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Thanksgiving, 1993

Thanksgiving, 1993
by Rita Ractliffe

Rated:  Entire book R-X overall, this chapter PG


Summary:  Hannibal had surrendered himself to Vietnam to save his son, now the
Team and families face their  first "free" thanksgiving without the Colonel beside them.


Warnings: None for this Chapter, sappy probably, maybe more hankies and tissue..

Disclaimer: A-Team characters were created by Cannell and Lupo and are owned by Universal.
  Original characters and story otherwise belong to me.


Copyright: 2000


Thanksgiving, 1993

        It was the first Thanksgiving that the Team had been able to
spend together as a family, with their families, in freedom.  The
trial was over, they had their pardons, and they could do anything
they wanted.  The first thing they wanted to do was have a big
Thanksgiving dinner and invite everybody.  Considering all the
different locations they were in, they finally decided to hold it at
BA's mom's house.  She had pretty much insisted, since she wanted
Scooter and all his friends/family to come spend it with her.

        Maggie had fun trying to control the boys, but had been more
than happy to make the effort because she desperately wanted to be
with someone since she couldn't be with the one she loved most.
There was a lot of conviviality, happy spirits, etc.

        At dinner, Maggie fixed a plate for Truan and a smaller one
for the fretful Jon.  She had him balanced on her knee, feeding him
some mashed potatoes and gravy, which he seemed hell bent on
spreading all over her.

        BA's mom watched amused, then offered, "You know, that's got
to be the most beautiful baby I have ever seen in my whole life...
and I have seen some beautiful babies!"  She sneaked a look at BA,
mortifying him no end.

        Truan looked up at Maggie and grinned.  "Yeah.  He my

        Maggie smiled back.  "I have two beautiful children, mama

        The older woman caught her gaffe and smiled.  "Ah, but you
have a young man sitting next to you.  He's beautiful too, but I was
thinking you have a beautiful baby and a beautiful young man...
you're a lucky lady."

        Maggie smiled, a glimmer in her eye and flashed the older
lady a look of gratitude for understanding that the other child
needed reinforcement as well, perhaps more so than the baby.

        Thanh took his place next to BA grinning.  "Yeah, and I have
a new Vietnam brother.  This is a great day."

        They were feeling very mellow and relaxed, although all were
studiously avoiding the obvious.  The one person who should be here
wasn't, and try as they may, they could not put him out of their
collective minds.

        Finally mama Baracus brought out the turkey, depositing it in
the center of the table.  Truan's eyes grew wide at the sight.  He'd
never seen a bird so huge.  He looked up at Maggie.  "That all for
us, Doc Maggie?"

        "Yes, dear.  For all of us sitting here."

        "Where dad?  Why he not here?"

        Maggie raised stricken eyes to everyone at the table.
"Someone want to help me?"

        "Yo daddy is still in Vietnam, Truan.  But he's thinkin' of
us and especially you."  BA's covered the awkward moment graciously
and Maggie flashed him a look of thanks.

        Mrs.  Baracus spoke.  "Well, children, before we start in on
this here bird, first we give praise and thanks to the lord, for
bringing us all here, safely, this year.  We say blessing to God
Almighty for our gifts."

        They all grew properly solemn and waited for her.  She then
looked at BA.  "Scooter, will you do the honors?"

        BA waffled, never enjoying the limelight.  "Aw, mama, I ain'
no good at this kinda thing."  He felt a dig in his ribs and looked
over at Sheila who whispered.  "You do what your mama says, BA."

        "I ain' no good at this impromptu speakin' stuff...
Hannibal's always been the one fo that."  He then realized he'd said
the taboo and looked at everyone helplessly.

        "Well, then, I would like for each of you to say something."

        They all mulled that over and nodded.  In that light, BA
began.  "Thank you Lord for this meal's we's 'bout to get, thank you
for our company and thank you for us bein' together once again and
thank you for us bein' free."  He then looked at his right at

        The pilot considered for a moment, then plunged in.  "Thank
you, Lord for this bounteous meal which mama Baracus has brought to
us.  We thank you for it and we thank you for her.  We thank you for
each other.  We thank you for our freedom.  We thank you for the
small ones growing up whom we now have care of.  Thank you Lord for
all of it."  He turned to his right and passed off to Face.

        Peck seemed at a loss for words.  "Ah... ummm.... uh..."

        Maggie muttered at him.  "C'mon Face, you're the one from the
orphanage, the one with the priests always behind him."

        "Yeah, but..."

        "Face.... no buts, mister..."

        "Alright.  Thank you Lord for bringing us together again in
safety.  Thank you for this marvelous meal, which I'm sure we're
going to demolish."  A gentle ripple of laughter made its way around
the table.  "Thank you for all our extended family, that we may be
seated here, all together with no fear of reprisal.  Thank you Lord
for our children, especially for our children.  Thank you lord
for..." here he faltered, looking up at everyone his eyes glistening.
 Then he forged ahead.  "Thank you for the one person we all wish
like hell...uh, sorry, heck, was sitting here with us."

        Maggie suddenly choked.  She hadn't been expecting that.

        Face realized what he'd done to her, but it was too late to
back down now.  "Wherever he is, please bless Hannibal this day.  Let
him know what day it is and let him know that we are thinking of him.
 Let him know we would give anything to have him here with us."  All
the heads nodded, a glum spirit having been introduced to the
festivities.  Face faltered unable to think of anything else to say.

        Maggie's eyes teared up and now it was her turn.  She wasn't
sure if she could do it.  Taking a quick swallow of water, she looked
at each of them and then [jumped] into it.  "Thank you Lord for this
marvelous meal.  Thank you Lord for giving us Mom Baracus and for BA
who lets us share her with him, our grandma, grandma to all of us.
Thank you Lord for giving us each other, for giving me these two
children which have become the joy of my life.  Thank you for the
freedom of the men seated here, the Team, and for our being able to
be together here in that freedom.  And Lord, please... if you have
any favors left for any of us, if you could possibly see your way to
bringing freedom to another one of us who doesn't have it right now
and who so desperately needs it.  Dear God, please bless Hannibal
wherever he is, keep him well, keep him healthy, keep him..." her
voice choked again, then she recovered.  "Don't let him become
depressed.  Let him know we think of him every minute, that we love
him and we want him home.  And... keep him alive, dear God, please...
keep him alive."

        At that, she couldn't go on any further, and choking, bowed
her head as the tears started trickling down.

        BA punched Face in the ribs.  "Now see what you done?"

        "I'm sorry, BA, it just slipped out.  I wasn't trying to mess
everybody up."

        "Well, thas what you done did."

        "It just seemed appropriate.  It's not right without him

        Maggie finally blinked away the tears and looked up at them.
"It's okay, Face.  I could never forgive you if you pretended he
wasn't here or ignored his absence.  We all know how I feel, I can't
help that.  You feel the same way.  God, if we can't talk about it,
then what kind of a 'family' are we?  It's just hard to think about
it, to say it out loud."  She reached for a napkin to blot away her
tears and at least six suddenly appeared from all ends of the table.
She couldn't help but chuckle at the sight.  "Okay... I've got one.
I mean here we're sitting ... all the little things that... life
comes together and Hannibal's in the back of our minds.  We're busy,
we're living life, we're doing... and then suddenly you stop and
think about him... and where he is and that he's not here.  It just
gets to me."

        Mama Baracus had watched all of this with a wise and loving
eye.  "Well, child, you just hang on to that thought.  He gonna be
with us soon, I just know it... I feel it in my bones.  He not gonna
be over there all that time, he not."

        Maggie nodded, dispiritedly.  "I hope not.  I hope he comes
home as soon as possible, and I hope he comes home in one piece..."
She gave a sly look to the Team - they knew exactly what she meant.
"Comes home the man he left.  That's what frightens me most - that
they will have destroyed his mind, his will somehow."

        "No, I don't think so."  Murdock piped up out of the corner.
"Hannibal's a lot of things, but he is way too strong willed for his
own good for those Vietnamese to mess him up."

        Maggie nodded, trying to think upbeat thoughts in that line,
but it was hard.  Knowing that pigheadedness of his, she only prayed
it didn't get him killed.

        They all knew in their heart of hearts that Hannibal was a
target, had been a target since the first moment he'd walked into
that prison.  So it was hard to realistically expect that he would
come out completely unscathed from it.  The men remembered the damage
done from the rape at the camp.  It had taken a long while to get
Hannibal back to himself.  They'd done it, but it had been a battle
every step of the way... and that had only been three weeks of
torture and torment.  He'd been locked away inside that damned prison
now for nearly two years.

        They picked up the prayer again.  The children, Thanh and
Truan each said a small prayer, thanking God for the meal, mama
Baracus, their uncles, Mom and Doc Maggie.  It had finally come back
to Mom Baracus.

        "Thank you Lord for bringin' mah family home.  Thank you for
letting them sit here at my table to partake of the food you have
provided us.  And yes, Lord, I add my humble prayer to all the others
- please bring our Colonel home to us.  We wants our Hannibal to be
sittin' here with us... and if it wouldn' be too much trouble, Lord,
sooner would be better.  Amen."

        A murmured amen made the rounds of the table.  They each sat
for a long moment, silently visualizing their leader, their friend,
their heart.   Then BA broke it by grabbing a bowl full of vegetables
and passed it around, getting the dinner started.

TBC (in book)


Thanksgiving, 1993 by Rita Ractliffe



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