Episode 10 - The Silver Wings

(29 November 1979)
Writer: Michael McGreevey.
Director: Stan Latham.
Music:Alexander Courage.


"As World War Two continued, more and more American families felt the pain of separation from their loved ones. With no end in sight they could only wait and pray for the day their friends and relatives would come home safely. During this time my brother Jim Bob eagerly waited for his chance to join in the fight, and while he waited, he fell in love".


Jim Bob waits for Serena, anxious not to be late for the first day of his new job delivering mail for Ike. Serena is wearing her brightly decorated uniform from the Cadets of the Blue Ridge Girls Club as she jumps into the car for her meeting outside Ike's store. Jim Bob is not anxious about delivering mail to Betsy Randolph who lives far up in the mountains. Serena is given the bad news from their leader Corabeth that the troop only collected ten pounds of tin foil from their scrap metal drive. Corabeth tells the little girls in no uncertain terms that 'we won't get to Berlin' with this 'miserable' collection. The drillmaster warns the girls that they can redeem themselves by earning all of their merit badges before the awards banquet.


Jim Bob drives up to the Randolph place to find the mailbox on the ground and the house falling apart. Betsy is washing her hair from an outside tub when Jim Bob says he is delivering her mail. She is disappointed not to receive mail from her husband, Matt, a pilot and major in the Air Force. Jim Bob offers to fix her mailbox the next day. When turning his car around, he accidentally runs over her fence, but offers to fix it, too. As he drives off Jim Bob is obviously attracted to the married woman.


That night over supper, the family taste the various foods prepared by Serena as she works her way toward the Cooking and Etiquette badge. The soup is cold, but Mary Ellen believes it is suppose to be eaten that way. Dessert consists of fried bananas.


The next day, Jim Bob borrows John's tools in order to make repairs at Betsy's house. He reassures his father that he has no interest in the older woman. In the meantime, Erin cannot wait any longer as Serena tries to rub two sticks together in order to make a fire. She assigns Jeffrey to be her assistant in charge of overseeing the work. Betsy makes lunch for the Jim Bob. Jim Bob says her food is delicious and mentions that Grandpa used to say he had a tapeworm named Marvin because he ate so much. Betsy loans him Matt's album filled with airplane pictures. She gives him a kiss on the cheek for being a friend.


After several cleanup days, Betsy invites Jim Bob for dinner in celebration of finishing. He forgets that he has a bowling date with Elizabeth, instead goes to Ike's to purchase a bottle of perfume named 'Love Forever'. As John and Elizabeth drive to Ike's they see him drive off. Corabeth tells John that she is concerned about Jim Bob, mentioning the perfume. Back home, Jeffrey finds Serena preparing her overnight stay in her tent that Ben helped erect. He directs the garden hose onto the tent but is caught by John. He is directed to take a bath as punishment. John confronts Jim Bob about the expensive perfume and warns his son that he is 'playing with fire'. Jim Bob questions his father, 'I thought you trusted me?'


At Betsy's house, they laugh and talk over coffee. She thanks him for the flowers he brought. Then Jim Bob presents her with the other present. She opens the perfume but says she cannot accept it, realizing she has given him the wrong impression. Jim Bob does not understand her response and abruptly leaves.


John is angry with his son for returning home so late. Jim Bob tells him he wishes he never met Betsy. He admits he is in love, but she rejected him tonight. In the morning, Serena draws Jason's picture while Jeffrey distracts him by throwing a ball against the house. Jeffrey thinks the finished picture looks like a swashed watermelon. Serena believes it is time to start her First-Aid badge. So she wraps Jeffrey up with bandages covering his mouth and then wraps other bandages around the chair so he can't get loose.


Jim Bob observes Elizabeth swinging alone. He apologizes to her and asks to go bowling tomorrow. Later Mrs. Randolph visits the house hoping to talk with Jim Bob. She explains to John that his son gave her friendship when she needed it. She walks to where Jim Bob is working on the airplane engine, saying she didn't mean to hurt him. Jim Bob says he is not angry with her, but angry with himself. Betsy tells him she has a gift for him but does not say what it is when she takes him to an open field for a picnic. Soon her husband's friend Buddy Russell arrives in a bi-plane. She yells out, 'You're going to fly, Jim Bob!' Buddy maneuvers the airplane with rolls, pitches, and yaws as Jim Bob experiences his first flight. He and Betsy sing flying songs on the drive home and they part as friends.


The next day, John tells Serena that he will hike with her as soon as he and Ben return from Charlottesville. Jim Bob walks into the store telling Ike he is ready to deliver Betsy's mail. But Ike and Corabeth inform him that they delivered a letter this morning, a telegram informing her that her husband was killed in the war. Jim Bob rushes to his friend. He enters the house to find her staring out into space. She doesn't say anything. Jim Bob says he will wait outside if she should need him.


Serena cannot wait any longer for John so starts out alone on her hike. After dusk Erin and Mary Ellen find that Serena is missing and search as far away as Baskin's Ridge. John and Ben return late after having a flat tire. They go out in search for Serena. In the meantime, Serena is frightened by a noise; and then runs until she sees the truck approach. She insists she will not stop hiking. John asks to finish it with her.


Betsy comes out on the porch and cries on Jim Bob's shoulder.


"Jim Bob was never to see Betsy Randolph again, but their brief friendship was a turning point in his life. No one would ever think of him as a boy again, he had become a man".


Serena: Goodnight Uncle John.
John: Goodnight Serena.
Serena: Goodnight Jeffrey. Jeffrey! I said Goodnight! Are you still mad at me? I could have smothered him with those bandages. I'm sorry, I promise I'll never do anything like that again.
Rose: Don't be too sorry Serena, it was the quietest afternoon I've spent in months! Goodnight Jeffrey!
Jeffrey: Goodnight Nana.



The license plates on Jim Bob's car are 678-795 Virginia.

The motto of Serena's Cadets of the Blue Ridge Girls Club is 'A Blue Ridge Cadet is the Best Weapon Yet'.

John assigns the following family members to oversee the accomplishment of Serena's merit badges: Jim Bob - woodcarving, Ben - camping, Erin - firemaking, Elizabeth - sewing, Jason - art, Mary Ellen and Jeffrey - first-aid, and John - hiking.


Also appearing:

Ike and Corabeth Godsey (Joe Conley and Ronnie Claire Edwards); Rose (Peggy Rae); Serena (Martha Nix); Jeffrey (Keith Mitchell), Betsy Randolph (Patsy Rahn), Buddy Russell (Odell Burton), John Curtis (Michael and Marshall Reed).