A passenger with a huge gift box pleads with Fay.
Fay: I’m sorry, sir. But you really can’t take that on board. Our luggage bins are too small and it won’t fit under the seat.
Passenger: Oh, no, isn’t there any way I can get this on the plane? It’s a brand new golf bag.
Fay: I’m sorry.
Passenger: How about if I bought a seat for it?
Fay: I’m afraid we’re all booked up.
Passenger: Well. Then here.
The passenger carries the gift and places it by the counter.
Passenger: Merry Christmas.
Fay: And merry Christmas to you too.
Fay carries the gift to the Sandpiper Air office where a bunch of other large gift boxes sit.
Fay: Oh, Joe, we’re doing a lot better than last Christmas.
Brian returns from his flight.
Brian: Please, Joe, tell me that no one’s made a reservation for that stupid Christmas day flight tomorrow.
Joe: Not yet.
Brian: Well, can’t you cancel it?
Joe: I want to go skiing as much as you do, but we’re the only ones flying to New Bedford tomorrow. Sometimes, we just have to give up our own holidays so that other people could enjoy theirs.
Brian: All right, all right, tell you what. Tell you what. You give me Christmas day off, ok, and I will work flag day, arbor day, I’ll even throw in St. Swithin’s day.
Fay: Did I hear we’re working on St. Swithin’s day?
Joe: Just half day. So, Fay, what are you doin’ for the holidays? You never said.
Fay: Oh, uh, well, you know, he usual. Umm, I’m having a few friends over for a traditional Christmas dinner and it’s really too bad you boys can’t make it.
Brian: Uh, don’t you worry about us, Fay. Joey and I are gonna go skiing in Vermont. Joe’s gonna be workin’ on his slalom and I’m gonna be teaching some ski bunny how to do a double Brian.
Fay leaves. Joe looks at his watch.
Joe: Look, Brian, I’ll make you a deal.
Joe: If we don’t get a reservation by 5:00, we’ll take off for Vermont.
Brian: Deal. Great, no reservation, no flight.
Brian shakes Joe’s hand. Joe leaves. The telephone starts ringing.
Brian: I love this man.
Brian answers the telephone.
Brian speaks with an accent.
Brian: Uh, no, never heard of Sandpiper Air. This is Buck’s Bait and Tackle shop, you’re talkin’ to the Buckster. No, no Sandpiper Air, but if you’re ever in the market for a little chopped squid—hello?
Joe is behind the lunch counter.
Joe: So, you excited about your folks comin’ in from Texas for the holiday.
Helen: Oh, you bet. But I’m even more excited that they’re not gonna spend it with my sister.
Joe: Why’s that?
Helen: Well, they always spend Christmas in Hawaii with Lorraine and her rich, stupid husband and those little spoiled brat kids. Lorraine calls me every Christmas morning, collect, and it’s always Halaekala this and Kilauea that. Well, not this year. This year when those two little monsters ask her—
Helen imitates a child’s voice.
Helen: “Where’s grandma and grandpa?”
Helen reverts back to her normal voice.
Helen: She’s gonna have to tell ‘em, “They’re not here. They’re at Aunt Helen’s.”
Helen laughs. Claps her hands and whoops.
Helen: Boy, this is gonna be an awesome Christmas.
An old man approaches Fay.
Frank: Fay Evelyn Cochran? Well, I’ll be darned.
Fay: Hello, Frank. What brings you here?
Frank: Oh, I’m pickin’ up my daughter and her hippie boyfriend. He’s a communist, but that doesn’t keep him from smokin’ my cigars. Hey, I haven’t seen you in a, well, it’s gotta be over a year. Well, ever since George died.
Fay: Well, there didn’t seem to be much reason to go down to the marina once I sold our boat.
Frank: You know, I have been so busy. I’ve been hangin’ lights on my cabin cruiser for this year’s Christmas boat parade.
Brian: Oh, are they still doin’ that thing? Oh, that’s great, ‘cause my—my brother Joe entered a little sailboat once and he spent hours makin’ Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer out of all these colored lights. But, I re-arranged the lights so that something other than Rudolph’s nose lit up. He didn’t win.
Frank: Uh, well, uh, here they are, uh, excuse me, please. Uh, my daughter and Mr. Trotsky have arrived.
Frank goes over to his daughter.
Frank: Oh! Hi.
Fay: What a rancid little rooster he is. Oh, I—I know I shouldn’t say that at Christmas time, but he used to make George so mad. Every year George would spend weeks decorating our boat. Then Frank would win the grand prize and really rub it in. George would have given anything to be able to beat that little winker-stinker.
Over at the lunch counter Helen is mixing up something in a bowl.
Helen: So, I’ve got this extra room, so my folks will be staying with me.
Lowell: Yeah, I’m putting up some relatives myself. My mother-in-law is in for the week.
Lowell: Uh, she’s not so bad.
Joe: No, I just bit my tongue, that really hurts.
Lowell: Then don’t do that. Uh, Bunny’s mom, she’s a great old gal. Doesn’t look like a day over 40.
Helen: Yeah? How old is she?
Lowell: 40. I thought I made that clear.
The Sandpiper Air telephone rings. Brian answers it.
Brian: Hello and welcome to the New Kids on the Block hotline. Press 1 for Jordy, 2, if Donnie’s your fave. 3 for Danny, and…
Joe walks over to the Sandpiper Air counter.
Brian: Thanks for calling Sandpiper Air—
Joe grabs the phone from Brian.
Joe: Hello, can I help you? Yeah, yeah, there are still seats available for tomorrow’s flight.
Brian gestures “No”.
Brian: No, no, no, Joe.
Brian bites the telephone cord.
Joe: Just one seat, Mr. Tolbert? Yeah, it’s our pleasure. Thanks for flying Sandpiper.
Joe hangs up the phone.
Joe: Brian, I—sorry, the guy’s got business in New Bedford.
Brian: Oh, yeah, well just for that, there’s no such think as Santa Claus.
Joe: You know, four years ago that might have hurt.
The following day, Joe and Brian arrive at the Tom Nevers Airfield.
Brian: No, no, Joe, this is the worst Christmas ever. I used to think it was the one where Mom and Dad bought us those hamsters and forgot to poke air holes in the box, but at least that had a moment of dramatic tension. I cannot believe we’re here on Christmas day to take one guy to New Bedford. It’s like a tomb in here.
Lowell steps out of the Sandpiper Air hangar.
Lowell: Merry Christmas, fellas.
Joe: Lowell, what are you doing here?
Lowell: Well, I experienced some of that holiday stress you’re always hearin’ about. My wife kicked me off the boat last night.
Brian: On Christmas Eve, why?
Lowell: Well, I sort of made a pass at my mother-in-law. Well, I guess it was those hot buttered rums. One minute, I’m feeling pretty loose. Next minute, Lowell Junior’s running around screaming, “Daddy’s got his hand on Granny’s num-num.”
Brian: Why, Lowell, you Randy old sea-dog, you.
Lowell: Yeah, you pray for an observant child, and then this happens.
Brian: Merry Christmas, Roy!
Roy: Shut up!
Brian starts to sing.
Brian: Ye merry, gentlemen, let nothing you dismay
Joe: Roy, what are you doing here? I thought you and your son were having Christmas together.
Roy: Well, if you must know. R.J. and his friends decided to follow the grateful dead down to Gainesville. Now, what would make a kid want to sit in a muddy field on Christmas with 20,000 smelly tripped out deadheads.
Brian: The prospect of watching you chew with your mouth open.
Roy: Eat my shorts.
Brian resumes singing.
Brian: With boughs of holly, Fa La La La La, La La La La
Helen: Roy, were those the only 2 passengers on that flight?
Roy: Yeah, what do you mean, your—your folks didn’t show?
Helen: No, and I’m getting really worried.
Lowell: Oh, I don’t know if this is pertinent or not, Helen, but, uh, your parents called before you got here and said they weren’t coming.
Helen: What?! Why?
Lowell: Well, they went to their local Christmas pageant, and the camel fell on your mother.
Helen: Oh, my God! Is she ok?
Lowell: She’s fine. Not a scratch, but they missed their last flight out of Houston.
Helen: Well, there goes my Christmas down the toilet.
Joe: Well, look, our passenger’s got 8 minutes to show up. If he doesn’t, what do you say we salvage what’s left of this Christmas? You come skiing with Brian and me.
Lowell: Oh, that’s right, Joe, there was a call for you, too. Wow, where is my mind?
Roy: I think Zippy the Pinhead had it last.
Lowell: Some guy named Tolbert called and canceled his reservation.
Joe: He—he did? That’s great. Hey, Brian. Brian!
Brian steps out of the Sandpiper Air office.
Joe: Great news. Flight’s canceled. We can go to Vermont.
Brian: Oh! Great! Great ‘cause I was just listening to the weather service, and they said that the conditions are perfect for skiing.
Joe: All right!
Brian: And terrible for landing. They’re snowed in. Airport’s closed.
Helen buries her face in her hands.
Joe: Well, it’s official. This Christmas sucks.
Helen: Looks like Fay is the only one of us havin’ a good holiday.
Brian: Oh, yeah. She’s throwing that big Christmas party, isn’t she?
Helen: You think, she’d mind if we dropped by?
Brian: I don’t know, man. Let’s try it.
Joe: Whoa, whoa, whoa. We—we should at least call her first.
Helen quickly makes her way to the phone.
Brian: Oh, yeah, God knows what those old people do with the shades down. Come on, Joe. Let’s go. She practically begged us. Roy, Lowell, We’re gonna go crash Fay’s party.
Roy: Couldn’t be any worse than this.
Helen: It’s busy.
Joe: Wait, if it looks like we’re intruding, we should leave. Let’s work out some kind of signal, though.
Lowell: All right. I’ll touch the brim of my cap, and that means that we leave, you got it?
Lowell: Ok. No, wait. I don’t have a cap on. All right, how about this? I’ll touch my nose with my tongue. No, wait. Last time I tried that I sprained my tongue, couldn’t talk for a week.
Roy: Good, we’ll go with that one.
The five arrive at Fay’s house.
Helen: No, don’t ring the bell. Let’s surprise her.
Brian: Well, uh, I’ll tell you what. Uh, Merry Christmas, on the count of 3. Ready?
All: 1, 2, 3. Merry Christmas!
Joe opens the door and finds day sitting in the dark – alone.
Fay: What?! What is it?
Joe: Fay, why are you sitting here?
Brian: You’re all alone.
Helen: In the dark.
Fay: Well, it’s just that…well, it’s my first Christmas since George died.
Everybody falls silent.
Lowell: Would it be impolite to ask for some eggnog?
Joe: Fay, why didn’t you tell us? Why did you make up that story about a party?
Fay: Well, I didn’t feel much in the holiday spirit, and I knew you dear people would try to cheer me up. Anyway, I didn’t want to ruin your Christmas.
Brian: Oh, thanks for the thought, Fay. But that train left the station hours ago.
Helen: Uh, hey, guys, maybe we better get going.
Fay: Uh, no, don’t go, um…your company might do me some good.
Joe: Then we’d be happy to stay.
Fay: Uh, but—but I wouldn’t want to impose.
Helen: Oh, don’t be silly. We came to spend Christmas with you.
Fay: Oh, and I feel much better already. Uh, well, just make yourselves comfortable, sit anywhere.
Everybody finds a place to sit. Fay runs over to Brian.
Fay: No! Not there! No, uh, that’s the chair George died in.
Brian: That chair?
Fay: Yes, I hope you don’t mind.
Brian: No, I don’t mind at all. I’ll just stand right over there.
Roy: Uh, there’s gotta be something better on than this Japanese channel.
Joe: Oh, look, that old lady falls down and can’t get up in Tokyo, too.
Roy: Yeah, well, sayonara.
Roy picks up the remote control.
Fay: Uh, no, don’t. Uh, uh, I’m sorry, Roy, it’s just…that was the last thing George was watching before he died.
Roy: The Japanese Channel?
Fay: Well, he sort of passed away in mid-click.
Joe: Fay, are you saying that you haven’t changed anything in this house since George died?
Fay: Well, I just haven’t touched George’s things. Uh, his pipe is where he left it. His book is opened to the page he was on. His dentures are soaking in his cup by the bookcase.
Lowell who is reading a book by the bookcase had just drunk something from a cup that’s on it.
Fay: I know, it must seem silly, but somehow it just makes me feel that he’s not really gone. Well, look, uh, uh, why don’t I change out of this robe and we’ll do this holiday right.
Brian: We’re not gonna, like, find George sitting up in a rocking chair, or anything, are we?
Roy: He’s got a point. Let’s go.
Joe: Wait, look. We came here because we’re all depressed we’re havin’ a lousy Christmas, but it just so happens that Fay is having an even lousier Christmas. Least we can do is stick around and see her through this.
Helen: Joe’s right. I hadn’t really thought about it much, but we’re the closest thing to family she’s got.
Brian: Gee. Us. Family. Guess that would make Roy the weird Bachelor Uncle that no one ever talks about, huh?
Fay arrives all dressed up.
Helen: Oh, Fay, look at you.
Fay: Oh, thank you, Helen. Thank you, everyone, and Merry Christmas!
All: Merry Christmas!
Fay opens the curtains. Everybody falls silent again. Roy turns to Joe.
Roy: Now, what?
Joe: Oh, yeah, well, I know, let’s—let’s have a Christmas dinner.
Fay: Uh, well, all the stores are closed, and I don’t think I have the right food for a Christmas dinner.
Joe: Oh, Fay, nonsense. We don’t need the right food. We’ll make do with what we have, like the pilgrims.
Brian: Joe, the—the pilgrims were Thanksgiving.
Joe: Oh, like they didn’t eat on Christmas, too.
All sit around the dining table.
Joe: Say, Roy, how about passing me some of that festive wheat germ.
Roy: Only if you’ll send one of those yuletide rice cakes my way.
Roy takes the rice cake and takes a bite.
Roy: Mmm, how do they make them so dry?
Lowell: Without a salad, croutons are just stale bread, right?
Joe: You know, back in the manger they would’ve been happy to have this stuff.
Brian: Oh, yeah, I remember reading somewhere that cocktail onions were a particular favorite of the Baby Jesus.
Joe: So, how you doin’, Fay?
Joe: Can I get you anything?
Joe: Uh…hey, I have an idea. Let’s uh, sing some Christmas carols. I’ll start it off from
Joe starts to sing.
Joe: Sleigh bells ring are you listening?
Helen: In the lane the snow is glistenin’
Brian: A beautiful sight
Roy: Da da da da dum
Lowell: Walking in my winter underwear
Brian: Lowell! Lowell! Lowell! Lowell! I think the lyrics are walking in a winter wonderland.
Lowell: Uh that would be silly, Brian. Wonderland’s a dog track, and I’m pretty sure it’s closed in the winter. Trust me, it’s underwear.
Joe: Lowell, why—why don’t you go in the kitchen and see if you can scare up some dessert?
Lowell: Oh, you got it, Joe.
Lowell stands up and starts singing.
Lowell: I’ll be Joan for Christmas
Roy: Why is it whenever I’m around him I hear Dueling Banjos?
Fay: Every year, George would sing that song to me.
Brian: There’s words to that song, I thought it was just banjos?
Fay starts singing in a very depressing way.
Fay: I’ll be home for Christmas, you can count on me
Roy: Everybody now.
Lowell returns from the kitchen.
Lowell: Good news, I found the cookie jar.
Lowell shakes the bear cookie jar.
Lowell: Why, I can hear somethin’ rattling around in here, but I’m having a little trouble—
Fay: No! Lowell, don’t!
Everybody starts clamoring.
Joe: What’s wrong, Fay?
Fay takes the cookie jar from Lowell.
Fay: George is in here.
Brian: Who called it, huh?
Fay: Actually, George wanted to have his ashes scattered at sea, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I—I couldn’t throw him away.
Joe: Fay, it may not be my place, but I don’t think George would have wanted you to live like this.
Fay: Oh, I know, and it’s not as if I haven’t had to deal with death before. After all, I—I had two other Georges go on me, but this George was different. This was the George I wanted to grow old with.
Roy biting on another rice cake, and its crunching sound breaks the moment.
Joe: Fay, do you think maybe it’s time to let go?
Helen: If George wanted his ashes scattered at sea, maybe this would be the perfect time to do it.
Roy takes another bite at his rice cake. Helen grabs the rice cake from his mouth.
Fay: I don’t know.
Joe: Well, yeah. Uh, it could be sort of like a Christmas present to George. We can go up in the plane right now and do it.
Fay: Well, uh, maybe now would be a good time. Um, maybe you’re right.
Joe: Great. Then let’s go.
Brian: Boy, this Christmas just keep getting’ better and better.
All are in the Sandpiper Air airplane including George inside the bear cookie jar that is strapped on a chair.
Helen: Fay, you ok?
Fay: I think so. I still can’t believe I’m doing this.
Roy: There’s a lot of that goin’ around.
Brian: Uh, it’s a bit overcast, but I think we’re far enough away from shore.
Joe: Lowell, you want to go back and get George.
Lowell: I’d be honored.
Fay: I hope I’m doing the right thing.
Joe: Fay, I am convinced this is exactly what George would’ve wanted.
Lowell drops the jar and it breaks.
Joe: Well, maybe not exactly.
Brian: What happened?
Lowell: I, uh, spilled George.
Fay: Oh, my God.
Joe: Fay, it’ll be ok. Lowell, there’s a Dustbuster in the back of the plane there.
Helen: You have a Dustbuster on the plane?
Joe: Yeah, sure, make fun, but it comes in handy for just such an emergency.
Lowell vacuums George’s ashes.
Lowell: Boy, this little baby really has great suction.
Fay: I knew it. I knew this wasn’t right.
Joe: No, no, Fay…
Fay: No, Joe, I can’t do it. I can’t let George go.
Roy: Uh, look, uh, Fay, those ashes aren’t George. They’re just ashes. I lost Sylvia a few years ago, and I know what it’s like not to wanna let go, but Fay, you gotta let go.
Fay: It’s just so hard.
Joe: We know. We know.
Lowell: Well, I think I got all of him.
Fay: I need a moment.
Joe: You take as long as you need.
Brian: Well, look, uh, if we’re gonna do this we better do it soon ‘cause we’re runnin’ low on fuel.
Roy: Sweet mother of God!
Brian: Just kidding! But I really have to go to the bathroom.
Lowell goes over to Helen.
Lowell: This is the loveliest funeral I’ve ever been to.
Helen: You know, Fay, if you’re uncomfortable with this, we don’t have to do it today. We can do it another day.
Fay: Lowell, give me the Dusbuster.
Joe: What are you gonna do?
Fay: I’m gonna bury George at sea.
Joe: In my Dustbuster?
Joe: It’s brand new.
Fay takes the Dustbuster from Lowell. Sits and starts caressing the Dustbuster. All except Brian who is flying the plane sit around Fay and watch her.
Helen: Shouldn’t somebody say something?
Roy: How about “bombs away”?
Fay: I don’t think I’m up to giving a eulogy.
Lowell: Fay, if you’ll allow me—
Joe: Uh, Lowell, I—
Lowell kneels down.
Lowell: Today we say goodbye to a loved one. Someone who filled our lives with Joy and meaning, laughter and tears. Someone who touched our souls and moved our hearts. We thank him for the time he shared with us here on earth. And now, sadly, send his spirit to the heavens, and body to the sea.
Lowell opens one of the windows.
Fay: Bye, George.
Fay drops the Dustbuster with George in it. Lowell shuts the window shut.
Helen: Well, Lowell, I’m impressed. That was really touching.
Lowell: Yeah, well, I guess I’ve just flushed one too many turtles in my time.
The next day, Joe, Helen, and Brian are at the Sandpiper Air counter talking to Fay.
Fay: I don’t know. I guess I did the right thing.
Helen: You did, Fay. I know you did.
Fay: Oh, well, thanks Helen. I—I just wish there were some way I could be sure that it was ok with George.
Frank waves goodbye to his daughter.
Frank: Uh, bye-bye, Jenny.
Frank speaks Russian. He then goes over to Fay.
Frank: Oh, hi, Fay. H-how was your Christmas?
Fay: I’ve had better.
Frank: Well, mine was worse. I was down at the, uh, boat parade when the damnedest thing happened. The judges were, like, oh, 2 slips away from my boat when, suddenly, from out of nowhere this thing fell from the sky, smashed right through my prow and it sunk the boat like a stone.
Joe: That’s incredible.
Frank: This one fellow swore that the thing looked something like a Dustbuster.
Fay smiles, and looks at Joe.
Joe: I wonder where something like that could have come from?
Fay: Oh, Frank, I’m so sorry to hear that.
Frank: Well, there’s always next year.
Frank leaves. Fay takes a deep sigh of relief.
Fay: Thanks, George, and a Merry Christmas to you too.
This is not the actual script. This is my own transcription of the episode. The “A Terminal Christmas” episode was written by Bill Diamond and Michael Saltzman. Wings is owned by CBS Studios Inc., Paramount Pictures and Grub Street Productions.
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