Episode 19 - The Lumberjack

(21 April 1981)
Writer: Carol Zeitz.
Director: Harvey S. Laidman.
Music: Alexander Courage.



"As the memories of war began to fade, our lives took on the more natural rhythms of daily life. Spring came to the mountain and the dogwood and the redbud blossomed beneath the evergreen pines. Erin's heart had been sorely tried by the war and for a long time she carried a secret wound. When love did come to claim Erin again she welcomed it with her usual spirit. It was the rest of the family that was left breathless".


Erin drives off as Paul Mathews negotiates a lumber contract that will cost Ben twenty cents a board-foot above the regular price. Ben doesn’t think the price is reasonable, but Mathews says his lumber is better quality than the warped piece Ben earlier bought. John-Boy looks on, thinking Mathews looks familiar.


Ike hides his newly purchased Geiger counter so Corabeth won’t find he is planning to hunt for uranium. When Erin arrives for her order she informs Corabeth that the contraption is a Geiger counter, knowing that Jim Bob has been reading about it for weeks. Erin is telling Corabeth she has a boring social life, when suddenly she bumps into Paul Mathews as he follows the Hurley brothers into the store. Ike and Corabeth are impressed that he bought the Larson estate including a lumber lease, situated on a county road, and pays moderate taxes. Erin is obviously taken by the man, prompting Corabeth to state, “Erin has lost her head”.


Cindy is growling while setting the table; upset that Ben is upset at a new lumberman. She yells at Erin when she walks in, but Erin doesn’t mind after seeing, “the most beautiful man in the world”. Later, Erin rides toward Paul’s lumber camp, thinking of ways to introduce herself. When Erin meets him, Paul has already found out about her. Over coffee, Paul tells Erin that he only cuts trees that he needs, and then replenishes what he cuts. His words remind Erin of words spoken by her father and grandfather. Paul imagines himself a modern day ‘Johnny Appleseed’.


Ike and Jim Bob ready themselves for a two-day uranium hunt while Corabeth thinks it’s a foolhardy venture. Erin and Paul are in the woods, as they enjoy each other’s company. With gurgling water streaming into a small pond, Paul kisses Erin. On Sunday morning, Ben mashes potatoes, Jason sets the table, and John-Boy brings in firewood as they prepare dinner after Erin has invited her new boyfriend. The boys are unaware that it is Paul Mathews. Ben answers a knock on the door to find Paul standing there with flowers. After the meal, Paul apologizes for being arrogant earlier. Ben accepts his apology but still doesn’t agree with his prices. Paul says he plans to put Northridge Lumber out of business with his conservation principles than counters the usual cutting of whole stands of trees. Mary Ellen tells Ben that their father and grandfather would have liked his ideas and would have paid a prime price for such lumber.


Still searching for uranium, Ike is worried about finding their way back to camp when he receives a reading from his Geiger counter. But, the source is only a watch. Jim Bob leads them to camp. Later, after an exhausting day of prospecting, Jim Bob gets a reading. The pair digs a sample to take to the assayer’s office.


On the front porch, Erin and Paul discuss how long they have been dating. Paul says, “Six days, fourteen hours, twenty-six minutes, fifty-five seconds”. Erin wants to know more about Paul when Ben drives up to announce that he and the other members of the co-operative have agreed with his terms and price.


John-Boy visits Paul, showing him a photograph from Stars And Stripes describing Paul Mathews Northridge, finally exposing Paul’s true identity. Paul says he was not trying to hurt Erin. John-Boy says, “Straighten it out fast or you will answer to me!”


Corabeth goes with Ike to the assayer’s office, telling Ike they will eat at a fancy French café. Erin tells Mary Ellen that she doesn’t know what to wear to meet Mr. Mathews, unaware of Paul’s true identity and worried about him leaving her like Ashley Longworth. Mary Ellen confesses that Jonesy has not contacted her for two weeks. Later, Erin and Paul drive through Northridge Lumber property on their way to meet his father. Arriving at the house, Erin learns that Paul is the son of Wesley Northridge. Rosy, the maid, shows the two into the mansion, as his father talks loudly and overbearingly at his son and his guest. Erin asks if he is always like that. Paul says that he is sometimes worse. With Erin sitting between father and son at the dinner table they argue about different ways to run a lumber operation. Mr. Northridge says that Paul’s practices would bankrupt his company. Their tempers explode, each unwilling to compromise. Finally Erin becomes angry, saying Mr. Northridge “talks loud and too much” and that Paul is following closely in his father’s footsteps. Erin leaves, upset at their behaviors. Paul runs after her, unable to make her understand.


Mr. Franklin, of the assayer’s office, loudly state to Corabeth and Ike that he is tired with every “Tom, Dick, and Harry” trying to strike it rich with a Geiger counter. When Ike announces he believes he has found uranium, Mr. Franklin doubts the statement, knowing the government has searched every inch of Virginia. Corabeth insists that as tax-paying citizens it is his duty as a public servant to investigate their claim. Back at the store, Ike itches his back as Mr. Franklin storms into the store, saying he must immediately see their site. At the site, Mr. Franklin finds that SAC Laboratories has illegally dumped radioactive waste products. Ike, Corabeth, and Jim Bob are disappointed but Mr. Franklin says this is enough evidence to shut down the business.


Back at the house, Corabeth announces to the family that Ike and Jim Bob are heroes according to the Charlottesville paper after being instrumental in the finding of radioactive waste above Rockfish. At the same time, John-Boy comforts Erin when they observe the Northridge automobile approach the house. They explain to the family that they are here to apologize to Erin, after she made them take a good look at themselves. Mr. Northridge says no one besides Erin has been able to talk to him that way since Paul’s mother. Paul asks Erin to give him another chance. And she does.


"Romance for Erin always seemed to take her along a rocky road, but the rough beginning with Paul Northridge hopefully indicated a smooth ending. Only time would tell if their relationship would endure".


Elizabeth: Erin, do the Northridges really live in a mansion?
Erin: Yes, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth: Do they have cars, and horses, and a swimmimg pool?
Erin: All of those, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth: Will you still talk to us when you're in high society?
Erin: I won't talk to you tomorrow unless you let me get some sleep tonight.
Elizabeth: You see, already you're stuck up.
Erin: Goodnight Elizabeth.



Paul Mathews Northridge is introduced in this episode. He will become Erin’s husband.

Erin’s grocery order totals one dollar, ten cents.

Paul is looking for “Cadwaller 59” tobacco at Ike’s store.

Mr. Northridge’s wife is deceased.

Mr. Northridge and Paul both graduated from Yale University.

SAC Laboratories is short for Southeast Advanced Chemicals Laboratories.

The Hurley brothers (Joe and Tom) work for Paul.


Also appearing:

Ike and Corabeth Godsey (Joe Conley and Ronnie Claire Edwards), Cindy Walton (Leslie Winston), John-Boy (Robert Wightman), Paul Mathews Northridge (Morgan Stevens), Wesley Northridge (Richard Eastham), Mr. Franklin  (Lew Horn), Roxie (Vivian Brown), Joe Hurley (Chuck Lindsley), Tom Hurley (Robert Dryer).