride back to camp, their spirits now somewhat renewed.TT: Chapter 7August 12th 1862The cool evening air carried with it the varied scents from across the valley.With each inhalation, the essence of wildflowers, dried grasses, corn fields, as well as rich fertile soil went mostly undetected.Sitting by their campfires, the Union soldiers stared into the burning embers and allowed the cool, crisp air to heal their tortured minds.As the warm, gentle touch from the flames brushed against the soldiers’ skin, it quieted their minds and cleansed them of their ill memories, clearing the way for reparation and reconciliation.The absence of the customary clamor signaled the catharsis occurring within.Nearly three days after the harried retreat from Cedar Mountain, David, Dr.Morgan and the other doctors finally completed the last of their surgeries.On the edge of complete physical collapse, David sat by the fire’s edge and leaned again a small boulder.The hardships and tragedies of the previous day’s events flashed repeatedly through his mind, and David, like others, used the healing powers of the fire to help him make peace with the violent and disturbing images.“We did well, David,” Dr.Morgan said as he sipped his coffee from across the fire.“I can't believe we worked for nearly forty-eight hours with nothing more than a catnap.I think I did more surgeries in the past two days than the whole of my entire medical career, and that includes pulling the wings off flies as a kid,” David replied, still able to joke through his exhaustion.“Hmm, an auspicious start to be sure,” Dr.Morgan replied, slightly disturbed by David's revelation.“Doc, I'm kidding! It was just a little joke.I never pulled the wings off flies as a child,” David retorted at the sight of Doc's change in demeanor.David paused a moment for effect, then added, “It wasn't until medical school that I learned to do that surgically.”“My God, man.You mean to tell me that the study of medicine now includes the dissection of fly wings? Amazing, simply amazing.What will they think of next?” Dr.Morgan returned energetically, paused a moment in thought, then continued, “Although I'm not sure I see the connection between the human anatomy and the common insect.”“Doc, there isn't one.I was joking again,” David said, now chuckling at how far the joke had gone.Dr.Morgan stared at David for a moment.All expression was gone from his face as he processed the previous exchange.Finally, as David laughed, he too understood the humor and joined in.“I owe you one,” Dr.Morgan replied smiling, using the 20th Century saying he remembered David using [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]

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