Ep.13 - The Beginning

  Original Airdate: March 5, 1981
Writer: Kathleen Hite
Director: Lawrence Dobkin


  Jason struggles when the family learns that Toni his girlfriend is Jewish. Miss Emily gets an unexpected pet.


  "The pattern of our lives was broken by the war and the old ways of the past became less a part of us when we returned home. So long as our mother and grandmother were there to shepherd us, the church was central to our lives. But without them on the scene some of the family found it easy to backslide, and as interest in the church slipped away it didn't seem possible that events would join to bring them back again."



The new Baptist Minister, Reverend Tom Marshal, arrives at the Walton’s Mountain Baptist Church on a dark and stormy night to find it abandonned and in a state of disarray. He is enraged at the condition and rings the church bell to summon the community to the building and vent his frustration. He wakes up the Waltons, Baldwins and Godseys among others. The Reverend scolds the community for letting this happen but then learns that the parishioners had switched to the church in Rockfish since vandals trashed it and a lack of ministers to run it. He asks that they help him bring the church back to life. Jason learns that this is his first job as a minister after studying and serving in the war.

The Baldwins let Jason’s girlfriend Toni Hazleton stay with them.

The next day people arrive to lend a hand repairing the church. At dinner the family kids Toni about the new minister and Jason speaks up to her defence by informing them that she is Jewish. The news startles his family and he isn’t prepared for their reaction. They try and apologize but make things worse. Toni leaves. Jason follows her outside. He says that he didn’t think it was such a big deal or worth mentioning. She leaves and drives to the church where she meets the new minister and airs some of her frustration on him. He says that he will be waiting at the church when she is ready to discuss some more.

Jason visits with Toni at the Baldwin’s. They talk about the situation. He learns that she hasn’t practised the Jewish religion and then wonders what then makes her Jewish. She pontificates that maybe it is because of her heritage.

Miss Maimie arrives at Ike’s looking for the item she ordered for Miss Emily. Ike says it is outside. Tom Marshal is there as well and is surprised to learn that Miss Maimie has bought Miss Emily an Irish Setter and not a bird. Miss Emily had confided in him that she was expecting a bird as a gift. Miss Emily is disappointed when Miss Maimie arrive with a dog instead of a bird she was hoping for a pet that could be her own that she could love but Miss Maimie also wanted something that could protect them. Miss Emily begins to warm up to the idea of the friendly dog. She names him Dickie, the name she had picked for her bird.

Toni visits the Reverend again while he is working on his sermon. She discusses her concerns and then questions that if she calls herself a Jew, shouldn’t she know what that means. He gives her a book to read about Judaism written by a Rabbi/friend he knew during the war. Corabeth arrives and begins to talk off the Reverend’s ear about what she feels the Baptist community needs.

The Reverend makes his first sermon at the church. Dickie breaks free from the fence he is tied to and makes his way to sit in the pew with Miss Emily. Toni walks into the church as well. Jason sits beside her and then after service stands apart from his family with her. It is obvious that his his family still hasn’t fully accepted her yet. Ben is the most bothered feeling that his brother has chosen Toni over family.

Jason and Toni climb the mountain for a picnic. He takes her to his grandfather’s grave and then tells he that he want to marry. She rejects his pending proposal not wanting to come between him and his family. Ben finds Jason at the Dew Drop Inn later. They have words and get a little rough with each other. Jason runs off to find Toni. They agree to stick together and then ring the church bell to tell the minister the news that they will be married.


  "It was a joyous night for Jason and Toni, the problems which they faced together were made smoother by the family, and by old friends who grew more interested in the things that brought them together, than those that might separate them. Truly, it was a beginning."

Episode Notes & Interesting Facts:


Additional Cast:



Joe Conley (Ike Godsey), Ronnie Claire Edwards (Corabeth), Peggy Rea (Rose), Leslie Winston (Cindy), Helen Kleeb (Miss Mamie), Mary Jackson (Miss Emily), Lisa Harrison (Toni), Kip Niven (Reverend Tom Marshall)

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