Episode 9 - The Battle of Drucilla's Pond

(17 November 1977)
Writers: Rod Peterson and Claire Whitaker.
Director:Philip Leacock.
Music: Alexander Courage.


"While the war in Europe continued to spread, a deceptive calm lay over Waltons Mountain. In this 'quiet before the storm' our mother turned to painting, losing herself in it as if somehow she could preserve those tranquil days for ever".


Grandpa sneaks up on Olivia while she paints Drucilla’s Pond in preparation for the Ladies Art League Painting Exhibit in Rockfish. Olivia is trying to preserve the peacefulness of her world that is quickly changing before her eyes. While Grandpa comments about the calmness of the water and the gentle breeze around them, their conversation is disrupted by maneuvers of the Army at the nearby federal preserve.


Erin and Mary Ellen are subjected to catcalls from soldiers outside Ike’s store. The sisters then learn that Ike has been made coordinator in charge of civilian relations by the captain in charge. They are also told that Aimee and Elizabeth will open the painting contest with their tap dance to the song ‘Shuffle Off to Buffalo’. As Erin and Mary Ellen leave, Curt and Private William Lance (his driver) arrive while in route to help his unit look for a place to camp. Mary Ellen is disappointed that he can not stay. Lance strikes up a conversation with Erin but she is not friendly toward him. After Grandpa sings the song ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home’ he announces that he has sold the army their ‘chicken-chasing pig’. Grandpa has also given permission for them to camp at Drucilla’s Pond so Curt can be close to Mary Ellen.


Chance is about to deliver a calf. John reassures Olivia he won’t try to sell the calf like he did with Chance’s earlier offspring. After supper the boys, Grandpa, and John talk about war but Mary Ellen is angry that Curt did not show up for the meal. She gruffly tells the men they can do KP as she walks off toward the pond. The next morning John and Olivia see Curt and Mary Ellen walking arm-in-arm down the stairs. Mary Ellen explains she was arrested for walking too close to the army camp and Curt walked her home and stayed for the night. John comments to Olivia, ‘That’s what you call night maneuvers!’


Ike is signing up locals as injured participants during next Saturday’s mock war disaster. Jim Bob has already been signed up and Thelma and Grandpa sign up while visiting the store. Later, Private Lance has run out of gas and admits to Jason and Erin, who have picked him up, that he is afraid he will get in trouble with Lieutenant Willard. While Jason finds a can of gas, Lance wanders over to take a drink from the old water pump. As Olivia paints the pump she tells the soldier that the well went dry fifteen years ago. Lance tells her that he is in the military because of his hope to keep his hometown like it is now.


Jason and Grandpa go fishing at Drucilla’s Pond but find that a grenade, that had to be exploded in the pond, has killed many fish that are now floating on top of the water. The army is now busy with the mock disaster, but Grandpa has lost interest in their escapades. John and Jim Bob load Olivia’s paintings into the truck for the trip to the exhibition. While passing in front of Ike’s store John and Olivia are subjected to the mock games. Olivia does not understand why the army’s activities are called ‘games’. She finally admits to John that she knows the country will become involved with the war in Europe. She wishes they only had daughters and no sons that have to go off to war. Back home, Grandpa tells John that the war is coming closer to them and poses the question, ‘How many generations will it take for us to settle our differences without killing one another and crippling our land?’


At the Rockfish exhibition, Maude Gormley is awarded twenty-five dollars by the judges for being recognized as the most outstanding artist at the display. Olivia is sad she did not receive the money but soon learns that her paintings were sold to a most distinguished collector who greatly admired her work.


In the morning Chance has given birth to a baby calf after being scared by the army’s explosions. Grandpa says that dynamite brought the calf into the world. Elizabeth wants the newborn to be called ‘Gwendolyn’ but Jim Bob responds, ‘Not this one. She’s Dynamite!’


Olivia buys a new sewing machine from the money she received from selling her paintings. But when Olivia goes to the attic to find a silk scarf for Mary Ellen she discovers her paintings hidden under a blanket. She thinks John has bought them and becomes angry with him for being cruel and humiliating her in front of the crowd at the exhibition. Curt suddenly appears to say the army is immediately returning to camp after hearing that Paris has fallen. Before leaving Vance and Erin agree to write each other. Curt and Mary Ellen reluctantly say good-bye. Grandpa confesses to Olivia that he was the mysterious collector who bought her paintings. He admired them and simply wanted to leave a legacy to his grandchildren.


"No one of us on Waltons Mountain could possibly foresee that the world was about to go up in flames. Mama's paintings became a lasting link to what was, a reminder that through changes and turmoil, some things do endure".


John: Pa?
Grandpa: Yes, Son.
John: You pay all the pig money for the pictures?
Grandpa: Yes, I did. I still got even with the Army for blowin' up the Pond.
Jason: How'd you do that?
Grandpa: I sold 'em the catfish that they killed.
Erin (reproachfully): Grandpa....
Grandpa: Well, they were still pretty fresh.
John: Goodnight!



The license plates from Jason’s car are 46-4072 Virginia.

Private William Lance’s nickname is ‘Billy’.

Lance is from a small ‘hill-country’ town in West Virginia.

The ‘Rockfish Press’ has printed an article about the painting contest.

Alice Hirson, who appears as Jane Stevens (the hostess for the exhibition) in this episode, also appeared as the same character (the owner of the Rockfish Business School) in the episode The Career Girl (season 5/episode 17).

KP refers to the military term ‘kitchen police’.

The lyrics for When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again can be found at: http://www.niehs.nih.gov/kids/lyrics/johnny.htm


Also appearing:

Ike Godsey (Joe Conley); Corabeth Godsey (Ronnie Claire Edwards); Aimee Godsey (Rachel Longaker); Private William Lance (Michael Sullivan); Jane Stevens (Alice Hirson); Thelma (Dorothy Shay); The Sergeant (Joseph Cala); The Sentry (Jeff Reese); The Soldier (Kevin Scott Allen); Maude Gormley (Merie Earle); Curt Willard (Tom Bower); The Radio Announcer (Art Gilmore).