Written: Kathleen Hite, Director: Ralph Senensky, Music: Alexander Courage
The children walk home while Jim Bob watches his friend Danny Comley perform coin tricks. Grandpa tells John that Jim Bob is with his new sidekick. Inside, Grandma and Olivia are rolling a ball of yarn when Danny asks if Mrs. Walton would try his shell game. She agrees, but chooses the shell without the pea. Grandma also tries, but chooses the wrong one, too. Suddenly, John-Boy jumps downstairs like a crazy man after finally completing his Chemistry project. He dances around the room with Grandma, telling her she should have been his partner at the marathon dance. Grandpa walks into the festivities, and cuts in on John-Boy’s dance with Grandma. Danny has slipped John-Boy’s pen off the table, and John-Boy notices that the pen (the one that Ike gave him for his graduation) is missing. John-Boy realizes that Danny has it, but the boy admits he wasn’t going to keep it. Olivia thinks Danny should stick with shells and peas. After the boys leave, Grandpa says that there is something not quite right with Danny. Grandpa also leaves, after forgetting why he came inside in the first place.
After supper at the Walton house, Danny returns home to find his father working on his car. Mr. Comley doesn’t like the coin trick that he sees his son performing. He tells Danny to fill the wood box if he wants breakfast in the morning. The next day, as John-Boy drives through an intersection, a car runs a red light and he must swerve to avoid the car. He hits the curb, which blows out his tire. The woman driver stops, but seems unconcerned after finding out that he was uninjured. At Professor Whitley’s classroom, the woman, Miss Bradford, tells the professor that she hasn’t attended classes because of being in her sickbed. Whitley tells her that if she passes the mid-term examination, then she may be able to stay in the class. John-Boy runs in to tell the professor that a crazy driver caused him to blow out his tire and miss class. Miss Bradford confirms that the story is true, because she is the crazy driver (wanting to make an impression on him). John-Boy is a bit stupefied at her actions. After she leaves, John-Boy gives the professor his paper. Whitley tells John-Boy that he does well in class, but falls down in the tests.
Bradford notices the flat tire in John-Boy’s rumble seat. She also notices his Chemistry notes on the front seat, and steals them. As John-Boy walks out of the building, Bradford waits for him, taking his book so she can read his name on its inside cover “Walton, John--Walton’s Mountain, Virginia”. She apologizes for the accident, saying her name is Sis Bradford, formerly of Sweet Briar College. She was asked to leave the college, and may be forced to leave Boatwright if she doesn’t pass the Chemistry examination. John-Boy suggests that she attend class and study like everybody else. He tells her he is not interested in her problem because he has his own problems—like how he’s going to replace his flat tire. She leans over and kisses him, saying “You’re not thinking of tires, Walton, honest!” As she walks away, John-Boy isn’t sure how to take this woman, but likes the kiss.
John-Boy drives home on a nearly-flat tire after his spare tire also goes flat. Jim Bob and Danny greet him as they climb down from the tree house, saying that the tire looks “flat as a pancake”. In the kitchen, John-Boy asks his mother for a sandwich (after missing lunch) while relating all of his problems from the day. Then, to top off his problems, John-Boy can’t find his Chemistry notes. Not finding the notes in his car, John-Boy thinks that Danny and Jim Bob might have taken them as a joke. He confronts them, but both boys say they didn’t take his notes. John-Boy continues to search for the Chemistry notes. Ben wonders why he is blaming everybody else and Mary Ellen thinks he is being very boring. John-Boy admits that he is fearful that he might fail the class.
John-Boy finds his father lying around in the barn. John wonders what his son will do about his flat tires. John-Boy says he’ll go over to the Comley house for a cheap tire to fit his car. After he leaves, Jim Bob asks his mother where John-Boy has gone. Olivia says that he’s gone to the Comley house. Jim-Bob rushes off, thinking that John-Boy is informing Mr. Comley that his son took his notes. Danny finds a tire that fits John-Boy’s car. Just then Jim Bob rushes in and tells Mr. Comley that Danny didn’t take the notebook. Comley is obviously upset at his son for all his the tricks. John-Boy tries to explain that he knows Danny didn’t take the notebook. Back at the house, John talks with Jim Bob who is troubled by the “mess of spinach” he’s in. John says that (at least) his heart was in the right place. Jim Bob says that he’s never seen Mr. Comley smile, and Danny can’t talk with his father like he can.
At class, John-Boy asks Professor Whitley if he left his notebook in class. Whitley says no, admitting that John-Boy has been quite disorganized lately. Whitley tells John-Boy that his Chemistry project was a “first rate” job, but his grade will still depend on the test. In the hallway, John-Boy runs into Sis Bradford, and asks if she borrowed his notes. She says that she might borrow his heart, then kisses him again, as others look on.
Jim Bob and Danny talk about magic tricks as they walk across the bridge over Driscilla’s Pond. Jim Bob asks for help in learning the tricks. Danny suggests they take something at Ike’s store without Ike seeing them (but then put it back; so it’s not stealing). In front of the store, they see Sis Bradford’s fancy car. She asks for John Walton, but learns from Jim Bob that she really means John-Boy. She responds, “John-BOY…my-my!” They jump into the car and direct her to the house. The family stares at the fancy car and John-Boy peeks out of his bedroom window. He runs outside and introduces her to the family. She shows him the gift she brought him, a new tire with the note: To Walton, John; From Weapon, Lethal.” He abruptly kisses her in front of the family. But when she asks him to take her to see the Mountain at sunset, John-Boy says he must cram for the Chemistry exam. As she drives off, Jim Bob and Danny yell that their books are still in her car. They race off to catch her. Sis hears the car horn and notices the books on her car seat. She stops and places John-Boy’s Chemistry notes into Danny’s book-bag. (Jim Bob sees her adjusting the book-bag’s strap as they run up to the car.)
At the store, the boys enter with the intention of playing tricks on Ike, but Jim Bob is unsure about what they plan to do. Ike is helping Mrs. Brimmer with her order, especially about the cough syrup that she likes to drink. Danny takes a red ball, and then puts it back. He then takes Ike’s pencil, and while Ike looks for it, places it under his notepad. After Mrs. Brimmer leaves, Jim Bob tries to take an onion, but is caught. Ike is upset at his actions, and tells the boy to tell his father (or he’ll do it).
That night, John-Boy tries to tell his parents about Sis’ headstrong behavior. Olivia says, “pretty is as pretty does” and “she acts like she owns the world”. John-Boy isn’t very successful at explaining her actions. Jim Bob soon walks downstairs to have a private conversation with his father. He confesses about what happened at Ike’s store. John tells Jim Bob that it was “a sneaky trick—dead wrong”. He makes his son apologize to Ike first thing in the morning and to ask Ike what he can do to make it right. Not much later, Mr. Comley and Danny knock at the front door. Danny informs John-Boy, Jim Bob, John, and Olivia that he doesn’t know how it got in his book-bag but he found John-Boy’s Chemistry notes inside. Jim Bob remembers that he saw Sis snap the book-bag as he ran to her car to retrieve their books. John-Boy realizes that she took the notes.
The next day John waits for Sis. He states, “You took my notebook and made it look like Danny took it!” He tells her that she is “dishonest, rude, thoughtless, unkind, and very attractive—and it is very likely that is all you’ll ever have.” After school John-Boy and Jim Bob stop at the bridge over Druscilla’s Pond and discuss all they’ve learned over the past few days. They’ve both made some dumb mistakes, but learned from those mistakes.
Sis Bradford mentions that she previously attended Sweet Briar College (until she was asked to leave). In reality, the college is located in Sweet Briar, Virginia. The city is located on Route 29, about twelve miles north of Lynchburg, Virginia. More information on the college can be located at http://www.sbc.edu/.
A sign in Ike’s store is for “Coffee Percolators - $1.25”.
Ike Godsey (Joe Conley); Mrs. Brimmer (Nora Marlowe); Sis Bradford (Darleen Carr); Danny Comley (Willie Aames); Tom Comley (Beeson Carroll); Professor Whitley (Glen Gordon).