The Draft Board

Margaret Hatch slowly stood up from her easy chair and move across the room to the black telephone with a dial on the front.  She carefully picked up the receiver and listened to make sure no one else was on the party line.  Holding the advertisement in one hand along with the receiver, she carefully dialed the number.


"Jones, Smith and Anderson,"  the voice on the other end answered.


"Oh, yes, I saw your advertisement about making sure that my will was in proper order.  Can you help me?"


"Well, of course ma'am.  If you'll just give me your name, I'll just see what time is open for you to come into our office."


"Margaret Hatch, but everyone calls me Maggie."


"Why yes, we have an opening tomorrow at 10:00.  Would that be convenient for you?"


"That'll be just fine.  I'll be there at 10:00." 


The following morning about 9:30 Maggie gathered up all her personal papers and put them in a paper sack and walked the five short blocks from her small white house to the main street of Quinton, OK.  She walked into the lawyer's office and was met by a receptionist that said, "May I help you?"


"Ah, yes, I'm Maggie Hatch and I have an appointment for 10:00." 


"Oh of course.  Let me just dial the young man that will help you initially.  He's a paralegal that works for the attorneys."  Turning to the intercom the receptionist said, "Steve, Ms. Hatch is here."


Momentarily a young man about 25 appeared in the doorway and with a smile said, "Good Morning Ms. Hatch would you come this way?"  Shortly Maggie was laying out all of her important papers on the table for the paralegal to look at.  Steve learned that she had lost her husband a few years ago and that she still got a portion of his pension from his years at working at the post office.  She also got a small pension for her years at working for the government herself.  She had one son still living and that he lived in Texas and came home infrequently to see her.  She had two cats, owned her own home, and a small insurance policy.  "This shouldn't be too difficult Ma'am.  I'll draw up the papers and we'll schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys.  Do you have any preference which one you see?"


"Well yes, if possible I'd like to meet with Tony Anderson.  Would that be possible?""I don't know why not.  It shouldn't be but a few days.  Here let me show you out,"  the young man said with a smile as he stepped toward the door.


That evening over dinner Tony Anderson spoke to his wife and two teenage boys, "I got a new client today.  Her name is Margaret Hatch."


Tony's wife, Sylvia, responded by saying, "That name sounds familiar.  Where does she live?"


"Over on 7th Street I think.  Why?"


"I don't know, it just seems like I used to know someone by that name,"  Sylvia said as she stood up and walked over to the telephone book.  Looking through the pages for moment she continued, "Here it is.  Oh I remember now.  Her husband worked at the post office and she worked for the draft board all those years.  Is her husband still alive?"


"Not according to Steve.  He passed away a few years ago."


"Don't you remember the Hatches?  They had a couple of sons that were a few years younger than you in high school."


"Not really.  I do remember someone telling me that this county had four boys killed in Vietnam and that she attended every funeral.  That must have been hard."


One of Tony's sons says, "Why didn't you go to Vietnam, Dad?"


"Well I couldn't.  Not with Dad being sick and trying to keep the chicken farm going.  I had to help him with that.  Besides if I'd gone to the War and Dad passed away, we'd have lost the farm.  We had over fifty people working for us then.  That was a lot of people for this little community.  Dad took care of everything with the draft board.  Say, I wonder if this Ms. Hatch remembers Dad?"


"I would expect she does.  Let's finish dinner so we can clean up,"  Sylvia answers.


A few days later in the afternoon, Maggie's telephone rings.  As she answers it the voice on the other end says, "Ms. Hatch this is Steve from Jones, Smith and Anderson.  Your papers are ready for your signature.  Can you meet with Mr. Anderson tomorrow at 10:00?"


"Of course.  I'll be there at 10:00."


The next day Maggie returned to the lawyer's office a little before 10:00.  After a short wait she was ushered into a very large office with thick carpeting on the floor.  There were hundreds of books on the walls and where there weren't books there were large paintings of western art.  Seated behind a largehand carved desk was Tony Anderson who stood up as Maggie came into the room.  "Hello Ms. Hatch.  Welcome to our firm.  Here are the papers you asked for but first I'd like to take a moment to get to personally know you."


"Why of course dear, what's on your mind?"


"Well my wife the other evening reminded me that you used to work for the draft board here in Quinton.  How many years did you do that?"


"Over twenty years."


"Do you remember my father?"


"Of course I remember your father.  He owned the chicken farm at on the north side of town.  He came to me when your name came up for the draft.  He explained how important you were to his business and how important the business was to the community.  I had to do some research on that one because we never had a case just like that before.  It was called critical community interest and it kept you from going.  How long has your dad been gone?"


"Oh a long time.  I sold the farm a couple of years after he passed away and used the money to go to law school."


"Well, where are those papers to sign?"


"Right here.  But as I was looking them over I noticed that you had only one son.  Didn't you have two?"


"Well I did.  But one of them was killed in Vietnam.  He came up in the draft and went off to war.  Now I only have one left."


"Oh, I'm sorry."


"I'm sorry too.  Now where are those papers?"


"Right here.  Sign at the places marked."


In a few minutes Maggie had signed all of the papers and copies given to her.  As Tony showed her to the door he said with a smile, "If you need anything else just give us a call."


Maggie thanked him and as she walked out of the front door, two people coming into the office heard her whisper under her breath, "That son-of-a-bitch."