(22 December 1977)
Writer: Marion Hargrove.
Director: Gwen Arner.
Music: Alexander Courage.
"Nature I think intended my father to be a dreamer and a poet. Instead, he became the head of a large hungry household. The one thing he feared and despised was debt, and yet it clung to him as devotedly as it clung to all of his neighbors. He tried never to borrow, never to buy anything on time, and never to fall behind on things like taxes and doctor bills. As careful as he was, there came a day in 1940 when he looked at his finances and was astounded by what he found looking back at him....".
John is perplexed at the paperwork for the house and mill mortgage when he absentmindedly goes off in the truck. John is still in a daze when he greets Rev. Buchanan in Rockfish. Hank has just eyed Marcia Woolery walking down the street. John walks over to John Martin Renshaw, a friend skilled in finances, so he could look over the papers. John Martian declares that with only two more payments John will have his mortgage paid off. John can’t believe it! Hoping to pay it off early, John visits a track superintendent to inquire about work orders. The man says three hundred fence posts are needed within two weeks for the old paper mill in Rittleton that has been converted to a defense plant. John takes the huge order.
Rev. Buchanan shops for groceries at Ike’s store while Maude Gormley and Mary Ellen look on. Corabeth can not understand how he can keep up his strength on a diet of canned goods. Ike is proud of his purchase of fifty Arctic Queen electric refrigerators. After Hank leaves, Corabeth, Maude, and Mary Ellen talk about finding an appropriate bride for their minister. Maude comments that, ‘If I was fifty years younger, I’d give that preacher a run for his money!’ When the threesome has problems thinking of a suitable woman Maude suggests Marcia Woolery. Corabeth is aghast at Maude for even bringing up ‘that type of woman’.
Over supper, John announces that if everyone pitches in with the order the family will be out of debt. While riding Old Blue, who is pulling a downed log, Elizabeth asks Grandpa, ‘Am I poor people?’ Grandpa relates one time in 1877 when he was really poor. He had seen something never imagining to ever possessing. But that Christmas he received it. Elizabeth wonders what it could be. Grandpa answers, ‘It was an orange’.
Olivia and Corabeth enter Rev. Buchanan’s parsonage in order to measure for new curtains. Corabeth gossips about finding Hank a wife while Olivia works. Corabeth states that Hank possesses a ‘remarkable degree of animal magnetism’ and, therefore, needs to be directed toward a proper woman for his wife.
John drives to Ike’s store to purchase more creosote for the work order. He runs into banker J.J. Brendamore who gives John a cigar, trying to convince him to take out another loan. While John smokes his new cigar, Ike tells him that he stands to make a handsome profit of seventy-five dollars for each icebox. Corabeth warns her husband not to divulge that amount to just anyone.
After an exhausting day working on the order, the family rests under a shade tree. Inside the house, Mary Ellen and Erin prepare supper while gossiping about Corabeth’s attempt to find Hank a wife. Erin says that being the wife of a Baptist preacher means ‘being as poor as Job’s turkey’. During supper Elizabeth suggest they celebrate being out of debt. John and Olivia decide to have a Sunday picnic where everyone brings a picnic basket. Without a mortgage, John wants a new truck and Olivia wants to drive to the Grand Canyon.
The next day Ike shows Horace his new electric iceboxes but to no avail since his house is without electricity. Failing to realize many of their neighbors are without electricity, the Godsey’s wonder if they made a mistake. Horace greets John outside the store and informs him to watch out for Ike who will try to sell him one of the iceboxes. As John enters the store he jokes to Ike that if he did buy a refrigerator he would buy one at a chain store in Charlottesville. Ike does not like the joke, blaming John for his troubles.
On the front porch, Grandpa anxiously waits for the truck returning with John and Olivia. When it arrives, they announce that ‘tomorrow we burn the blame thing!’ The house is decorated for the party and Jason is singing and playing his guitar. Neighbors come to share in the happiness. John Martin arrives without his mother who is ‘locked in her room either counting her cash money or with a bottle’. Corabeth arrives with an English trifle dessert but without Ike. (Her husband is examining a refrigerator when the banker visits.) Hank Buchanan arrives with a mysterious woman that Grandpa, Corabeth, and Mary Ellen realize is Marcia Woolery wearing a revealing two-piece outfit. Corabeth faints at the sight. Olivia tells Corabeth, ‘Behave herself or I’ll pour a pitcher of lemonade on your head’. Marcia asks Erin if Hank is dating anyone locally. When Erin says that he isn’t Marcia thinks he is ‘ripe for picking’. Mary Ellen then tells Erin that Corabeth fainted thinking they might get married. Erin informs her older sister that Marcia isn’t the one because she has always known who will marry him.
Hank announces in his best preaching voice that the Lord has delivered John Walton from a large mortgage. With that fanfare John burns the papers while Jim Bob sets off fireworks. Ike then arrives to say it is the ‘end of the world’ because the refrigerators don’t work and the bank wants its money back or will repossess the store. Corabeth faints again. Taking her inside they discuss the problem. John Martin states the only logical solution is to use John’s good name as collateral for the needed seven hundred fifty dollars. John and Olivia privately discuss the matter. At first Olivia is against the idea but John convinces her when he asks, ‘What is the Christian thing to do?’ Back on the porch, John announces that being debt-free did not last long. Ike adds that John had a great deal of help from him.
"And there it was, our parents' great occasion went as quickly as it came, and this that followed was the moment of meaning, the time of celebration. Our parents, like our grandfather on that Christmas morning a hundred years ago, were blessed with one lovely moment of being rich. And perhaps they knew, like my grandfather, that they would never be poor again".
John: This time I mean it. Goodnight everybody.
Jim Bob: Daddy?
John (sharply): What?
Jim Bob: That goonie Marcia was with the Reverend today. Remember when John-Boy was chasing after her?
John: Yes I do!
Jim Bob: Just think, suppose John-Boy had caught her....
Erin: Goodnight Jim Bob....
Jim Bob: Know what she'd be saying right now? Goodnight Mama Walton, goodnight Daddy Walton, goodnight Jason.
(everybody): Goodnight, Jim Bob....
John’s mortgage is with the Mercantile Bank and Trust Company.
John Martin Renshaw and his mother own a dry goods store in Rockfish.
John Martin has problems with his mother who is inclined to drink at times.
Horace Brimley’s wife is named Amy.
The two advertisements hanging on the front door of Ike’s store is for ‘Lambert’s Coffee’ and ‘Fresh Eggs’.
Ike paid fourteen dollars for each refrigerator and is selling each of them for eighty-nine dollars, ninety cents.
Ike’s two-year loan to John Martin’s mother, with John’s co-signature, is for five-percent. The payments are thirty-two dollars, ninety cents each month, which is two dollars, ninety cents less than the old bank mortgage.
Ike Godsey (Joe Conley); Corabeth Godsey (Ronnie Claire Edwards); Rev. Hank Buchanan (Peter Fox); Marcia Woolery (Tammi Bula); J.J. (Joe) Brendamore (Jack Manning); Maude Gormley (Merie Earle); Track Superintendent (Hal Riddle); Horace Brimley (A. Wilford Brimley).