Episode 16: The Honeymoon


(10 January 1974) 40/2/16

Writer: John McGreevey.

Director: Jack Shea.

Music: Arthur Morton


The Honeymoon


"Growing up on Walton’s Mountain during the great Depression, we learned early to concentrate on the essentials of life. With many of the necessities so hard to come by, we had little money to squander on extravagances. But there came a time when my father decided another kind of survival was important, and to nourish the human spirit it was necessary to indulge an extravagance".


Grandpa, John, and John-Boy cut timbers, as Grandma and Olivia clean the kitchen. Mary Ellen talks about Luther Burbank, a scientist who cross-pollinated plants. She decides to cross a cucumber with a watermelon, imagining the size of those pickles. Olivia becomes mad after Chance walks through her flowers, and Reckless runs through the clean kitchen with muddy paws. Olivia decides to stage a sit-down strike as the family swarms around her. When Grandpa says she is acting “peculiar”, Olivia begins to vent her aggravation. John-Boy says that part of a sit-down strike is arbitration, so John brings the family around him and says that they are ready to arbitrate. A smile is brought to Olivia’s face.


Later, Grandma wonders what has happened as all the children perform their chores. John says that Olivia needs a vacation. John-Boy agrees, but John decides that what she really needs is a honeymoon after nineteen years of marriage. Olivia says that she can’t go off leaving the children alone. Grandma and Grandpa say they can take care of them. John decides to use the nest-egg money for the trip. Olivia brings out her wedding dress and going-away dress. John-Boy finds her dreaming of the trip. He finds out that his father wore a herringbone, tweed suit on his wedding day. John-Boy tells the kids that its time for bed, while Mary Ellen tends to her cucumber-watermelon combination. John-Boy tells his father that his mother really wants to go on the honeymoon, and John says she is going with him to Virginia Beach.


At school the next day, John-Boy asks Marcia if she’ll go with him to the class picnic. She wonders what she’ll do when he goes off to Boatwright University in September, and says she’ll talk more about the picnic when class rings arrive. Ike gives John the letter (that was written on the 11th) from the Sea Spray Inn stating that his five-dollar deposit reserves his seaside, double room for the 19th of the month. When John tells Grandma the days they’ll be gone, Esther says that she will be in Richmond chaperoning the children’s choir at state competitions for Rev. Fordwick.


John reassures Olivia that they will figure something out, and John-Boy says Grandpa will still be here. Just then Grandpa walks in to say the saw is “done for”. Olivia believes this means the emergency money is gone. With John-Boy and Grandpa looking on, John can’t fix the saw, saying it will cost fifteen to twenty dollars to repair. He doesn’t know where he’ll get the money for the honeymoon. Grandma calls Zeb into the house. John tells John-Boy that he hopes that when the time comes he’ll be able to do something for someone special without thinking if he can afford it or not.


The kids gather in the barn to collect money for their parent’s honeymoon. Mary Ellen contributes twenty-cents loaned from G.W.; Erin, money from beads from Mike; Ben, money from selling four aggies; Jason, fifty-cents from an advance from Mr. Allerton; Elizabeth, two-cents from her bank (with another one cent still lodged inside), Jim Bob, twenty-five-cents from his birthday quarter; and John-Boy, fifty-cents from selling back to Ike some stamps. All together, they have one dollar, seventy-two cents.


Grandpa comes in to contribute his “two-cents worth”, but this two-cent piece was minted in 1864. He sells it to Ike for twenty-dollars. John-Boy presents twenty-one dollars, seventy-two cents to their parents as the rest of the family looks on. Olivia hesitates from accepting the money, but they use her sit-down tactics against her. She agrees, and John grabs his wife and dances the “Peabody”, saying they are going dancing, swim in the ocean, and eat dinner by candlelight.


At school, Marcia and John-Boy talk about his parent’s upcoming honeymoon. John-Boy says that she keeps him waiting, especially about the picnic. Marcia wants to know where she stands with him, saying that Kitty is already wearing Woodrow’s class ring. Back at the house, John carries Olivia across the threshold, in reverse. Grandma rides with them to Mrs. Hays’, who is also helping with the choir. As they drive off Jim Bob yells to the others that Reckless just chased a skunk through the open back door. That night, the family sleeps in the barn, waiting for the house to air out. They think about John and Olivia at the resort, but in actuality they are stuck on the side of the road (with a slipped off fan-belt). John says they’ll repair it in Columbia tomorrow, and settle in the bed of the truck. Suddenly a rainstorm sweeps in and they rush inside the cab.


In the morning, the family enters the house, where Mary Ellen finds that her cross-pollination experiment has resulted in a seedling. Mary Ellen finds a note from Olivia that cinnamon rolls, cereal, and milk are ready for breakfast. Erin and Elizabeth, however, have come down with colds, and are sent to bed. At the inn, the bellhop takes John and Olivia to suite #277, and John gives the boy a twenty-five cents tip. John shows his wife around the suite, until he finally says he’s run out of things to say. They hug. Marcia and John-Boy run down the road, while John and Olivia walk on the beach. Olivia begins to build a sand castle.


Marcia stops running at the top of a mountain. John-Boy kisses her, but she realizes that he’ll be seeing college girls. She tells him that Tyler Crawford has asked her to wear his class ring, and that he is staying on the Mountain to work his Daddy’s farm. She tries to exchange rings, but John-Boy states that four years is a long time. Marcia throws his ring down the slope, and John-Boy falls after attempting to catch it. At the ridge’s bottom, John-Boy tells Marcia to go for help, thinking he’s broken his arm.


At the hotel room, Olivia worries about the Virginian-Pilot newspaper heading “Forest Fire Panics Blue Ridge”. John agrees to let her call Ike, to reassure her the family is safe. As they wait for the operator to connect to Ike’s store, the family sits around John-Boy, whose separated shoulder was set by Doc Vance. Ike tells Olivia that the fire is far away, but that John-Boy tumbled from a fall, Erin and Elizabeth are down with colds, and Reckless chased a skunk into the house. Olivia hangs up the phone, and the pair immediately returns home. Olivia thinks they have been silly to go off with all of their responsibilities. But, John says that he doesn’t think they are silly, also having responsibilities to themselves.


Early in the morning, a sore shoulder and the sound of the truck coming up the road awaken John-Boy. He says he is sorry to his mother, forcing them home a day earlier. Olivia says the honeymoon was “lovely”. She checks in on Erin and Elizabeth, and then prepares for church on Sunday.


Marcia arrives to tell John-Boy that she is dating Tyler, because she has to look toward her future. Olivia says to John-Boy that it’s not the end of the world. John-Boy just didn’t think Marcia would agree so quickly when he suggested they not become serious with each other. Grandpa and John drive Grandma back from her trip. She has laryngitis after bossing the children. The boys laugh at Mary Ellen’s seeding, that turns out to be a weed. That night while preparing for bed Olivia says Grandma can only say “Old Fool”, and John tells her that they are going to finish their honeymoon next weekend, and it’s going to be a “humdinger”.


Later, the family packs up the truck with the tent, supplies, and food and drive off to camp out at Virginia Beach. Zeb and Easter stay to watch the house. Easter says that they’ve never had a honeymoon after fifty years of marriage. Zeb says every day is a honeymoon.


"My fondest memories are not of those special outings or unusual occasions. What I like best to recall is the quiet moment at the very end of an ordinary day, when we drifted off to sleep, secure in the shelter of our home, and of our parents' love".


Jim Bob: Daddy?

John: Yes. Jim Bob?

Jim Bob: Today when Elizabeth and I were playing, I think I saw a crack in the sky.

John: A crack in the sky?

Jim Bob: Will all the air leak out?

John: I'll tell you what: tomorrow you and I will have a look. If the crack's still there we'll get in touch with President Roosevelt, or somebody up there.

Jim Bob: You always know the right thing to do, Daddy. 'Night.

John: Goodnight, Jim Bob.




Boatwright University is 28 miles away, but earlier it was said it is 18 miles away.

While driving to Virginia Beach, John repairs the fan belt in Columbia, Virginia, located east of Schuyler in Goochland County. It lies on Route 6 (and the intersection of Route 690) between Scottsville and Richmond.

John and Olivia have been married for nineteen years.

Grandpa and Grandma have been married for fifty years.

John and Olivia stay at the Sea Spray Inn in Virginia Beach, Virginia, suite number 277.

During a lifetime devoted to plant breeding, Luther Burbank developed more than 800 strains and varieties of plants, including 113 varieties of plums and prunes, 10 varieties of berries, 50 varieties of lilies and the Freestone peach. More information about Burbank can be found at http://www.invent.org/book/book-text/15.html.


Also appearing:

Ike Godsey (Joe Conley), Marcia Woolery (Tami Bula), Bellhop (Greg Mabrey).


(synopsis written by William Atkins and edited by Arthur Dungate)