Writer: Lionel E. Siegel, Director: Lee Philips, Music: Arthur Morton
"When I was growing up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia in the Depression, many of the things we take for granted today, back then were luxuries - like going to school. Many boys my age had to quit school and find jobs to help support their families, but my father and mother were determined that each of their offspring would graduate from high school".
At the school, the class studies chemistry when the bell rings. John-Boy stays as everyone leaves, ready for more help with his essay “Someone who is an inspiration to me”. John-Boy leaves after Rev. Fordwick unexpectedly enters to ask if Miss Hunter would let the school choir sing at the church picnic. While outside, Ben feels rejected after finding that Naomi Atkins wants Willie Dempster to carry her books home. Suddenly Rev. Fordwick asks if he could call on her tonight. Miss Hunter is stunned at his question. At home Jim Bob, Elizabeth, John, and Olivia talk about Ben being in love. In order to win Naomi’s heart Ben has written a letter to Chicago to solve his problem of being a “97-pound weakling”.
At the store, Mrs. Brimmer is buying groceries from Ike when Ben finds out that his package has arrived. That night, the children pull taffy as John-Boy leaves to receive help from Miss Hunter, at her apartment in Mrs. Brimmer’s boarding house. John and Grandpa walk in after delivering wood to a butcher. Grandma thinks they have been drinking. Grandpa shares his cobbler with Mary Ellen while Olivia and Grandma discuss giving Miss Hunter some preserves or an upside-down cake for helping with John-Boy. Grandpa thinks that, “she needs a man, nothing upside-down or preserved”.
John-Boy and Miss Hunter go over the details of his essay. John-Boy tells her that the story is about an aunt who came to visit one winter (but it’s really about her). Mrs. Brimmer announces that Rev. Fordwick has arrived to talk about the church picnic. John-Boy rides Old Blue home while Ben practices his muscle building. When John-Boy returns home Ben shares the “Charles Atlas” information with him (that cost sixty-two cents with postage). John-Boy agrees to let him use his room to practice.
While Miss Hunter and Rev. Fordwick talk, Mrs. Brimmer falls asleep. She goes off to bed after Fordwick coughs to wake her. Now alone Rev. Fordwick asks Rosemary to call him by his Christian name: Matthew. He then asks permission to court her. Rosemary is stunned, unable to immediately respond.
Rosemary visits Olivia in order to receive help with the dress she bought in Richmond for the church picnic. Olivia is happy to help with the dress, but can’t help much with her hairdo. Olivia learns that Rosemary thinks the essay is about an aunt. Rosemary admits that her and Matthew Fordwick are becoming “friendly”. Ben continues his exercises while Erin and Elizabeth knock on the door, trying to find out what he is doing. Olivia tells Ben its bedtime, and then brings John-Boy dessert in the barn as he writes. She tells her son that Rev. Fordwick is courting Miss Hunter.
At school, John-Boy reads his essay but Miss Hunter is preoccupied with her new beau. John-Boy admits his essay is about her, but she doesn’t hear him. Soon Rev. Fordwick brings her flowers. Erin climbs out on the roof in order to sneak up on Ben. But she slips and John and the boys come to her rescue.
Later at super, Mary Ellen says she can’t wait for the church picnic, while John-Boy is deep in his own thoughts. John-Boy then snaps at Jim Bob when he asks to borrow twenty cents from him (money won from the contest). John-Boy says he may not even submit the article John-Boy reads a new passage to his father, saying he has new feelings about Miss Hunter, now that she doesn’t really have time for him while dating Rev. Fordwick.
Grandma and Olivia convince John-Boy to visit her for another help session and to bring her a jar of buttons and some fruit preserves. He begrudgingly takes Old Blue to see her. He finds Miss Hunter and Rev. Fordwick in the parlor. Rev. Fordwick tries to convince him to read from his essay at the church picnic, while Miss Hunter tries to reach a compromise between the two. John-Boy reads a short passage from the essay, but stops short, saying it is a lie. He tells her the essay is about her, but doesn’t believe what he wrote and hastily leaves.
At church service, Miss Hunter asks Olivia to talk with John-Boy to convince him that he must submit his essay. John listens to John-Boy say how his relationship with Miss Hunter has changed now that she is involved with Rev. Fordwick. John says that he thinks he is “just plain jealous”. John and the family drive to the picnic, leaving John-Boy behind.
At the picnic, Grandpa tells the children a story about his dog Bo who was thrown off the Norfolk Southern railroad. Leashed to the train, the dog ran along the train as it traveled 35 miles per hour. But when the train sped up to 65 miles per hour the leash broke and Grandpa thought the dog was gone. But the train came to a screeching halt to find the dog in front with a red flag in his mouth signaling a washout. The last time Grandpa saw the dog he was elevated to superintendent after working as a flagman. Grandpa begins the ”Nail and Spike Driving” contest between Ben and Willy. Ben loses but Naomi changes her mind, telling Ben that his red hair is her favorite. Rev. Fordwick begins the sack race, while Ike wins the next round of the spike-driving contest. When John-Boy takes on Rev. Fordwick, his handle breaks, and he realizes he was jealous.
John-Boy tells Miss Hunter that he is ashamed of himself, and that he was “just plain jealous”. He admits his words in the essay were true.
"I was to know many teachers, but none so dedicated and gifted as Miss Rosemary Hunter. Even today I can feel her influence, for like any good teacher she left an indelible mark on my work, and on my life".
John-Boy: Yes, Ben?
Ben: After Preacher Fordwick marries Miss Hunter, you reckon he'll call her Rosemary?
John-Boy: No, I expect he'll call her "darling".
Ben: I got called that, today.
Ben: You betcha.
John: Allright you Romeos, pipe down, it's bedtime.
Ben & John-Boy: Goodnight, Daddy.
John: Goodnight, boys.
This is the first appearance of Nora Marlowe as Flossie Brimmer.
Ben is in love with Naomi Atkins, but has competition from Willy Dempster.
Rockfish is six miles from Walton’s Mountain.
Erin doesn’t like potato salad.
Ike sings, “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.”
The school choir sings: “Welcome sweet springtime, We greet thee in song, Mummers of gladness, Fall on the ear.” The lyrics of this song can be found at The Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club, http://www.mayberry.com/tagsrwc/wbmutbb/anewsome/private/songs1.htm
Ike Godsey (Joe Conley), Rev. Matthew Fordwick (John Ritter), Miss Rosemary Hunter (Mariclaire Costello), Mrs. Florence “Flossie” Brimmer (Nora Marlowe), Naomi Atkins (Janet Johnson), Willie Dempster (Brad Wilkin).
(synopsis written by William Atkins and edited by Arthur Dungate)