Fan Fiction - Written by Doug Fowler - Television Universe

It Just Isn't Christmas - Or Is It?
Written by: Doug Fowler

A/N: Because some scripts put up before the ban on scripts got deleted, I deleted the others, too, you may view my 9-10th season ideas at the yahoo group fullhousefanfiction, and at "Full House Forever" on the fan fiction forum. Since I'll only have time to change one to story format, I did this one, as it's never been on here. There are a few others there that have never been on here, too w/the ban on scripts, you can read them there.

Candace Cameron-Bure (by then) could even play Pam Tanner in the flashback. Danny was 19.5 when they had D.J., Pam 18.5. Candace is perfect to play Pam, if her hair's just changed a bit or she wears a wig.

BTW, Jeff is from the books, & in one book, he cheats off Michelle for the reasons given but fesses up rather than see her get in trouble. I love his character, he & Michelle would be friends in the TV Universe, too, & I think marry eventually, he's just in the other class.

Stephanie Tanner, nearly fifteen, was tucking her five-year-old cousins into bed in her Uncle Jesse and Aunt Becky's attic apartment. Jesse and her dad's best friend, comedian Joey Gladstone, had moved in to help raise Stephanie, D.J. - now nineteen - and Michelle - ten - when their mom died nine years ago. Jesse had later married Becky and moved to the attic, and now, Joey and his new wife lived on the 2nd floor, in the room Jesse had moved into back then.

As Stephanie looked for a book to read, however, she heard a hauntingly familiar song, one the boys had learned in Kindergarten. "On top of spaghetti," the twins, Nicky and Alex, sang, "all covered with cheese..."

Stephanie began to get misty-eyed, especially because it was near Christmas, and had to sit on one of the beds.

"What's wrong?" Nicky asked.

" Is our singing that bad?"

Stephanie chuckled. "No; Alex. It's just my mom, your Aunt Pam, always sang that before bedtime."

"Does the song make you sad?" Nicky asked, knowing Pam had died in a tragic car accident.

"Well, actually, it's one of the few clear memories I have of her. I was just about a few months older than you when she died. So, it's kind of happy," she mused, "even though I think about how I miss her."

Alex had an idea. "If we sing together maybe you'll feel better 'cause you remember her."

Stephanie beamed, considering how proud Jesse and Becky would be of his helpful idea. "You've got a point." She sat on a chair between the beds, and all three began to sing. "On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese.."

The next day, Michelle walked into the Tanner home with a brown haired boy named Jeff Farrington, who was in a different 5th grade class at Fraser St. Elementary. Danny Tanner, her dad, Joey, and Joey's wife Angie were sitting in the living room.

" Dad, this is the boy I was telling you about, Jeff Farrington," Michelle spouted excited. "Jeff, this is my dad, Joey, and Angie."

Danny rose and quickly went over to Jeff. "Whoa-ho-ho, Michelle brought home a boy. I hope you don't want him under the Christmas tree, Michelle. Hi, Jeff." They shook hands, with Jeff looking a little embarrassed as Danny continued. "Listen, I'm really glad to see you, I hear you've got a great sense of humor. Anyway, my rule is my girls aren't allowed to date till they're thirty."

Jeff smirked, unable to resist cracking a joke. "Thirty? We'll be married by then." Danny looked stunned as Jeff and Michelle laughed and ran upstairs to play, their minds on the comedy routine they would be practicing. They'd planned to do "Who's On First" for a talent show next month. Though it was a baseball skit, Jeff suggested this was the perfect time to do it, as doing baseball in January made it even funnier.

Angie tried to console Danny after a moment. "Well, I'm sure he didn't necessarily mean to each other."

"Yes, but I worry about my daughter marrying anyone by then. It's bad enough D.J. and Steve are engaged now."

Just then, Danny's thoughts were interrupted by a knock on the door. Danny opened it and spoke very enthusiastically to the boy who walked inside. It was Teddy, a boy in Michelle's class and one of her best friends. "Teddy, hi, come on in," Danny said. "It's great to see a boy here that doesn't want to marry my daughter yet. "

"Pretty nervous about D.J. and Steve, huh, Mr. Tanner?" Teddy asked as he turned toward Danny.

"Hey, I keep telling him, he's not losing a daughter, when they move out he'll be gaining leftovers," Joey joked, referring to how much Steve ate.

"Michelle's upstairs with Jeff," Danny said. Before Teddy could leave, though, Danny held up a hand. "Whoa, wait. Come here, so I can ask you lots of questions about Jeff and not embarrass my daughter," he said, trying hard not to repeat mistakes he'd made with Stephanie and D.J..

Teddy obediently walked over and sat next to Danny. This made him even more glad it hadn't worked out the time he and Michelle had tried to be boyfriend and girlfriend two years earlier. "Well, he's a good baseball player, he likes telling jokes..."

"My kind of kid," Joey said.

"Michelle told me those things. I want to know if he's, well..."

"They're not boyfriend and girlfriend."

Danny breathed a sigh of relief. "That's good."

"Yet. I think it's close," he admitted.

"Oh, speaking of boys and girls," Angie said, turning to Joey, "it's time for us to go pick up my niece and nephew, Joey." To Danny and Teddy, she explained. "Their dad left this morning to care for a sick aunt, and their mom's leaving to be with him, so we have the kids the next few days, over Christmas."

"Aw, what a shame," Teddy said sincerely.

"Yeah, I know. But, we'll make the best of it," Danny said as the couple left. "Now, how is Jeff on courtesy, respect, things like that?"

"Pretty good, Mr. Tanner. He's in the other fifth grade class, and they've played off and on a lot on the playground the last couple years. But, lately they've just stood around and talked more."

"About what?" Teddy gave him a tired look, and Danny realized he was likely embarrassing Michelle anyway with questions like that. But, he couldn't help it, he was extremely protective. "Never mind. Is Jeff ever in trouble?"

"Well, he's a class clown, but nothing worse than Joey ever was, and maybe better. I think he got caught cheating in math once last year," Teddy said, trying to recall what he'd been told, "'cause he hadn't studied since he was worried about his parents divorcing. He 'fessed up when the teacher questioned him. He felt bad about ever doing it, and hasn't done it since. So, there's no problems there." Indeed, that was the only real trouble Jeff had been in - except for being lectured over the years about a few jokes that had gone only a little too far, like Joey's might. Jeff was a very nice kid. "Can I go now?"

"Well...okay. Sounds like he's good for Michelle to just hang around right now," Danny said finally, convinced that Jeff wouldn't be a problem.

"Thanks, Mr. Tanner." Teddy ran upstairs, yelling as he did. "Good thing I came after you, Michelle, your sisters were right. He asked me all about Jeff." Danny chuckled and shook his head as he realized they'd planned this. But, he probably wouldn't have gotten anything more about Jeff from Michelle, anyway. Indeed, perhaps Michelle wouldn't even have revealed that one problem.

Meanwhile, Michelle and Stephanie's room had become a rehearsal studio, as it had the past few days. Jesse, Becky, D.J., Kimmy, Teddy, Nicky and Alex were listening to the fifth graders perform.

"Who is on first," Jeff said insistently.

"That's what I'm asking you, Who's on first? Right?" Michelle wondered, wanting to make sure she was getting it right. She was a little less interested in the routine than she had been at first.

" Got it," Jeff said excitedly. "Then, you switch bases, and I tell you What's the name of the man on second base."

"So, when is he gonna tell her?" Kimmy said to nobody in particular.

"That's just it, I am telling her," Jeff tried to explain.

"So, I never actually ask the third baseman's name?" Michelle asked tiredly.

"Well, that's just the way they did this," Jeff said, now sensing something from Michelle, but unsure of what it was. "'I Don't Know' just automatically makes us both say 'third base' after a while."

"Jeff, you do such funny stuff on the playground, maybe you should change it a bit," Michelle said.

"Well..." Jeff wasn't exactly sure what to make of Michelle's comment. He supposed he could try - though jokes and not plays on words were his biggest thing.

Thankfully, Becky had also noticed Michelle's tone. "Michelle, you don't exactly sound excited about this," she noted.

"Yeah, munchkin, a few days ago you were all gung ho about it," Jesse said, using the pet name he'd had for her since she was a baby; he and Michelle had a very special bond.

"I know." Michelle tried to think of how to put this, and finally spouted, "I guess I don't like that it makes me sound like Kimmy." She didn't want to come off as being really dumb, even if it was just acting.

"Hey, I resemble that remark," Kimmy stated.

"Well...would you rather be Bud Abbott?" Jeff said with some hesitation. "I wouldn't mind being the one who can't get the names straight."

Michelle grinned at Jeff. She had been worried about hurting his feelings, unsure of how he would take it. She really liked him, after all. "You would sound that goofy for me?"

"Sure I would. I don't mind people laughing at me; I've had 'em doing that for years. And, besides..." The highly confident voice of the previous sentence gave way to a low, shy voice, complete with a hint of a blush. The others had to strain to here as he admitted, "I kinda like you. " Michelle grinned broadly and blushed slightly herself.

"You got a real keeper there, Michelle." Becky turned to the twins next and said, "See that, boys? When you start liking girls, you make sure you always consider their feelings."

"Yeah; Jeff seems like a really nice boy," D.J. said.

"But, he still hasn't told her the name of the first baseman."

"Who," D.J. said simply.

"Jeff, of course." To Jesse and Stephanie, she said, "And you guys call me dumb."

The following afternoon, Joey and Angie were seated on the couch with their nephew and niece, Justin and Wendy. Jesse, Becky, and Stephanie were seated in chairs, with the twins playing on the floor, as Danny, Jeff and Michelle entered from the kitchen, discussing the "Who's on first" script Jeff had; they had just finished eating a few Christmas cookies.

"It just doesn't seem like Christmas," Justin muttered.

"Of course not," Nicky said.

"It's only Christmas Eve," Alex added.

"Hey, I know how you feel," Joey confessed. "It's always a little harder around this time because of Pam being gone."

"Jeff's so glad his parents got back together. It was around this time last year," Michelle said as they sat on the floor in front of the couch, next to the boys and their trucks.

"That was a really great gift, I'm sure. Didn't you tell us about one Christmas early in your marriage when you were gone, Dad?" Stephanie asked, thinking that perhaps the story could help Justin and Wendy, though she didn't remember a lot of it.

Danny beamed, anxious to ramble as he often did. "You're right, Steph. I had to cover a bowl game Christmas Day for the place I was interning. D.J. was a year old, we had just bought the house, and even with my mom's and her parents' help to buy it, I had to do stuff like this to make ends meet." As he sat, Nicky and Alex crawled into his lap. He smiled wistfully, considering how wonderful their lives had been. "This brings back lots of memories. Because it shows that you can have a great Christmas even without everyone there."

"It probably helps you when you think of missing Mom, huh?" Michelle surmised.

"You're right, it does. She had a lot more to handle than I expected she would when I accepted the assignment a couple weeks earlier," Danny told the family. And, as he continued his story, the family flashed back to the Christmas of 1978.

Pam looked like D.J., but w/longer hair & a perm. She was carrying a very sleepy D.J., who was about twenty-one months old, and speaking sadly, wishing she could take away her discomfort. "Oh, poor D.J., what a time to get chicken pox, huh?"

The phone rang; she sat on an older, Salvation Army couch. They would get new furniture over the next few years, but at teir ages, and with Danny in college, this was all they could afford for right now. Danny's father's passing - his parents had divorced earlier in his life - would provide them with a good influx of cash in a few years.

Pam picked up the receiver while cradling D.J.. "Hello?" She brightened tremendously upon hearing Danny's voice. "Oh, Danny, I'm so glad you called!...Yes, our poor little Donna Jo looks like a connect the dots book. I'm doing all I can to keep her comfortable, though. I think she's starting to be able to give away a few smiles.... Oh, honey, I know, I miss you, too....Now, don't go blubbering all over the phone, it's gonna be okay. I know you could be here since you and Wendy both had the chicken pox, but my parents are around, and Wendy's here to help me with the baby; she's such a dear. Till I spent lots of time with her this season I hadn't realized how much she loves animals!...Yes, Dear, I promise, by the time you come back home tomorrow afternoon, I'll have a great big hug for you, and you'll still have plenty of mess to clean, too, I'm sure....Okay, have a good time. I'll tell your little tennis ball head you said 'hello.' I love you too."

As she hung up, Wendy entered from the kitchen. "How's D.J.?" asked the teenager, Danny's younger sister.

"Feeling better. I'm getting some smiles out of her. But, she could use a nap now I think." Wendy took D.J. and walked toward the stairs. "Thanks again for taking time from your Christmas break to help out. I only let those watch D.J. who I know have had chicken pox. And, Jesse especially is fibbing about having had it."

"He probably wants to act macho and say he fought those pock marks off before they could stay on him," Wendy quipped.

"Actually, Joey's saying that. He says he's immune, while what Jesse thinks was chicken pox was an allergic reaction to wool," Pam explained.

Wendy walked upstairs and spoke, half to Pam, half to D.J., as Pam went to get the door. "That's why I like monkeys. They're not afraid to admit they're wild beasts. Yeah, I kind of still have a crush on Joey, but I really want to work with animals. If I'm going to be around monkeys at least there will be a reason for the wild noises, the tree climbing, the banana smell. That sounded like your Daddy's kind of joke, huh?" she asked D.J. as she took her into her room to rub lotion on her and help her get to sleep.

Pam opened the door to see Jesse. The fifteen-year-old, a sophomore in high school, had long hair and a leather jacket on, with a t-shirt underneath. "Jesse! Merry Christmas!" She and the fifteen-year-old embraced. "So, what brings you here?"

Jesse picked up a bag of books, and handed them to her as he walked inside. "Here's something for D.J. to color in while she recovers from chicken pox. Although I still say I've had 'em."

"Well, I happen to know what's right for my girl. I'm older, after all."

"Yeah, well, I'm younger."

"I'm smarter."

"I'm..." He glared and pointed at Pam as she put down the bag. "Not falling for that!"

"So, why do you want her to color all over your books, you doodle in them enough anyway to make your notes illegible," Pam said..

"Simple. I decided to give myself a Christmas present. I'm dropping out of school," Jesse answered.

Pam was shocked. "But, Jesse, you can't, you're just a sophomore. Besides, you can't even drive yet."

"So? I'll be able to when I'm sixteen. In the meantime, I just hop on that old motorbike I've been trying to piece together, and see the world." He flung his leather jacket onto a chair. "And, there's nothing you can do to talk me out of it."

"Okay," Pam said with a knowing smile.

Jesse knew something was fishy about her look. "What, that's it? You're just gonna let me? Is this some kind of trick?"

"I'm sure Dad and Mom yelled enough this morning when you told them," Pam said, getting her thoughts together as to how to approach this. She seemed able to sense what D.J. was doing before the did it, but with Jesse it was sometimes more difficult.

"Actually, they think I'm stayin' in till the end of the year. Which maybe I should, there is this one cute girl in my Government class. I'll spend time with her, then I can go."

"And do what? Play music all day?"

Jesse shrugged. It sounded good to him. "Hey, musicians get paid. I'll find somewhere to play. In the meantime I'll be free."

"You got that right, Mister. You'll be working for free quite a bit," Pam cracked. More seriously, she started, "You can't just..." Joey, twenty, walked in the door, which Pam finally shut. "Joey, say he can't drop out of school!"

"He can't drop out of school!" After the comical echo, he asked, "Who can't?"

Jesse shook his head as Joey's childish gag. "I don't believe this guy, he thinks life is a joke."

"No, life is a cereal. You know." He did the voices of the children in the ad as Pam giggled. "Let's get Mikey. Yeah. He won't eat it, he hates everything. He likes it, hey Mikey!" He then shifted to an early version of the puppet he would later use, Mr. Woodchuck - the voice was a little lower than what he would eventually come up with for the puppet. "Yeah, he especially hates...wood. I...wood eat a whole forest." Back in his regular voice, he asked if Pam liked the wood jokes. "I was thinking a woodpecker or a woodchuck might be good for some wood puns someday."

Pam agreed. "Doesn't he do great voices, Jesse?"

"I wish he'd stick to his own. Guy acts like he should be in 2nd grade, not his 2nd year of college," Jesse complained.

"And you want him to be smarter than you?"

"No, come on, Pam, I got my whole life ahead of me. Besides, I can always go back someday," Jesse said flailing an arm.

Joey could tell Pam was having problems with Jesse, and tried to get her mind off of him. "So, how are things otherwise?"

"Well, the baby's not doing too well."

"Chicken pox is really bad, huh?" Joey said sadly.

"No, D.J.'s getting better," Pam assured him, "I'm talking about Jesse."

"Aw, come on, Pam, gimme a break?" Jesse whined.

"Good baby, Jess. See, you can do voices," Joey said sincerely.

"Would you like some cheese with that whine, Jesse?" Pam teased. Realizing she needed to stop teasing and get serious - it was obvious her jokes were not helping - she went back to her original plan. "Look, I don't know why you want to drop out, but there are plenty of things you can do with music that you can't do if you don't finish high school."

"Name one!"

"Okay, a disc jockey, for one, that's your dream job. You could start a club like the Smash Club wherever you end up. And, you like motorcycles, you could open a garage," Pam finished, counting on her fingers.

"Come on, Pam, that's more than one." Jesse walked around for a second, while thinking, then turned back to Pam and held out a hand. "Look, if I'm a success in music I can always land a job based on name recognition if it deals with music. I think I could run my own garage from scratch, too, or get enough money to find people to run a club."

"What about the skills to know how to? Or what if you needed a jingle for your club. Let's say Joey wants you to do a jingle for his comedy routine, what would you write?" Pam asked. She wanted to get Jesse to realize songwriting was like other things, more difficult when under pressure.

Jesse tried to think seriously about Joey - which was hard to do. Still, he wanted to prove Pam wrong, so he thought seriously about him for a moment. "Well, probably start out with a song about being a child at heart, then talk about how he's really adorable because the rest of him is like a little kid, too." To Jesse, Joey was a little kid. And, while he couldn't stand that attitude, he thought that that "adorable" tag might help when it came to selling Joey's comedy.

"Now, that's not true," Joey said, taking exception to the notion he only did childish things. "I'm not only going to get a degree in a few years, I am starting to take flying lessons."

Jesse was shocked. "Have mercy! I'm gonna have to look up all the time to make sure nothing's falling at me from the sky." Ignoring Pam's giggles, he turned to Joey and said, "Remind me never to get in a plane with you."

"And what about the extermination business?" Pam wanted to know.

"Well, that's Dad's, I mean, he'd let me apprentice for him."

"Okay. And what about your future after that, if you don't like it?" Jesse shrugged, and Pam knew she had to play tough now. She was done trying to reason nicely with Jesse. "Joey, can we be alone?" Joey caught the tone, and went into the kitchen to grab a bite to eat. Once he was gone, Pam spouted, "Jesse Katsopolis, you listen to me. I will always love you, I would have loved you even if you'd dropped out in first grade."

"Aw man, now you tell me; I didn't think you could do that," Jesse said, throwing up his hands.

"Jesse, that's not the point." With her hands on her hips, Pam explained, "The point is, you would have missed so many good things. Like the time I taught you to dance in one night because you needed to learn for a school function. I don't think that's the only night I've stayed up with you, either. Or the times I've helped you to understand some of the school assignments you've had."

"Yeah; you've always been there for me," Jesse said thankfully.

"You could miss out on so many things if you drop out now. Please, Jesse?"

Jesse shook his head, pretending not to hear, as Pam walked into the kitchen. "Pamela, come on. I mean, you're happy here, you're always braggin' on D.J. for something, you want to be a housewife. I've accepted that. I know I got upset when you and Danny eloped, 'cause I felt he was takin' you away from me, but now..." Jesse sees Pam with a carrot in her hand. His eyes got wide. "No," he said, beginning to back up.

"Don't make me use this carrot!" Pam scolded. He back up till she cornered him on the couch. "Jesse..."

"Pamela, no, not in the nose, please!"

"Jesse, I'm not joking. You're going back to school. Or I will find a way to make you walk around with carrots sticking out your nose, and then everyone will call you 'Walrus Katsopolis.' I'd rather have Hermes than Walrus." Hermes was Jesse's given name, one he hated and so never used.

"Pam..." He sighed. "Okay, okay. Maybe I was a little hasty." She let him get up, and put the carrot on the table. "I guess I should, huh? You've always been there for me. Sometimes I rebel against you just as bad as I do Mom and Pop, huh?"

"You can say that again."

"It's just so hard." Jesse hated to let his feelings be known to anyone; Pam was one person he was comfortable showing them to, and even then, it was difficult to talk about his feelings. Once he moved in to help raise Danny's kids, he would find himself bonding a lot with Michelle, because somehow, he was able to express himself even more, and talk about more things, with her. He and she formed a wonderful bond.

For now, Jesse explained his frustration at school to Pam. "I mean, none of this stuff's gonna matter, is it? All those brains going on to college or somethin', yeah, I can see why they put up with it."

"Jesse, Danny and I could have eloped before the end of the school year, and I could have just dropped out, too. But, you know why I didn't?"

"So you could bug me with that 'good example' stuff?"

"No," she said, slightly frustrated, her face looking much like Becky's might have if she was tring to get Jesse to see a point. He had to admit there were a few little things about Becky that just reminded him so much of Pam. "Jesse, I did it because it's an accomplishment. Just like raising children; when D.J. learns some new skill, I realize I was a part of that. It's something that years from now, even if it's the only thing you finish, you can say you got through it. You toughed it out. You don't have anyone in mind to marry do you?"

"Me, settle down and have a family?" he asked, the concept seeming impossible to him.

"Exactly. You could struggle through life and never get a record deal. You might have an accident with one of your stunts and be paralyzed, so you can't ride again. But no matter what happens, if you finish school, you'll be able to say you accomplished something. And, the Jesse I know never backed down from a challenge," Pam finished. She then began to get a sad, puppy dog look on her face.

"Aw, man, the look too?" He knew he was defeated now. All that Pam had said made so much sense. And, then there was that face. "Okay, okay. I promise, I'll stay in school." Though he didn't like to admit it, he was grateful; he knew Pam was right. She'd said lots of things that the sometimes reactionary Jesse had never considered. "Thanks, Sis. I don't know what I'd do without you."

Back in the present, Becky put an arm around Jesse, and he lovingly looked up at her. She could tell he was choked up.

Finally, Jesse said, "Yeah, Pam was really somethin'."

"So, did you finish school?" Jeff inquired.

"Well, that's the thing, Jeff," Jesse explained. "I listened to what she said about havin' an accomplishment. But, the last semester of my senior year, I had just one required class left, it was one I hated, and I'd just formed a new band with some really cool gigs. We even played the Smash Club once. So, I figured I'd arrived, I'd had an accomplishment, so I dropped out. But, just like bein' here, goin' back and finishing, it gave me a sense of accomplishment like I never imagined. Pam was right. She always did know best. Man, I can't believe it's been almost ten years and I'm still missin' her like it was yesterday," he said, trying hard not to show emotion in his voice, and failing miserably. That story, especially told during Christmas, always choked him up a little.

"I know you hid it from us; did she ever know you dropped out your senior year?" Becky asked.

"Well...she had a way about her. I think she knew; I really do," Jesse said. And, he wasn't just saying that because he wanted to think it - he really did suspect that she knew. "It's just by that time, she had to use the carrot approach just to keep me from killin' myself with my motorcycle stunts. And you should have heard her after my ride on that rooftop." He knew Pam probably saw through his feigned sickness the week of his gradation, and still remembered her look when he told her he'd ridden his motorcycle to the school to pick up his diploma, then had it stolen off the seat when he went in to Alejandro's for hair care supplies. And, of course, he'd made up stories to Danny a few years later about having actually been there.

"Daddy, Auntie Pam put carrots up your nose?" Nicky said in a surprised voice.

"Oh, you bet. The first few times she did it just in fun, and I retaliated by coloring her hair red, white, and blue once," Jesse explained. "But, after a while it became a real threat. Growing up I always thought the 'carrot and stick' approach meant if you didn't stick to your word you got carrots up your nose."

Alex could sense the carrots had been for bad behavior. "Why didn't she just put you in timeout?"

"Your dad was a little old for that by that time," Stephanie explained.

"Boy, it's a good thing I let Michelle have the smart part in 'Who's On First.' If I hadn't she might have put carrots up my nose," Jeff said with a laugh.

"You must have been pretty wild, huh, Uncle Jesse?" Justin asked.

Jesse admitted that he was. "And, it was probably really hard on Pam without Danny there."

"The point is, she was able to be a big help to Jesse, and get D.J. through the chicken pox, even without me there," Danny explained. "It was still special. Just like these Christmases have always been special for us, since she died. It's been rough, but we've made it through."

"That's right. And, we're going to have a great Christmas over here, even if your parents can't make it," Angie said.

"Yeah. Hey, let's call D.J. at Steve's place have her and Steve come hear us do our routine before Jeff goes home," Michele suggested.

"Yeah, and Kimmy, too." Jeff explained to Stephanie - who was looking oddly at him. "Well, it's funny to hear when the audience gets as confused as I'm supposed to."

A little while later, Michelle and Jeff were doing their routine for everyone. "Today is pitching, and Tomorrow is catching," Michelle said from memory.

"Oh, great, all we gots a couple days on this team," Jeff retorted.

"Okay, now let's do that part at the end." Michelle wanted to make sure she had that down.

"Right. Okay, so the batter hit's a line drive to third. Who gets it? I don't know! He throws to What, What throws to Who, triple play!" Jeff spoke rapidly, getting more frustrated as he speak.

Michelle looked as his part of the script. "Right."

"Next batter hits a deep fly to left. Why? I don't know, he's on third, and I don't give a darn!"

"What's that?"

"I said I don't give a darn!"

"Oh, that's our shortstop!" Michelle finished triumphantly. Everyone laughed and applauded as the phone rang. Joey answered, hanging up a moment later, as the others talked.

"That was great," D.J. encouraged them.

"Yeah, boy, that routine sure makes me hungry for ball park hot dogs," Steve said.

"So, wait a minute; we never hear a right fielder's name," Kimmy noticed.

"That's just it," Michelle elaborated, "he needs the names so he can know them when he plays right field."

"Oh, okay," Kimmy responded. "So, He is the right fielder."

"Right, I am," Jeff told her.

"You just said He was. Who is I?"

Jeff couldn't resist kidding her. "Who are you? You're Kimmy."

"Jeff, your mom called, they're about ready to eat supper," Joey interrupted.

"Okay, thanks," Jeff said as he stepped away from the fireplace where they had been performing. He looked back at Michelle for a moment, as both grinned. "Glad we can do this together. Well...Merry Christmas."

"Yeah, Merry Christmas to you, too," Michelle said warmly.

"I'll take him home," Jesse offered, anxious to get away from thinking about Pam. He and Jeff donned their jackets. "That's great how you let Michelle do the part she wanted."

Jeff thanked him, then noticed Jesse was still a little wistful. "Still thinking about your sister?"

"Huh? Aw, no, I'm okay. I mean, I know she's watching from up there," Jesse said, trying to shrug off his feelings.

"Michelle says it was really hard for her dad. D.J. had to be the mom a few times when it came to enforcing limits. That's something we've talked about some on the playground. I had to act like the man of the house a little when my parents had problems."

Jesse tried to sound macho as they walked onto the porch. "Yeah, well, we get through it. I put Pam through a lot. As mad as my dad got, I knew I could count on her support at least. But, yeah, I've got a great family now. And we make it through."

Jesse paused until Jeff was out of range, nearly to Jesse's car. He then looked up toward the sky, with a small tear in his eye, and said, "Merry Christmas, Pam. And, thanks."