there'll be no more sorrow,
No grief and pain,
And I'll be happy, Christmas, once again....."
("Please Come Home For Christmas", The Eagles)
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Sigh....I love the holiday season so much that I even love the tacky stuff---commercialism and all. In fact, from the time I spy the very first popcorn ball wrapped in messy Saran Wrap, I'm off to the holiday races.... * * *
I don't know if anybody else is as sappy as I am about rainy days and the holiday season but here goes---here's the things a Road Nurse daydreams and reflects about on the first drizzly rainy day of the fall....
---how I had better hurry up and find all my winter jackets and coats--and how I think I look much better in winter clothing than in revealing summer clothing;---holiday foods....like Halloween candy corn, how I like to bite the individual "colors" off the candy corn, hot buttered popcorn on a winter's night, egg nog with nutmeg in it, warm brownies while you're watching holiday movies in your socks;
---getting a secret thrill from how food items are packaged with "holiday themes", like holly and wreaths along the edge of your soft drink cups (and even the new Kellogg's Halloween cereal-- I think it's Apple Jacks or something-- where there's a big scary Halloween EYEBALL smack on the front of the cereal box to give you the creeps!....);---running on a rainy beach wearing a flowing white gown, calling for a man named "Stefan" (you know, like in the butter commercial) (Because who says that holiday daydreaming has to only be about "holiday-ish" stuff?).... ---how Santa Clause is coming soon....and how he'll arrive on top of a big red firetruck in the town's Christmas Parade, like he does every year..... ---watching "zany" holiday movies for the umpteenth time and laughing all over again at the funniest scenes-- like in "Gremlins" where Zack finds out that the gremlins have strung his poor dog up in Christmas lights on the front porch, or in "Home Alone" where the crook slips and falls on his butt on the ice, or in "Santa Clause: The Movie" where Dudley Moore is an Elf and makes elf jokes every five minutes;
---watching "heartwarming" holiday movies for the umpteenth time and feeling glad when everybody lives happily ever after-- like in "It's a Wonderful Life" when Jimmy Stewart says: "Hello, you old Banking & Loan, you!", and in "A Charlie Brown Christmas" when the piddly little Christmas tree turns big and fabulous after Linus recites the Bible Christmas verses, and in "The Nutcracker" Ballet when the little girl wakes up and realizes it was "all just a dream"....;---how Thanksgiving is coming soon--and we'll have a big fat turkey with my mother's cornbread dressing, giblet gravy, fried okra, yams with marshmallow sauce dripping all over them, homemade rolls with butter, and pecan pie for dessert; ---how every year one of the local Cowboy Churches puts up a big billboard sign on the Interstate that says: "Ain't God Good?";
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---how fun it is to watch scary movies on Halloween, like the one called "Halloween" where the killer is stalking all the teenagers, and then he GETS that one girl in the laundry room, and it makes me glad that my own laundry room is actually my brightly lit safe kitchen-- and how I'd never be so dumb as to go into a dark laundry room when the scary music is playing and YOU JUST KNOW THAT THE KILLER IS GOING TO GET HER!!!
---how Christmas is coming and we'll have ANOTHER big fat turkey and some MORE of my mother's cornbread dressing;
---how fun it is every year to gripe with the other Road Nurses about how "the stores all have Christmas Stuff out and it's not even Halloween yet", even though we are all secretly thrilled that the stores all have Christmas Stuff out and we're looking foward to the holiday season;
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---remembering Halloweens past and what costumes I wore-- and how I remember the very first Halloween costume I ever wore was in the 2nd Grade, a Casper-the-Ghost costume, and how I wore it proudly in the Grade School Halloween Parade and thought it was the greatest Halloween Costume in the Whole Wide World;
---remembering the disaster of last year's town Christmas Parade, where I rode the company float and didn't realize that I had accidentally worn purple panties under light pink pants--and how I realized too, too late that the entire town could see through those pink pants;
---remembering Halloweens past in the university I attended and how my stupid roommate, Brooke, went to a Halloween Costume Party with her stupid boyfriend, Andrew, and their costumes were "The Sperm" and "The Egg" and I thought those were the dumbest Halloween Costumes I'd ever seen in my life;
---remembering a Halloween once when I was married in the suburbs and had diligently taught my stupid cat Tigerlilly NOT to sit on the dining room cushions because I hate when cats sit on surfaces near where people eat-- and how one day when I got home from work early I caught that dadburnTigerlilly sitting big-as-you-please on a dining room cushion-- and how I quickly snatched up a Three Musketeers Candy Bar out of the Halloween Candy Bowl and hurled it across the room, bopping Tigerlilly SMACK on the head in the greatest cat-head-smacking bullseye I've ever gotten in all my cat-raising history-- and stupid Tigerlilly didn't try to sit on any dining room cushions for a month;
---how nice it is to sit outside my office in the Jeep while it rains, watching the rain drench the windshield while the wipers swish back and forth beating time to the rain's rhythm--
---how nice it is to sit in the Jeep while it rains, daydreaming about how nice it would be to stay at home and make a lemon meringue pie from scratch by rolling out a Crisco pie crust-- and then making the lemon filling with freshly-squeezed lemon juice and creamery butter;
--- daydreaming about how nice it would be to stay home and sit in the rocking chair while knitting on one of my gadzillion unfinished objects, like maybe one of my psychedelic "funky baby sweaters" I like to knit out of good quality cotton yarn, like this one that I mostly made up out of my head, but I did get the heart graphs from a Nicky Epstein knitting book: or this other funky one:
---daydreaming about how fun it is to be a Road Nurse during the Holiday Season because all the medical supply vendors give us free gifts for Christmas, like scented candles, Christmas candy, cheesecakes from the bakery, new stethoscopes, pens that light up, Post-Its, Christmas coffee mugs decorated with candy canes, and all kinds of other neat stuff;
---remembering Christmases past when my ex-husband, the Biker, used to annoy the hell out of me by pushing the buttons on every single one of the mechanical Dancing Santa Clauses in Walgreens stores, making all 46 of them dance and sing at the same time and embarassing me to death in front of the store sales clerks;
---remembering Christmases past with my ex-husband, the Biker, and realizing that I don't harbor any hard feelings about our divorce, and that I can remember our times together with good memories instead of bitter feelings--but that I'm still DAMN GLAD that we're divorced because being married to him was going to send me into the poor-house, heh heh!;
----wondering later if my garden statue wish will come true....
* * * ---remembering dumb things I've done in Christmases past, like the time I was still married to the Biker and thought I was so clever for putting a handful of expensive chocolate motorcycles into his hand-knit stocking as a surprise on Christmas Eve -- but when I woke up the next morning they were all melted because he had started a fire in the fireplace that morning to "surprise me", not realizing there was a bunch of chocolate in his stocking..
---thinking about how thankful I am that I don't have to work on each of the upcoming holidays, since I've usually had to work most Thanksgivings, Christmas Eves, Christmases, and New Years in my nursing career;
---remembering a particular Christmas in the past when I did have to work....
I was working in the Emergency Room one Christmas Eve a few years back.... And I was so tempted to be grumpy because I was feeling rather sorry for myself because I had to work that night--especially because Christmas Eve is always particularly hectic in the ER. And that night was no exception. As the hours went by, with the endless patient after patient, events became blurred as I got more and more fatigued. I literally never stopped running for that entire 12-hour shift. And then on top of how endlessly busy it was all evening, the paramedics called me on the ER radio to tell me that they were bringing this one particular patient in, Martha, a patient who always drove us all crazy by frequently calling the paramedics for no reason at all, even though she was just fine and nothing was ever wrong with her. She would habitually come into the ER on our businest nights and cause us all a lot of extra work by pretending to have an "emergency" by describing all kinds of vague "symptoms" that would have to be tested out, one by one, but always turning out to be nothing-- wasting a good four to six hours of the ER staff's time. She'd done it about 15 times so far that year, and here she was again on a busy Christmas Eve. But.... this time when I heard the paramedics' call on the radio, something inside me struck differently. For some reason a vague, uneasy stirring in me prompted me to stop in my tracks and decide right then and there that I was going to put away my impatience and grumpiness this time. Because I reminded myself that I had promised something in my heart this Christmas Eve. For when I had found out that I had to work on Christmas Eve, I had vowed that I was going to do it with a glad heart--I had vowed that I was going to make an effort to try and show a loving Christmas Spirit towards my fellow humans on our Lord's birthday-- even if I had been unlucky enough to pull a 12-hour shift on Christmas Eve--and even if people like Martha came into the ER and wasted our time. And I decided that I would turn the tables on Martha and give HER a Christmas present-- by doing something she never expected....
And so this time I waited for her at the ambulance bay doors. I waited until her ambulance came.... and when she was rolled out of the ambulance on a stretcher, carried by paramedics who were sarcastically rolling their eyes in impatience, there I stood--
I was wearing Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Antlers on my head, holding my arms outstretched in a welcoming embrace, shouting to a startled Martha: "Merry Christmas, Martha Honey! Get in here and let me take care of you!"
And Martha's eyes popped wide open in complete surprise--and she hugged me as hard as I've ever been hugged in my life. And we all went into the warmth of the ER and I tried to make her visit as comfortable as I possibly could. And she told me how lonely she'd been all year, ever since her husband had died. And how the only place where anybody ever paid attention to her was when she came into the ER. Soon enough, we all realized that Martha was actually a pretty nice person--and that she was just another one of God's children, just like the rest of us. Before she went home, I got all the doctors and nurses to come in and sing a little verse of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" to her, and I thought her smile would never quit. She said it was the best Christmas Eve she'd ever had. And it was pretty good for me, too. And all in all, it turned out to be a pretty Merry Christmas, that busy night in the ER.
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That was the last Christmas we ever saw Martha, as we heard that she had passed away soon after that.
I like to think that she's in a Place Where It's Always Christmas, now....
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So, now, my holiday question to everybody is.....
......Has everybody got their Rudolph-The-Red-Nosed-Reindeer" Antlers on?
If you do, then you're ready to.....
"...be happy, Christmas, once again"......
* * * * * (It's gonna be GREAT, GUYS!!!!)