A Charlie Brown Christmas

Again – Chapter 20 – JohnA Passaro


This is my depressed stance.
When you’re depressed,
It makes a lot of difference how you stand.
The worst thing you can do is straighten up
And hold your head high
Because then you’ll start to feel better.
If you’re going to get any joy out of being depressed,
You’ve got to stand like this.

Charles Schulz


December 18th, 2013

It has been eighteen days since Jess has been in the ICU, and she has yet to open her eyes.

It is also a week before Christmas.

As I am switching shifts with BettyJane and about to go home, BettyJane mentions to me that she just put up the Christmas decorations at home.

That is great because I have had a long night with Jess and I could use some holiday spirit.

The way BettyJane decorates the house during the holidays is special.

I am looking forward to seeing the house decorated for the holidays.

I am a live tree person, but a few years ago BettyJane bought an eighteen-foot fake Alberta Spruce.

Just like my wife, she bought it a few days after Christmas for more than 90% off the original price, so I couldn’t have a leg to stand on for my case of getting a live tree each year.

A very slick move.

Actually her tree was as real looking as any live tree I had ever purchased.

For the past few years, this eighteen-foot tree was the first thing you saw when you entered my home.

Not this year.

When I finally arrived home and opened the door to my house, I was expecting to see this humungous tree waiting to spruce up my mood and get me into the holiday spirit.

I didn’t.

Instead, there in front of me, stood a Charlie Brown sized Christmas tree.

I was so depressed.

I immediately got on the phone.

“BettyJane, what happened?”

“What do you mean what happened?” she asked in a panic.

“I thought you said that you put up the Christmas tree last night?”

“I did, but I really wasn’t in the festive mood, so I only used the top part of the tree.”


“John, what are you doing back here at the hospital, is there something wrong?”

“Yes there is. We can’t be beat.”

“We have to celebrate life the way we always do.”

“We can’t have a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, we just can’t,” I said.

“Please go home and decorate the house the way that you always do – with love.”

“I will stay with Jess for your shift and mine.”

“It is important that we continue to do everything the way we always do.

We can’t get down. We have to win this fight.” I plead to her.

“But you’re going to have to stay here for 24 hours straight” BettyJane said with empathy.

“I don’t care. It will be worth it.”


Twelve hours later, I get a call from BettyJane, “It was a lot of work, but the big tree is up in the foyer, and the big wreath is in the living room, and the white lights are on the bannister,” she tells me.

“John, are you there – did you hear what I said?”

“BettyJane, Jess just opened up her eyes.”


Read the next chapter – Tanks and Doorways


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