Homecoming

Coffee, Tea, or Naked Ladies?

Just when Christy thought that she had everything about Cutter Gap and the mountains figured out, a new mystery would develop. The latest puzzler was the secret trips that David took every Saturday morning and the photo that he kept hidden in his jacket pocket. Christy learns that the content of another photo is a scantily dressed lady when she confiscates the item from Rob Allen. Christy finds Miss Alice and whispers in her ear what the young men of the cove have been collecting. Miss Alice is shocked and asks Fairlight where her nephew might have obtained such a photograph. After viewing the scandalous snapshot, Fairlight realizes that her husband's outings on Saturday have been to a teahouse in El Pano. When Alice wonders if perhaps her husband might have been hunting, Fairlight tells her that the hunting he was doing was not of the animal kind. Christy and Alice are both aware of the teahouse, which serves not tea, but watered-down moonshine in fancy cups. Christy stares at David, who is chopping wood, and wonders if he has acquired a taste for city girls . . .

A Saturday Shoe Shop

Saturday morning, the whinny of a horse awakens Christy and she jumps out of bed fully dressed and rushes to the window. She awakens Ruby Mae and tells the girl that they are going to town to buy her a new pair of shoes. Ruby Mae quickly awakens at the thought of owning a pair of pointed-toe shoes like the teacher's. Christy tells the excited youngster that perhaps they may even stop for a cup of tea while they are in town . . .

Preaching is Thirsty Work

Christy hurries down the street in El Pano looking for the teahouse. Ruby Mae, wearing her new patent points, begs Christy to slow down. When Ruby Mae spies David on the doorstep of the El Pano teahouse, she innocently wonders if the preacher has developed the same yearning for tea as Christy has. Ruby Mae is shocked when she discovers that the young lady that David is conversing with is wearing nothing more than her underwear. She asks Christy what the woman is wearing but Christy is already halfway back to Cutter Gap . . .

Boys Will Be Boys

Christy is working at her desk inside the schoolhouse when she hears a noise underneath the floorboards where the pigs usually reside. She lifts the trap door and discovers Creed, Little Burl and Sam Houston smoking tobacco. When she asks Creed for an explanation he tells her that "boys will be boys . . . "

The Ring of Truth

Down by the lake, Christy tells David about her discovery and the boys total lack of shame. David smiles and recalls his smoking excursions and points out to Christy how well he turned out in spite of them. David stops smiling when Christy asks him about his Saturday outings to El Pano and tells Miss Huddleston that his trips were business related. When Christy wonders if the business has anything to do with the photo that David keeps staring out, David admits that it does. After Christy leaves, David looks at the photo, which is an advertisement for a diamond ring . . .

Bird Talk

Neil explains to Daniel while patching up an injured bird, how the treatment would have differed had the patient been a human. Neil realizes that Dan isn't paying attention to what he is saying after he tells Mr. Scott that he's going to dress up in Granny Barclays bonnets and dance around naked under the full moon. Daniel apologizes for his preoccupation and explains that he found the bird hung on a fence post on his property. Dan agrees with Neil's assumption that the bird could be a message and tells Neil about the other signs that he's received. Neil wonders if Bird's-Eye could be responsible for the tricks as he hates Daniel's friendship with Hattie McHabe. When Dan assures Neil that he's not going to run away this time, Dr. MacNeill warns the man to keep his wits about him. Christy arrives as Daniel leaves and explains that the reason for her visit is to obtain camphor for the mission. Neil doesn't believe her and Christy admits that she's troubled by the mens visits to the tea house in El Pano and asks the doctor to talk to them. When Neil points out that the morality department is the preacher's department, Christy reveals that David has been frequenting the teahouse as well. Neil is outraged that David has hurt Christy and touches her cheek with his hand to comfort her . . .

A River of Beauty

As Neil instructs Christy in the fine art of fly fishing, he tells Miss Huddleston that men are silly creatures who search in strange places for answers to questions that they have no right to ask. He explains that the teahouse in El Pano is simply a place where hard working men go to pretend to be something that they aren't. Christy wonders if perhaps the men are trying to forget who they are but Neil explains that they are trying to be more than they are. He assures her that no harm is caused by the excursion and after a few hours, the men return to their homes and families with nothing left but the memory of being a big man in a big city. Christy laughs when she catches a fish and tells herself that the reason she came to Neil for help was because Alice is David's superior and Fairlight is too angry to be objective. Christy asks Neil if he's ever been to the tea house himself. As Neil unhooks the fish and prepares to release him back into the stream, he looks at Christy and tells her that nothing in El Pano could compare with the beauty that he finds at this moment on the river . . .

Happy Hour

Uncle Bogg hums a little ditty as he awaits the arrival of his friends for their latest Saturday excursion to El Pano. Jeb appears and shakes Bogg's hand and the two of them, along with the other men, head down the road to El Pano as Dan and Neil watch on horseback. The men are still humming when they arrive at the teahouse where they are greeted by a lovely "lady . . ."

A Sudden Desire for Tea

In the middle of the quilting bee, Fairlight stands up and proclaims a sudden thirst for a cup of tea. When Mary and Ruby Mae stand up in agreement, Alice voices her disapproval at the idea. Hattie McHabe, however, claps her hands together and proclaims that a tea party would be a lovely idea. Alice rambles on about the virtue of patience but the ladies are already marching toward El Pano. Alice reminds them about the consequences of the Boston Tea Party . . .

A Real Dolly

David strolls toward the teahouse looking at the advertisement for the ring and notes that he only has one more payment to make. Dolly greets him on the porch in her bedroom best, and explains that she couldn't make it to church Sunday because she had to "perform." When she sees the ad in David's hand, she realizes he's been wiring money each week to buy a ring for his fiancÈ. David explains that he's not engaged and a hopeful Dolly promises to attend church Sunday if the preacher comes inside . . .

Real Preachers Don't Drink Tea

The men are casually sipping tea while a grandmotherly woman strolls around the room refilling their dainty china cups. Miss Abigail politely offers David a cup but Bogg tells her that the preacher doesn't drink tea. When Mr. Grantland invites her to attend church on Sunday she laughs at his "joke" and wonders if he'll be telling her that he's a preacher next. Bob Allen almost chokes when David assures Abigail that he is indeed a man of the cloth. On their way home to Cutter Gap, Neil and Dan pass the ladies marching toward El Pano . . .

A Woman Is a Joy to Behold . . . Unless it's Margaret

After finishing their tea, the men are treated to a show featuring a reading on the definition of a woman's role in life. The salivating men watch as one of the women undresses behind a screen and announces that it's her sole purpose in life to please a man. David decides that he's had enough pleasure for one day and starts to leave. He's met at the door by Christy and the wives who inform the gentlemen that they've come for some tea. Jeb tells his wife to go home but Fairlight and Christy along with the rest of the women decide to stay and watch the show. When the ladies start dancing, revealing a good portion of leg, Jeb stands up and cheers only to be hit on the head by Fairlight with a tea cup. Mary gets into the spirit of things and pours herself a cup of tea . . . on top of Bob's head. The other ladies express their disapproval by throwing the cups and saucers at the dancers and piano player. Miss Alice arrives and interrupts the fun with a gun shot. She and Neil are stunned when they discover that one of the women is Margaret . . .

Family Reunion . . . Not

As the men and their wives file out, Neil places a coat around Margaret's shoulders and comments that his "wife" seems to have gotten her health back. Margaret admits that she's in remission and explains that singing and dancing is part of her therapy. She pushes the coat away and tells Neil that it's too late for false modesty. As she turns to leave, Alice agrees with her daughter's statement that it's too "late." Margaret invites Christy to stay and chat but Neil gently pushes Christy outside and touches her cheek again before returning to his wife. That night, Christy lies awake wondering what went on inside the teahouse . . .

Painted Jewel

Sitting on the schoolhouse steps, Rob stares at a picture of a teahouse tramp while Ruby Mae, who looks as if she's gotten a makeup lesson from Dolly, prances around in front of him trying to attract his attention. Pulling up her skirt and displaying a shapely leg, Ruby Mae asks Rob if he likes her new shoes. When Rob wonders how Ruby will be able to run in the fancy footwear, Ruby explains that she's all grown-up and finished running. Before leaving, Rob points out that the dye from Ruby's hair is running down her neck. When Christy asks the girl what she's done to her beautiful red hair, Ruby admits that she's trying to keep from losing her man to a dancing girl in El Pano . . .

Is That Any Way to Greet a Friend?

Dan hears a noise in the woods and almost shoots Christy as she arrives at his cabin. He apologizes, blaming his jumpiness on being alone for too long. When Christy asks Dan if he's seen Neil since his wife returned, Dan correctly assumes that Christy is anxious to speak to the doctor. After promising to tell Dr. MacNeill that she'd like to speak to him privately, Christy leaves. Keeping a firm grip on his gun, Dan surveys the surrounding scenery when he hears a twig crack in the woods. He turns away when he sees nothing but a swaying branch, unaware that Bird's-Eye is watching nearby . . .

Let's Kiss and Make Up

On Sunday everyone files into the church and settles down in the pews, the men on one side and the women on the other. As David starts his sermon, he remarks on the segregated seating arrangements causing Uncle Bogg to observe that some of the men probably sat in different rooms after yesterday's escapade. When Jeb points out that he spent the night in a different cabin, Bob wishes that he had a separate cabin to go to. Fairlight is outraged that the men would feel slighted as the women were the injured party. David interrupts the bickering and asks the ladies to forgive their husbands and the husbands to respect the feelings of their wives. No one moves when he requests that each husband and wife move to stand by their respective spouse. Finally, David tells Jeb to stand up and take his wife's hand. As Jeb and Fairlight embrace each other, Mary, Bob and the other estranged wives and husbands follow suit . . .

Chain of Affection

As they stroll through the fields, Neil tells Christy that Margaret plans to return to Atlanta with the other women in the teahouse. When Neil wonders if he's stopped caring about Margaret, Christy suggests that perhaps he's finally forgiven his wife. As he places a chain of flowers on top of her head, Neil tells Christy that it's more likely that he's forgotten his wife. Their conversation is interrupted by the ringing of the school bell and they realize that Dan's cabin is on fire they see smoke rising in the sky from that direction . . .

A Fiery Scene

Alice, David and the other cove folk help Dan extinguish the flames from his cabin but are too late to save the homestead. Daniel vows to kill Bird's-Eye for what he's done and leaves as Christy and Neil arrive on horseback. Alice tells the duo that the fire started in the field and headed straight for the cabin. When Alice mentions that Dan has gone to find Birds-Eye, the man he believes is responsible for the blaze, Neil offers to go after him. Christy sees Creed Allen hiding in the woods but the boy runs away before she can speak to him. David notices the flower wreath perched upon Christy's head and points out that Miss Huddleston will have to choose between him and Neil. Christy starts to protest her feelings toward the doctor but David interrupts and tells her that he's going to El Pano next week to make the final payment on her ring. David informs Miss Huddleston that when he returns he plans to either put the ring on her finger or leave the notion of marriage behind forever . . .

Unbonding Session

Alice is sitting alone inside the schoolhouse when Margaret arrives, cheerfully singing a song. When Margaret invites her mother to sing along with her, Alice replies with a slap to her daughter's face and informs her daughter that she's spoiled. Margaret points out that it wasn't her desire to sing in a teahouse and humiliate her mother but she had no choice. Alice softens a bit and asks her daughter if she's well. Margaret confesses that she needs money to pay off some debts in Atlanta and that she's worried what will happen if she gets sick again and is without money to purchase medicine. When Alice wonders if money was the only reason that her daughter wanted to see her, Margaret tells her mother that she owes her. Alice sadly informs her daughter that she has nothing left to give her and that she's an empty and selfish person. When Margaret tells her mother that she wishes that she'd never been born, Alice grants her wish and announces that there's no longer a place for her daughter in her life. Margaret puts up a brave front and strolls out the door singing . . .

Sickening Lie

Believing that Creed has the answer to the cause of the fire, Christy pays a visit to the Allen cabin. At first, Mary tries to prevent Christy from seeing her son with the excuse that Creed is sick. Christy begs Mrs. Allen to let her speak with Creed and tells her that a man's livelihood is at stake. Mary calls her son outside and Christy asks Creed if he was smoking rolled tobacco in the field near Dan's cabin and if he dropped it by accident. Creed refuses to answer and tells her that he needs to go inside and lay down. Christy points out that there is nothing that will make a person sicker than living a lie . . .

An Innocent Bird

Hattie hears someone outside her cabin and correctly assumes that it's Daniel. Dan accuses Hattie of hiding Bird's-Eye and is disappointed that his friend would betray him. Hattie tells Daniel that Bird's-Eye swore that he didn't set the fire but Dan doesn't believe him. Hattie assures Daniel that no good will come of his mission but Dan has no intention of backing down from Bird's-Eye this time and dares Mr. Taylor to face him like a man. Bird's-Eye sticks his gun out of the cellar where he is hiding but Daniel catches him before he can shoot. Bird's-Eye dares Dan to shoot him but Christy and Creed arrive before any violence occurs. After Christy explains that Creed was the person responsible for the fire that destroyed his cabin, Daniel slowly lowers his gun away from Bird's-Eye's face. Bird's-Eye climbs out of the cellar and heads off into the woods, pausing only briefly when Daniel calls out his name . . .

Burning Thoughts

That evening, Daniel sits in front of a fire by his cabin burning a stack of charred books. When Alice and Christy arrive to invite him to supper at the mission, Dan reflects upon the fact that he almost killed an innocent man. Christy assures Daniel that it was an honest mistake as Bird's-Eye is a hateful man and but Dan can't shake the thought that he hunted down a man with the same hate that has chased him all his life . . .

Advice from the Heart

Inside Margaret's room at the teahouse, Christy examines a locket containing a picture of Alice and Neil. When Margaret enters the room, Christy quickly hands the Mrs. MacNeill the locket and apologizes for snooping. As Margaret finishes packing, Christy advises her to tell Neil and Alice how much she misses them. Margaret responds by telling Christy that she reminds her of the heroine in "Pollyanna." Christy admits that she's afraid that if Margaret leaves she'll never come back, an act that would break her mother's heart. Margaret points out that Christy neglected to mention Neil and asks Miss Huddleston what her feelings are toward the doctor. Christy stammers and admits that the Dr. MacNeill is a very confusing man. As she picks up her bag to leave, Margaret notes that Neil would probably eat Christy alive. Outside, Christy tells Margaret to think about the fact that Neil is worth fighting for before she wakes up old and alone. Margaret asks Christy if she's going to marry the preacher and advises her to do so. Christy reflects that she probably should . . .

Dreamlover(s)

Christy dreams of the two men in her life. In slow motion, Christy runs toward Neil and he helps her upon his horse. As they ride together through the fields, David's face appears in front of the school. Christy awakens and reflects upon the strange and confusing dream . . .

The One That Got Away

David joins Neil as he fishes and informs the doctor that he plans to ask Christy to marry him. This is old news to Neil as he assumed that Christy turned the preacher down but David assures him that he's not giving up on Christy. David assures Neil that Christy is the right woman for him but Dr. MacNeill wonders if David is indeed the right man for Christy. David points out that if Christy wasn't so confused by the doctor, she would realize that he was the man for her. Just as he asks Neil to let Christy go, David has a bite on his line. The fish, however, gets away to Neil's satisfaction . . .

Whom Do You Love?

At one of their secret spots in the mountains, Christy asks Fairlight how she knew her husband was the right man for her. Fairlight asks Christy a series of questions, most of which Christy responds to with the answer of "David." When posed with the final question, whom she tells her deepest thoughts to, Christy thinks a moment and smiles . . .

Change of Heart

Neil returns to his cabin from his fishing expedition to find the gramophone playing and a tin filled with wildflowers. Thinking that Christy is inside, he smiles and opens the door, only to be greeted by Margaret who informs her husband that she wants to come home. Down by the river, Neil tells his wife that he's confused by her change of heart. Margaret shows Neil the set of wedding rings that she found in his cabin and reminds her husband how much in love he once was with her. Neil is angry that Margaret would expect him to welcome her back with open arms and starts to walk away. Margaret grabs her husband and pulls him to her, telling him that he's the only man that she's ever loved. Margaret starts to cry and admits that she's afraid to die alone. As the two of them embrace, Christy arrives on horseback in time to witness the exchange. She rides away and as Neil starts to go after her, Margaret pulls him back and informs him that Christy is going to marry the preacher . . .

A Preacher or A Doctor?

David is inside the schoolhouse with the children when he sees Christy ride up in a fury. He goes outside, embraces her and hands her the box with the ring. As the children watch from the doorway, David expresses his love for Christy and asks her to marry him. Christy stares at the ring as Neil arrives on horseback. As she looks at Neil and back to David, Christy reflects that the heart is a wild and wondrous thing, strong enough to survive death yet fragile enough to break over an unkind word. That first year in Cutter Gap, Christy faced the most important decision of her life and her decision would forever change the course of her life and all those that she loved . . .

Caroline Kent