a novel by Elizabeth Langdon Andrews



Posted on May 1, 2017 at 10:45 AM




Likely, you know the story. Lucy holds a football for Charlie Brown to place kick, but without fail, just as his foot leaves the ground, she yanks the football out from under him and he hits the ground with a familiar thud.

I’ve always wondered what kind of a knucklehead could be so naïve. Lucy knows she will never change, the other kids know she’ll never change, and everybody knows that the best outcome Charlie can hope for is soft ground. That is, everybody but Charlie.

After Charles Schultz published that 'toon's swansong, he said he realized that Charlie Brown would never kick that football because having him succeed would have been a disservice to the character. This week, I finally got his point: Either Charlie Brown will not learn from the past, or he refuses to give up on the future. It struck me that I’m a knucklehead akin to Charlie: I refuse to give up on the future, no matter how easy it would be to let go, give in, give up. That doesn’t make me better or braver or superior to anybody for anything. In fact, being a Parkie, I’m like a Supreme Court Justice: this gig is a lifer, only I can't resign, retire, or be impeached.

In 2006, I didn’t have as much to fight as I do now, but I had the great good fortune of meeting Michael J. Fox – thanks to Madison’s being honored for her work with his Foundation, at a gala dinner at Tiffany’s in New York, and my being allowed to tag along. The best advice he gave me went something like this: 

"I figure I have two choices. I can either get in bed and pull the cover up over my head … or I can get up and see what’s going to happen today. You should always choose the latter, ‘cuz 50/50 its gonna be good, and you never want to miss a good day."

When the going gets rough, I think about Michael, and I know he is right. This past week was a good example. It started out as an utter disaster; yet another “football” in my treatment seemed to have been yanked out from under me. But I got up the next day, figured out part of what I was doing wrong – and as I write this, I’m in Chicago enjoying time with my daughter. And the past three days have been nearly blemish-free.

Like Michael, my role model, I never want to miss a good day. So like Charlie Brown, my only choice is to keep kicking.

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