(12 December 1974) 61-3-13
Writer: Kathleen Hite.
Director: Ralph Waite.
Music: Alexander Courage.
"Old friends were treasured on Walton’s Mountain, and it was a pleasurable time when people who had moved away would come back to visit or to remain. I remember a time when friends, both real and imaginary appeared in our village and how those friends affected our lives".
The children scramble out of the schoolhouse with Elizabeth walking beside her imaginary friend Jimmy. On the walk home Ben tries to meet Jimmy but Elizabeth doesn’t want to introduce him. She would rather teach Jimmy to spell. John-Boy’s car approaches and they jump all over the car while they kid their oldest brother. Off to the side, the abandoned Beardsley house lies lonely. John-Boy notices, however, that the front door is open. The children check over the inside and outside of the property but find nothing unusual. They continue on home, roaring up to the house much to John’s disapproval. John-Boy asks the children to help him wash his car, especially Mary Ellen who wants driving lessons. As Grandma and Olivia take down clothes from the line, Grandma wonders why they are in such a hurry to wash John-Boy’s car, but not in a hurry to wash anything else. Olivia tells the kids to change their clothes, and for the girls to begin cleaning vegetables for supper. John-Boy asks his Daddy if he knows of anybody living in the Old Beardsley place. Grandpa says that the Beardsley’s would never return without telling him.
As some of the children wash the car and others clean vegetables, Olivia takes a rest. They talk about Mason and Delia Beardsley moving to Atlanta after their son James Lee insisted upon the move about five years earlier. Ben directs the water hose onto John-Boy, but John tries to stop the antics after John-Boy becomes soaked. At Ike’s store, Zeb finds Mason Beardsley looking about. Mason asks about Esther and Zeb asks about Delia. Zeb helps Mason carry his groceries home, commenting on how the house needs some fresh air. They reminisce about the photograph of Delia when Mason gave her a string of pearls on her birthday. Zeb remembers dancing with her once.
That night Zeb returns home to tell John that Mason is back. Zeb thinks Mason is okay, but is not totally sure about it since he looks so old. When Esther walks outside, Zeb tells her the good news. He asks her to stop putting eucalyptus oil on for her pleurisy, because he misses the days when she smelled good. Zeb says he feels “a trifle blue”, wanting to bring back all the good, old days. Elizabeth says grace at supper, asking that enough food be left for her friend Jimmy. Grandpa makes the announcement that he expects the whole family to help clean up the Beardsley place over the weekend. When Ben hesitates Zeb reminds Ben that Mason taught him how to tie a trout line.
The next day John helps to fix the water pipes. At Ike’s store John-Boy picks up soap, ammonia, polish, and a pail and a mop. Ike says just to bring back anything not used. John-Boy and Ike reminisce about knowing the Beardsley’s. John-Boy remembers when he delivered butter and eggs and Delia would invite him in and show him an article or something else of interest. Miss Minnie Doze overhears them talking and is troubled that no one called her when Mr. Mason arrived in town. She was the only person to have taken care of the Beardsley’s. At the Beardsley house, Miss Minnie finds Esther and Olivia working alongside Mr. Mason. Mason tells John-Boy that he was Delia’s favorite, and will be pleased to find out that he is now in college. Miss Minnie asks John-Boy if Mr. Mason seems the same as he was before he left the Mountain. John-Boy says that they always reminded him of his grandparents, only more delicate. Later in the day, Zeb and Mason rest as John leaves to pick up some pipes. They remember how Delia and Esther used to love to talk about all the goings-on in the community, while Zeb made homemade ice cream. Mason says he misses those days, and should have never moved away.
Elizabeth talks with Jimmy at the Beardsley swing. But when Mason walks nearby, she leaves. He also finds the swing, and looks longingly off in the distance. Zeb brings in water in order to prime the kitchen pump. Miss Minnie refuses his entry into her clean kitchen, until she learns of his task. Then, Olivia stomps in as Miss Minnie scrubs the floor. They talk about Elizabeth’s imaginary friend and Rosie’s made-up person Wilma (Rosie is Miss Minnie’s daughter.) Miss Minnie doesn’t think that James Lee knew his parents well; otherwise, he would never have made them leave home. Esther then walks on Miss Minnie’s clean floor, followed by Elizabeth. As the family leaves Esther says that she is worried about Mason, and Zeb wants to say goodbye to him (but Esther wants to get home saying they’ll invite him for supper later). John-Boy walks to the store to return the unused items, and to buy some pencils. While talking with Ike the phone rings. It is James Lee Beardsley who, upon finding out his father is at Walton’s Mountain, tells Ike he’ll be coming right away. That night, Miss Minnie knocks on Mason’s door to see if he needs her to fix supper. She is told that Miss Delia has arrived, and will make supper after resting from her trip.
John-Boy walks toward Grandpa (as he searches for mushrooms). Grandpa left church early to find Mason, but couldn’t locate him. The pair talks about Mason and Delia. Zeb says that Mason and Delia could never be apart from each other, and sometimes felt he didn’t love Esther enough. But now he wonders what could happen if Mason or Delia dies before the other? He just doesn’t know. Elizabeth talks with Jimmy, having tea with him at the swing and chairs near Mason’s house. Elizabeth hears Mason approach, calling out Delia’s name. He sits down (where Jimmy was sitting) and they enjoy the scenery before them. Elizabeth admits that Jimmy is her make-believe friend.
At the house, Grandma says she feels like a walk, as Olivia pulls weeds from her flowerbeds. Elizabeth walks up, saying that Jimmy has vanished. A car pulls up with James Lee, who asks to see John. After greetings from Zeb and John-Boy, James Lee announces that his mother has been dead for over two years. Esther takes the news hard, and Zeb reaches out to hold her, and says, “It’s alright.” James Lee says that his father never did accept his wife’s death, and has been searching over Atlanta ever since. He came to Walton’s Mountain, hoping to find her there. Elizabeth says that she knows where Mason is, near the creek by his house where the swing and chairs are located. Zeb asks James Lee if he can go to his father.
Zeb tells Mason that his son has arrived. He also tells Mason that Delia is not here. But, Mason says that he feels her presence here. Later, Olivia and Elizabeth talk about imagination, and knowing what is real and make-believe. That night Mason sits alone by the fire in his house. Zeb and Esther talk in bed. Esther wonders if he would search for her if she dies before him. Zeb responds that she wouldn’t go without him. They cuddle in bed. Mason finally falls off to sleep.
"A short time later Mr. Beardsley was released from his search on this earth, and we all came to feel that he at last, found his Delia. As I look back now at all the lessons we were to learn on Walton’s Mountain I recall with increasing gratitude that our parents and grandparents were there to shed light and make clear what we couldn't understand."
Elizabeth: You still awake, John-Boy?
John-Boy: Yes Elizabeth.
Elizabeth: D'you always write what's true, or d'you sometimes just make believe?
John-Boy: Sometimes I make believe, it's called Fiction.
Elizabeth: It's alright, if you know it's make believe.
John-Boy: Thankyou, Elizabeth, goodnight!
Elizabeth: Goodnight John-Boy, goodnight Mama.
Olivia: Goodnight Elizabeth. Goodnight Grandma, Grandpa
Mason is a lawyer. He likes to tie trout flies. Mason’s wife is Delia. They are the same age as Zeb and Esther.
James Lee Beardsley is a real estate agent in Atlanta, Georgia.
Miss Minnie Doze worked for the Beardsley’s for twenty years. Her daughter is Rosie.
The license plates on John’s truck are T99254 Virginia.
Ike Godsey (Joe Conley); Mason Beardsley (John Beal); Minnie Doze (Madge Sinclair); James Lee Beardsley (George Garro).