A Christmas Memory (1997) - full transcript

A boy, Buddy, whose parents have split and whose mother is an actress in New York, has been dumped in the south at the small-town home of some older cousins, all of whom are unmarried. Buddy brings life to the house and develops a close friendship with one of the older, simpler ladies, Sook. Buddy and Sook undertake many adventures together, including the baking of 31 fruit-cakes which they give as Christmas presents, even mailing them to President and Mrs. Roosevelt and Jean Harlowe! Just before Christmas, one of the older cousins begins to wonder if it is best for Buddy to be living with them...

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[ Chickens cluck ]

Oh, my, it's fruitcake weather.I
knew it beforei got out of bed.

The courthouse bell soundsso cold and
clear, and there wereno birds singing.

They've gone to warmer country.>> Cousin jennie's
probablygonna start mewearing shoes again soon.

Ah, you're luckyyou're not living upin
New York City with your mama. It's my guess

they've been wearing shoesagain for over a month now.But
go see if your cousinsare through with breakfast

and bring me any extra dishes. The sooner we get
done, the sooner we can set aboutour adventure.

Oh, and find me a piece of paperand a ticonderoga,
so we can make our list, see how many

cakes we'll need this year.

Why, thank you, buddy.F paperthat's a big help. I'm
considering adding morewomen's wear to the shop

for the holidays at leastand into easter ifthe
reaction is as I expect.>> More than just hats?

Well, I mean, that'swhat we're known
for.>> That's limitedthinking, Callie.

I'm speaking of dresses, blouses, unmentionables.
Until Mr. rooseveltcan pull this country

out of the depression, ladies need pretty
thingsto lift their spirits.They can't buy it all

from the sears and roebuck.Don't you agree,
seabone?>> Does it matter? You are forever asking

my opinion, then doingexactly what you want
anyway.>> Well, it is my shopafter all.

Oh, look at the time. Callie and I should be
off.>> Yes, sister.>> I swear this boy looks

for months now.>> What are
youdoing today, buddy?>> Ma'am?

With school out.What have you
chosento occupy your time?>> Sook says

it's fruitcake weather.>> Why she wastes her time andyours
with that annual projectis a mystery I'll never solve.

Callie?>> Coming, jennie.

A fine breakfast, as usual.>> Anything else you
needbefore we go out today?>> Oh, I'll just be

going back to bed, I believe.The asthma has got
me again, not to mentionthat pain in my side.

That's back again?>> Yes.>>
Well, I'll just haveto mix you up

some of that medicinethat makes you sit
upand take notice.>> Thank you, sook,

but it never does me much good.>> That's 'cause you
pour itin the plants when you thinki'm not looking.

If you ever let some of itpass your lips, it'd
be a whole other story.>> You know how delicate

my digestion is. Doctor prefers that
I stickwith the store-bought.>> Hmm.

Doctor doesn't know you likei do, but suit yourself.>>
Well, you two, ther story.Have a good... W delicate

I'll just... Don't you worry about me.>>
Here's the pencil and paper.>> Good.

Now, you write so much betterthan my poor hen
scratches.You make the list, I'll finish the dishes.

Now, what was itwe made last year?
Twenty-five, was it?>> Twenty-five exactly.

Yeah, everyone who got onelast year will
beexpecting one again, and we should send one

to the wistons, that lovely couplefrom
California whose carbroke down outside

and reverend and Mrs. lucey.>> Who are they?>> The
baptist missionariesto Borneo who lectured here

last winter? Ns, maybe you were too youngto remember.
Nia whose car>> no, I do. Utside

he had a mustache, and she smelled like mothballs.>>
And the president, of course, and abner packer.

You think 30 will be enough?>> That's a lot.>>
We best get started, and what is the first thing

we're gonna need?>> Pecans.>>
Anna stabler?[ Dog barks ]

Miss jennie needs herugh? Good blouse for Sunday church.[
Sighs ]t get started, >> she already told me, hing

and miss Callie told me. Mr. Seabone, he told me,
too.Only ones who hasn't told meis mister buddy

and the dog there.>> You know howparticular
she is.>> I know how particular my back

is, too, but she'll have it. Where y'all goingso
early this morning?>> We're going for pecans.

That time again already? People ain't ate last
year'sfruitcake yet, let alone the year before's.

If it pleases youhave it. To think that, ingbut we know better.
Ng?>> Well, don't bother putting

me on that list of yours.>> Fine. Then mr.
And Mrs. rooseveltcan each have one.

Oh, I'm surethey'll be waitingat the
white house doorfor that delivery.

Don't slow down. Don't even look. Let's just
go right by.>> Mr. dix in the barbershop

says he's 12 feet tallwith razor scars,
and he never laughs. People have been

murdered in there.>> You don't knowthat
for certain.>> Everybody says so.

People have been hit onthe head and cut to pieces. We
don't have to come back hereagain this year, do we, sook?

I pray it won'tcome to that,
buddy.[ Door creaks ][ Gasping ]

[ Horse whinnies ]

You sure the women here intown will even have closet
spacefor all this we're ordering?>> Everyone wants

to look fine for the holidays.>> Not everyone
isas fussy as you are, jennie. I mean, take sook.

Same three calico dresses, inlong as I can remember. Set
space>> sook is an exception.lng?>> To what rule? S

to most every rulei can think of.
We love her.Well, we have to

because she's family, but she is our trial.>> Well,
she's just a bit slow.>> She's a silly old woman.

Only a little olderthan we are, jennie,
and I'm sure whateverthis problem is you

have with her and buddy...>> The boy has been with
usfor two years now.He hasn't a single friend

his own age.Ttle olderwhat's more, he needsto
learn a man's ways. Right now, all he's good

for, cooking and cleaning.>> Well, that's true.
He can sew on a buttonlike our mama used to,

but he's such a good boy.I honestly don't see the
harm.>> Well, I do.'S ways. And I tell you, he's good

you're fortunate you have meto know the right thingto
do, and it's long past timesomething was done.

The makers of postum, the favorite mealtime...>>
Something tells me thisis gonna be the best batch

we've ever made. That is, if we have enoughmoney
saved up to getall the things we need to buy.

How much do we have?>> Well, I haven't countedsince
our fun 'n faith museum. You recall what a popular

success that was, could be quite a sum.

Hurry before they come upand
find out where we keep it.

So many pennies.>> They're from last summerwhen
cousin seabone paid usa penny for every 25 flies

we killed in the house.Remember?>>
Ah, the fliesthat flew to heaven.

And look at all the rest.
It's a fortune.

How's your tea tonight, jennie?>> Satisfying, as always.
I'm sure Anna stabler will

happily make you a glassif you like.

sweet music, Anna. I wish I could take up
aninstrument, but the arthritis, you know.

Where did you learnto play like that? Ng>> my mama.
She learned froma white man passedighty

through my people's village, and then she took it onanherself
to teach me. Arthritis, >> "your people's village?"

I don't know why you insiston believing you're an Indian.
You're just as black as youmcould be through and through.

I'm pure cherokee.>> Now, jennie. If she
wants to believeshe's an Indian, then...

has this entire householdlost its touch with reality?
Anna rouging her cheeks andlonging for the reservation,

seabone with his imaginary achesand pains, sook and
buddylike children at summer camp.>> Anna, play us

another tune, please. Usehold>> no, I best beith reality?
Getting some sleep.Eeks andmiss jennie gonna bervation,

asleep herself soon anyway. Tea seems
to have thatodd effect on her.

According to my calculations, we have $12.73.Eith reality?>>
I get exactly $13.00.And>> oh, my. E gonna bervation,

I do hope you're wrong, buddy.We can't be
messingaround with 13.The cakes will fall or somebody

will wind up in the cemetery. Ns, you know, I don't even get
outof bed on the 13th.3.00.And>> should we count it again?

No, neither one of us hasmuch of a head for figures.Just
to be on the safe side, let's subtract this penny.

Lord, it's raining money.

[ Dog barks ]

Hey, buddy.Where are you going?>> None
of your business.>> Well, I'll come along.

It's private, Rachel. Christmas stuff for meand
my cousin, sook.>> We're gonna be doing a lot

of secret Christmas stuffat my house,
too, stuff you can't join in, neither.

Like what? Te, Rachel.>> Well, parties and punchand
cake and records onthe victrola and... doing a lot

you haven't evengot a victrola. Just go home,
why don'tcha?>> I got stuff to do anyway.

Wouldn't hurt you to bea little nicer to that girl.
She's got a hard living, you know.

I just don't like herlying all the time.>> Poor thing,
daddy never home, mother not in her right mind.

If you had to live her life, you might make up
a story ortwo yourself justto make it through.

[ Laughs ]>> We'll soon be gettingin matching
dresses to makean entire holiday ensemble.

Ooh! How lovely! I could certainly usea new outfit.
Oh, isn't that your sister?

A Christian soldiermarching as to war.Tting>> off to the
grocery, no doubt, for their fruitcake ingredients.

Oh, my! Are they doingthat again this year?>> She
weaves a spell on him.I can't explain it... sister?

Sharing secrets, picking flowers,
making up stories tillthe wee hours.

Not a thing we can do about it. That>> my brother had a boylike
that, and they solved thati can't in short order, ter?

Sent him away toa military school.>> Military school?
Was it terribly expensive?

It's that time again.>> Well, you won't believe this,
but I said so myself wheni felt a chill this morning.

I said sook faulk will surelybe coming aroundwith
her list today.>> It's a large order this year.

There's cherries, citron, ginger, vanilla, canned
Hawaiian pineapple.>> Has to be Hawaiian pineapple,

does it?>> It makes the fruitcakesmore exotic.
And rinds, raisins.

Well, here, here's the list.>> I believe this could
feedthe whole town.>> We'll need just enough

money left over forone more item and enoughto send
some cakes parcel post.>> We'll make it work, sook.

Don't you pay any mindabout that.

Somebody's there.>> Maybe it'll bemrs.
Haha Jones again.She was nice enough,

didn't you think?>> What if it's not? What
if it's him instead?>> Take my hand, buddy.

Dear lord, we are prayingyou'll watch over us in
thisperhaps our darkest hour. Please protect us if you see

fit and overlook our being inso unsavory a location as this.
It's for a good cause, lord. We know you know that.

And if it's him, pleasedon't let him murder us.
Amen.>> Like he said, lord, amen.[ Sighs ]

Well, I supposewe're ready as we can be.

Queenie.[ Sighs ]

[ Knocks on door ]>> Mrs. haha, ma'am? Anyone
to home?>> What do you want with haha?

We were actually hopingto see your lovely wife.
If you please, Mr. haha, we would like a quart

of your finest whiskey.>> Which one of you isa
drinking man?>> It's for making fruitcakes.

Cooking.>> That's no wayto
waste good whiskey! Go home!

I'm afraid we can't do that!

They're never gonnafind our bodies!

Dear lord, deliver us fromthis place as quick
as possible.[ Thunder ]>> don't look at that!

This ain't no placefor you to be.>> You're right,
of course, butwe have no choice at the moment.

We need that whiskey, and we donot intend to
leave without it, if you please.>> You know

what goes on in here?>> The devil's own work, I'm sure.
Not that I'm criticizing.


You know what this is?>> I would guesswn work, it's
a bottle of whiskey.I would guess. Riticizing.

Best whiskey in the cafe.>> My, yes.Look
at it sparkle.>> Enough for them fruitcakes

of yours? What this is?>> I would think a bottle suchas
that would be sufficient. What price you asking for it?

Two dollars.>> Two dollars?>> It's a
bit more thanwe had allocated for it,

but beggars, as we all know, can't be choosers.
You have a sale, Mr. haha.

But sook, that's almost allwe have left, and if we stillneed
it for the parcel post...>> If we don't take this bottle,

there won't be any fruitcakesto send to anyone at all.>> I guess.
Oosers.>> One dollar, eighty-three,

eighty-four, eighty-five,
ninety, ninety-two.

I'm afraid that's all we have.

Tell you what, just send meone of them
fruitcakes.>> Beg your pardon?>> Keep the whiskey.

Send me a cake.>> Thank you, Mr. haha. Now,
there's a lovely man.We'll put an extra cup

of raisins in his cake.>> Can we please
just mail itto him?>> Put your hat on.

It's raining.

Too much ginger.>> You must be thinking ofan
old Indian recipe. The kitchen, you recall,

And I have made a fruitcakeor two in my lifetimewith
no complaints fromany who's ever ate it.

Those what livedto tell about it.
And too much vanilla.

Hey, buddy. Whatcha doing?>> I'm reading.>>
Why do you want to do that?>> I like it.

You wanna come upin my tree house, or
can't you climb?>> Sook might call me.

We're baking, and I haven'tgot the time to talk.
We're making 30 cakes this year.

Where are you and sookgetting money for them all?>>
We sell homemade apple jellyand pick flowers fore.

Funerals and weddings. We enter
contests.>> Contests? Hmm! Like what?

We won 79th prize ina football contest.>>
You don't know anythingabout football.

Don't have to, just haveto win.>> Seventy-ninth
isn't winning.>> It's five dollars, enough

to make thisthe best Christmas ever.>> I'm having
a great Christmas, too, even better than yours.

Then if it's all so great, what are you doing up in
thattree house all the time?>> Well, what do you know

about it?>> I know your mother
isas crazy as loon.>> She is not!

Everybody knows she triedto drown youin the
bathtub twice.>> Well, your mama and daddy

don't want you, period. They dumped you here and don'teven
send Christmas cards.>> You take that back, you liar!

[ Dog barks ]

Buddy! Rachel! Stop that, both of you![
Dog barks ]>> you stop that fighting

right now!>> She started it!>>
I did not!>> I don't much care

who started it. I'm putting an endto it here
and now.What would your cousin, jennie,

say if she saw you fightingwith a girl?>>
She's not a girl. She's a demon,

straight from Hades!>> Buddy!>> It's okay, miss sook.
He didn't hurt me. I won.

You should see herghtingsafely home, buddy.>>
She's be all right.Only thing to be afraid

of out there is her.

She's still gotherghtingthat boy up at this hour.
He needs his sleep. Ht.>> School's out tillaid

after the new year. It won't hurt him to
stay upa bit.>> Well, she's certainly

a bad influence.I can tell you that.>>
No worse than his own motherwould be,

traipsing around New York, trying to be an actress, y
updoing lord only knows whatwith lord knows who.lnly

the boy seems happy enough.>> He does. Do you remember
when he firstcame here, how miserable he was?

It's not his happinessthat concerns me. It's his
health, his education, his moral upbringing.

Sook keeps himfrom his schoolwork,
filling his headwith wild ideas.

We caught her teaching himto gamble, you recall.>>
Well, it was only education, for matchsticks, ging.

And it was a card gamethat daddy taught us.>> The
point is he shouldn'tbe sitting playing games

with sook all the time. His mother left him in our
care, and that's a responsibilityi shall not shirk.

Thirty, thirty-one.>> And thirty-three
tags.>> Good, in casewe make a mistake.

Well, there's nothing left to dobut wrap
the cakesand deliver themwhich could take

the better part of tomorrow.>>
I'll get the wrapping paper.

[ Dog barks ]

Step lively, buddy.We're spreading joy.

[ Knocks on door ]

Now, let's see.That's six cakesto mail this year.
That's two more than last,

isn't it?>> The usual gift forthe governor andmr.
Franklin delano Roosevelt,

and this year, you will note, there's
also onefor Mrs. Roosevelt.>> And for

miss Jean harlow, too.She's so pretty.>>
The movie star?>> In care of Hollywood,

California. You think it'llfind it's
way, farley?>> I expect everybody

Would you believe not so muchas a thank you note? And
she was so nice in thatpicture show buddy saw her in.

Now, do we have enoughto cover postage?>>
Let's see.This and a jar of your apple

butter will just about cover it.>> You'll have it tomorrow.
Thank you, farley.>> Thank you.

Thank you.>> Well, what's left?>>
Just the one.>> Oh, I think this is one

you should deliver yourself.[ Sighs ][
Piano music ]>> it'd be the polite thing

go on.

Go on, buddy.

[ Knocks on door ]

Mama? Mama, someone's at the door.>>
We don't answer the doorwhen I'm playing

the piano, Rachel. You know that.[ Knocks
on door ]>> they're not going away.

I'm never goingto learn this pieceif
all I do is answerthe door all day!

Want me to get it?>> No! I'll get it!

Well, if it isn't master buddy.Look what a
handsomeyoung gentlemanyou're turning into.

Another year anda couple of inches, and
you'll be fightingthe girls off with a stick.

And what have you got there?>> It's a gift.>>
I'm in the middle ofmy piano, a waltz by

Mr. fredrick chopin. He fought the ladies
offa bit himselfbut never with any

real conviction, I understand.[ Laughs
]let me call Rachel for you.>> No, ma'am,

you don't have to...>> Rachel! Get
yourself out here! You have a visitor!

when she's being musical.What's that?>> This
isn't a gift from meto you or anything.

It's for your whole family.

Don't slam the screen! It throws my meter off!>>
Sorry about the beatingi gave you yesterday.

It's okay. I could've won if I wanted.>> Yeah, sure.
I don't have anything for you.

Like I said, it's for your whole family. My name's
on the tag, too, but it's mostly from sook.

Okay, then. Well, thanks.

Rachel, get in hereand shut the door!
The house won't dust itself!

Well, that'sthe last of it, buddy.Our
job is donefor another Christmas,

and all we have leftto show for
itis this bitof Mr. haha's whiskey.

I was afraid to use too muchfor fear the whole town would
bestaggering about, and the statepolice would be on our doorstep.

You probably wouldn't evenlike it.>>
Should we give her someand see?

Well, maybe justa
spoonful in her coffee.

You probably wouldn't evenlike it.>>
Should we give her some[ Laughs ]

She likes it! Oh, my.>> What does it
taste like?>> Like jennie's tea smells.

You've never had it before?>> Maybe oncewhen
I was younger.You want a taste of it?

Can I?>> Why, there's onlya few drops left.
I don't see what harm it

could do for usto have just a taste, so we'll
know what it's likewhen it's not in a fruitcake.

Can I?>> Why, there's onlya few drops left.
Go get some jelly jars. T

I feel so sinfulall of a sudden. What would
the lord think?>> My feeling is he wouldn't

want to see it go to waste.>>
I think you're right.

I feel so sinfulall of a sudden. What would
the lord think?>> Well... Ing is he wouldn't

[ clears throat ][ Coughs ]>> it's
strong.>> But it's kind of warm

going down. Do you feel that?>> Yeah, I do.
It's like drinking the sun

on a summer's day.>> That's exactlywhat
it's like... the sun on a summer's day.

There's still somein the
jar.>> That, there is.

Come on along, come on along[ Singing
]>> I'll be down gettingyou a taxi

I'm tired, and I want to go to bedi
had a little drinkabout an hour ago,

and it went right to my head>> hey, look, sook!
I'm a tap dancer, I'm atap dancer in the movies!

Oh, indeed, you are!>> Come on, dance with me,
sook!>> Oh, I'll be down to getyou in a taxi, honey.

Better be readynot an hour past eightnow,
dearie, don't be late. I wanna see them when

the band starts playingjust rememberwhen
we get there, honeyyou step there,

we're gonna have a ball>> whatever were you thinking,
a child like that?>> With whiskey on his breath!

Has any drop of good senseyou once had gone
completelyout of your head? Don't you remember

cousin Kate and Uncle Charlie's>> whatebrother-in-law? Inking,
a >> it's a road to ruination, >sook, feeding a child whiskey!

Shame on you! Shame! Sense>> how could you do
suchtelya thing? Our head?>> I truly didn'tr

mean anything by it.>> How can we ever again
trustyou to take care of that boy?[ Cries ]

[ Door opens and shuts ]

Don't look at me, buddy! I don't want
you to see melike this.>> It's okay.

[ Cries ]>> They're right, you know. I
had no callgiving you that whiskey.

Sometimes it's like my minddon't work any better thana
rusty pair of garden shears.>> My mind doesn't work

right all the time, either, but that's no reason to
cry.Besides, you're too old to cry.>> That's a fact, buddy.

I am too old, old and funny.>> Not funny, fun,
more fun than anybody.>> You really think so?

Sometimes it feelslike you're all I got.>>
Feels like that to me, too.>> Anyways,

is the Christmas star.>> Maybe so.
Oh, buddy, isn't ita beautiful sky?

Cousin seabone taught me howto find my way home by the
starslast summer like the sailors do.>> Just by the stars?

There's lots of signsall over the sky at night,
so no matter what, I'll always know where I am

cousin seabone taught me howand how to get home from there.Slast>>
handy thing to know, s do. How to find your way home.

Hark the herald angels sing>> glory to the newborn kingpeace
on earth and mercy mildgod and sinners reconciled

joyful all ye nations risejoin the triumph of the skieswith
angelic host proclaimchrist is born in Bethlehem

hark the herald angels
singglory to the newborn king.

To my mind, the new yearwill be a year of
changes, all for the good, one of them for buddy.

Oh, now, jennie, you're not still upsetabout sook
and the whiskey.>> Oh, that was just a marker

of a more serious problem.He's a bright boy,
lightning in a bottle, but the school here

doesn't challenge him.Look at his grades.>>
Well, he's smarterthan they show.

My point exactly, but he'd rather spend timewith sook
on this carnival lifeshe leads than apply himself.

You'd be hard-pressed to finda way to
separate them, jennie.>> Maybe, maybe not.

Isn't it something, a near perfect tree?>> Every tree
is perfect, buddy, 'cause the lord made them all.

He just made some ofthem bigger than others.>>
That's true on the faceof it, but bigger

isn't always better. There's limits. A
tree should be twiceas tall as a boy,

so he can't steal the star, but it need be no
bigger.>> We can't afford onetwice as tall as me.

We used up all our moneyon the cakes.>> Down
to the last penny, but we'll have our tree.

We'll cut our own.>> We'd never find
onelike that one.>> I know a place where

they find pretty treesand holly, too, with berriesas
big as your eyes. It's far off in the woods,

farther than we've ever gone, but papa used to
bringchristmas trees from there, carry them on his shoulder.

You never told meabout this place.>> It's
'cause it's a secret.>> A secret grove?

Shh! No so loudor it won't be
a secretto anyone here to China.

I forgot about the stream.>> It's only knee deep.
We can cross.[ Dog barks ]

Well, it's not the mightymississippi, that's true, but
we can't take the buggy.Well, we'll have to leave it

here and pick it uphe stream. When we get back. Deep.
How could a person forgeta waterfall like that?

I guess after all these years, bound to forget
something.>> Queenie! Come here! I'll carry you! Queenie!

Here we go. All right
now.Keep a steady foot.

Ooh! Ess after all these years, I don't remember itething.
Being this cold! Here! Hurry! Hurry! U! Queenie!

We're almost there, must be just up
ahead.>> Look at them all.[ Gasps ]

Jennie and Callie, they weren't muchfor the
woods, and I alwaysloved them, and my daddy

would bring me out hereon fall days when the
leaveswould flamethe most beautiful colors,

and you could smellthe winter in the air."There,
sook," he'd say,"that'll be our tree

come Christmas,"and I'd takea ribbon from my hair.
I always wore ribbons back then,

and we tied it to a branchmarking it, so anybody
whohappened by would knowthat we staked our claim.

It belonged in our housecome the holidays. I can
almost feel his presence, hear his footfall.


I thought he died.>> Long before you were born.
Just 'cause a person diesdoesn't mean they're gone.

It just means they moved onto a better placelike
you moved herewhen your mama and daddy went

their own separate ways, but youstill see them now and
then, don't you? And I still see my daddy now and

then, too, sometimes in dreams, sometimes when I'm wide
awake, eyes wide open, and I just need to talk to him.

It's a comfort, don't you think?>> Look, up there!
He marked it for us.>> Oh, my lord.

Oh, Christmas tree, oh, Christmas treeyou
stand there in beauty[ Car horn honks ]

Give you two bits cashfor that old tree.>> Two bits?
We wouldn't take a dollar.

A dollar? My foot! Fifty cents, it's my last offer.>>
It's a special tree froma secret place, and it's ours...

buddy.>>... Ma'am.>> Goodness,
woman.You could get another one.

I doubt it. There's never
two of anything.>> Huh!

Your fish are getting better. We'll have an entire
schoolbefore we're through.You like fish, I guess.

They're just easy to draw, them and cats.>> Fish
and cats, it'll be kindof a theme this year,

kind of a zoo theme.And maybe you'll make someangels
like last year out ofthe hershey bar tin foil.

The foils inmy bottom drawer. I'll go
get it.>> Hurry! I'll be finished with

this final fish beforeyou can say oh, l make somecome
all ye faithful. Out of>> it's a fine military school.

It comes withexcellent references. The yarbroughs
sent their son, hugh, to it when he was

a little older than buddyyou can see how
he turned out.He's a man now.>> A man who

never smiles anymore.He's lost his spirit.>> And
lost his childhoodto rules and regulations,

a cold room awayfrom his family, his friends,
not even his dog.We'd all miss the boy, jenn.

It isn't only sookwho loves him.>> This is no place
for a child, a house where no one's under 50.

But don't you thinkwe should... >>
I'm sendingan application in.

As soon as he's accepted, we'll tell him about it.>> No!
I won't go! You can't make me leave

sook and queenie! You can't!>> You march
yourselfright back in here!>> My stars!

What's all the commotion?>> You see how he is. It.
You see what you'veturned him into? E leave

I apologized for the whiskey.I thought that was
settled.>> It's notin here! Just the whiskey, sook.

Jennie thinks that buddyneeds
a military schooling.

Send him away? Oh, jennie, you can't do that.>>
Well, as far as I'mconcerned, it's as good as done.

Well then, it'll just have to be undone.
Buddy!>> Let him go.

He's upset. He needs me.>> What he needs is to
grow up.>> Why does anybodyever need to do that?

Well, I can't expect youto understand this, but I canexpect
you to honor my wishesas long as you live in my house.

It's my house, too, and Callie's and seabone's.Mother
left it to all of us.>> How ungrateful can you be?

When mama died, who took overthe raising of all three of you?
I dressed you, I got youto school, I tended you

when you were sick, I gave up every chancei might've
had for a lifeof my own, so please at least

give me the courtesy ofknowing what's best
for you.>> I don't carewhat's best for me.

It's buddy I'm worried about.>> Jennie, let
her goafter the boy if she wants to.[ Sighs ]




[ Knocks on a door ]>> Anna stabler,
are you in there? Buddy's missing.

He ran out, and lord knowswhere he's gone.>> The
lord ain't the only onewho knows where he's gone.

for being scared?

They're gonnasend me away, sook.>>
She's just talking.You know how she does

love to talk.>> She does that.>> What if it's true?
What if this is our last

Christmas together, sook?[ Cries ]>> now,
don't you be worryingabout troubles that

hasn't happened yet.I'll all work out
one wayor the other.Right, Anna?

That's the way it works, all right... one way
or the other.Worrying>> I don't want to go!

I know.[ Cries ]>> but there's
one thingyou're forgetting.

What?>> I'm here, and as longas there's breath
in this body, you won't be going anyplace

you don't want to. You have to believe that, buddy,
because it's's one thingthe God's honest truth.

It won't happen. I won't let it.

Even if it meansstanding up to jenniewhich
I truly hope it won't.[ Sighs ]

I honestly thinki could stand hereand
admire this treetill next easter.

Me, too, if I knew I wasgonna be here till then.>>
Now you put those thoughtsright out of your mind.

When jennie sees the giftswe're gonna make her
this year, she'll be so happy, she'll forget all

about sending you away. Wascome on. Here till then.
We have a lot of work to do. S>> I know your maggied.

Will love this hat.E giftsshe's tried it on every
dayear, for weeks now.Appy, >> thank you so much.

Merry Christmas.[ Bells ring ]>>
another day withoutthat delivery.

I can't think aboutdresses today.>> Well,
you haven't saidmore than three words

love that child, you included. Now, don't
deny it.>> Well, of course, I care about him.

And he gives us so muchin return. You know he does.
He fills the housewith laughter.

He keeps us young, and if he goes, all
that goes with him, and we'll just be

yourself, not buddy, and it's selfish thinking,
not practical the wayyou keep believing that

lardner boy's goingto come back from St. louisand
carry you off.>> I haven't thought of him

in years.>> Oh, you can't lieto me, Callie.
You waited 40 years for him

and look where it got you.We all gave up our lives
one wayor another, and I can't bearthe idea of buddy

winding up like that. He's already too
oldfor his years.lf we don't take steps now,

what would happen to himwhen we're gone? Think
on that and thentell me he should stay.

Go get it, queenie! Get the stick! Come on!
I'll pet you laterif you get the stick!

Go get it! Come on! Go get it! Go get
the stick!>> Not too bright, is she?

Smart enough not to gochasing a stick just becausesomeone
tells her to, and don't you have someplace

you gotta be?>> Mama says I gotta be
heredelivering this note from herto you and sook.

It's thanks for the fruitcake.>> They like it?>>
Mother served it to thegovernor when he came

for dinner night before.>> The governor
wasn'tat your house.The whole town would've

been talking.Or the fruitcake.Why do you make this stuff
up?>> Just because nothingtheexciting ever happens to you.

I went to haha Jones cafelast week.>> And you're
calling me a liar? You couldn't get within

50 feet of that place.He'd kill you soonas
look at you.>> I could prove it if I wanted.

I could take you right overethere and shake hands with him.>> Do it.
U're calling me a liar?>> I'm busy right now.N

tonight then. Gonna be a full moon.
Or are you scared?>> Heck, no.

I navigate by the stars.>> So
we'll do it tonight?[ Spits ]

[ Jazz music ]

So march up thereand knock on the door.>>
The music's too loud. They'd never hear me.

Then I dare you tojust look in the window.>>
I dare you back.>> I double dog dare you.

I'll even go with you.

Come on.


That's farley wood, ain't it?>> Yeah, it sure is.
And is that...>> Yeah, that's haha.

He don't look too friendly.>> Farley wood, you better...
[ Glass breaks ]>> I said you had enough!


What happens now?>> Farley's not moving.

He's dead! Haha killed
him, and he's dead!

He sees us!>> Run for it!

What's going on?[ Door creaks ]>> hey!
Come back here!

Buddy! Go!

So what happened, item by tem?>> Well,
there was drinkinggoing on and dancing and

laughing and women in clothesthat didn't
exactlycover everything.[ Gasps ]

Lord, forgive them. They know not what they do.
Then what happened?>> Then farley broke out into

a fight with haha. In clothesthey scuffled
tillythe whole place shook, but Rachel and me,

we thought the roof'd cave in. It was that loud, and
then Mr. haha pulled outthis long Indian knife,

bright silver with allthis Indian writingon the handle.
I think it belonged to Geronimo.

[ Gasps ]>> Oh, my! Oh, buddy.I'm
trembling.>> You want me to stop?

Absolutely not.>> And then he took the
knifeand slit it right acrossfarley's throat,

I just may faint.>> And then whenhe
fell to the floor, haha picked him up

with one hand, lifted him right over his head,
and then he turned andsaw us at the window.

Did he recognize you?>> I don't think so. It was
all dark where we were, so we ran like the wind,

and he was right on our tailyelling and
screamingand waving that Indian knifein the air,

and there were dogs, too, a whole pack of wild dogs!>>
Did you get away? E we were, >> well, yeah, sure. Ind,

[ sighs ]>> The lord must've beenwatching
out for you tonightspecial, buddy.

I swear, I'm not gonna geta wink of sleep for a month.>>
It was something, all right.>> We'll have to say a prayer

for farley wood's soulin church tomorrow.>>
And a special prayerfor me and Rachel, too,

so farley's ghostwon't come back and get us, angry
we didn't do anythingto stop his brutal murder.

Probably wise. Soul>> can me and queenie sleepwith
you tonight, sook?>> 'Course you can.Too,

not that there'll bemuch sleeping going on.

[ Chattering ]

You really think farley'sghost will
coming lookingfor us?>> Sook says

stranger things have happened.[ Clears
throat ]>> quiet now.Reverend dickson's

about to speak.>> This morning, I thoughtwe'd
talk about the taleof Lazarus and his

wondrous rise from the dead.[ Door opens ]

[ Screams ]

It seems the story is maybea little too
frighteningfor some of the younger sheepin our flock.

Maybe we'd better beginwith hymn number 240, "when
the role is calledup yonder, I'll be there."

Sorry I'm late. Had a little too much drinklast
night, passed out coldand just woke up.

What are we singing?

Hey, Rachel. You up there? Come on down.
It's me.>> You come on up.

You're actually doing it?>> Think I can't?>> Not
that I think you can't, just that I thought

you wouldn't.

You okay? Whatcha doing up here anyway?>>
I wanted to bring you this.>> You already

gave me fruitcake.>> That was mostly from sookand
mostly for your family. This is just for you and

just from me. Go on, take it.>> I got
plenty of giftsat home, you know.

They buy me anything I want. I'm probably gettinga
whole of fleet of bikesthis year, every color

of the rainbow.>> Then if you got allthose
presents waitingfor you tomorrow,

you can open this one now, if you want.

It's so you canwrite things down.>>
You're the one who likesto write.

But with all those storiesyou tell about your family,
I figured you might wantto write some down, too.

No one's ever really givenme something like this
before, something so personal.>> It's just a pencil

and a notebook.>> But there's
thought wentinto it. It's really...

I like it. Thanks, buddy.

What was that for?>> Just felt like it. Don't
get a big head. It didn't mean nothing.

You just go aroundkissing people?>>
All the time. Everybody kisses

everybody in my family. We're real emotional,
especially around Christmas, so like I said,

it didn't mean nothing at all.Don't you go talking about this.
Wouldn't want to haveto beat you up again.

Don't worry, I won't.[ Dog barks ]otional, >> hey, look!
Ound Christmas, there's Mr. macafee

with the mail! Hey, Mr. macafee!
Go, go!>> Merry Christmas to you!

[ Dog barks ]Y, I won't.>> Just droppedional, your
mail off, Rachel. Stmas, your mama seems fine today.

Got some Christmas cardshere for your family,
buddy.Some folks cutting itawful close, tomorrow being

the holiday itself and all.>> I'll take them
in.>> That'd be a big help. Here we go.

You're not thinkingof leaving us for oneof
them military academies, are you, buddy?

No, sir.>> Oh, and that fruitcakewas
mighty tasty.You be sure and tell miss sook

for me, will you? Ng>> buddy, what's this about?>>
I've got to hide itmies, before cousin jennie sees it.

Before cousin jenniesees what, buddy? Was that
Mr. macafee just left? What was in the mail?

Please don't make me go! It's not for me I'm asking!
If I had to go, I don't knowwhat sook would do.

I'm all she has.>> She'd get alongjust
like she got alongbefore you came here.

You act as if thisis some sort of punishment. Why,
most boys would considerthemselves lucky to have even

a chance at a school like this. You need a challenge.You
need to see more ofthe world than just this town.

for a boy, and you'll haveto leave
that up to us. We know best.

For unto you is born this dayin the city of David, a saviorwhich
is Christ the lord, andthis shall be a sign unto you,

ye shall find the babe wrappedin swaddling clothes lying
ina manger, and suddenly, there was with the angel

a multitude ofthe heavenly hostpraising
God and saying, glory to God

in the highestand on earth peace, goodwill
toward men.>> Most inspiring, Callie.

Don't you think so, buddy?>> May I be excused to
my room?>> Oh, you want to getto bed fast and

wait for Santa, do you?

Yes'm.>> That's fine, buddy.You go on
up to bed.We'll see you in the morning.

Not too early, mind you.You're old
enough nowto sleep to a decent hour.

he's being sent away.>> Excuse me?>> That'd
be a terrible mistake.>> Are you questioning

my judgment?>> No.>> The boy
needs thingswe can't give him.

He's bright. He needs more education thanthis
little town can offer.>> I can make sure he reads.

He loves to read. You know that. Whatever
books he needs, I'll see he gets..

I'll spend more time with him.>> How could you
possiblyspend more time with himthan you already do?

Is that the problem? Then I'll spendless
time with him.Eeds, I won't even talk to him

if you don't want me to, maybe just eveningsin
the kitchen.They're our special times.

You can't take that awayfrom me, jennie, but
anything else..Eeds, tell me what I have to do

to keep him here. Tell me. He'd die if you
split us up.>> Now, sook, buddy won't die.

Then I just might.Way>> that's quite enough! I've
talked this overds, with Callie and seabone, o

and we're incomplete agreement.

Are you? Ust might.Wayor are you just letting hertell
you what to thinks, like she's always done?, o

I said that's enough! Now, you'rea
simple woman, sook. You only read the Bible

and that book of fairytalesmama left you.You
don't travel. You don't know what it's

really like out there.He's going, and that's that.
We have a responsibilityto his parents to see

to his future. Now, if you really love him,
and I truly believe you do, you'll trust us

and help us convince
himthat's what's right.

How can shipping him offto strangers be what's right, sending
him away from everythinghe knows, everyone he loves?

How could that ever beright for anybody?

[ Door shuts ]

Sook, honey? You okay?>> Fine.
You go on backin the house.

You'll catch your death.>> Jennie doesn't
mean halfof what she says. She just talks,

and the words come outbefore she's halfthought
about them.>> It's like a storm's coming,

you'll catch your death.And I can't stop it. An half>> I
honestly believe that shehas his best interest at heart.

She loves him, sook, same as we all do,
but it's a factthat he's going to have

to leave sometime.>> Why? Why does anybodyhave to
go anywhere at all?>> Well, the seasons change,

the years pass, children grow up. That's the
way of the world.>> No, it's jennie's way.

She thinks I don't knowany better. She
thinks I'm slow, I'm a burden she just

has to bear, and I guess I am, but my mind workswell enough
to know what's rightand what's wrong, and this time,

this time, she is wrong.

[ Sook crying ]

They're making me go, aren't they?>> I tried
to stand up for you, I truly did, but jennie's

too strong, and she doesn'tunderstand you and
me at all.I really did try.>> It'd probably

take the whole confederate armyaren'to stand up to jennie.>>
I tried [ Laughs ]p for you, I truly>> and even then, s

I don't know who would win.>> Probably jennie.
We could run away. But where would we go?

Not far.We spent all our
moneyon the fruitcakes.>> Hmm.

Oh, buddy.What are we gonna do?>> I bet they
don't even havechristmas in military school.

Something told me, a feeling in my bones,
that we had to makethis holiday one to last.

I wanted to get you somethingreal special this Christmas...
a pearl-handled knifeor a whole pound

of chocolate-covered cherries.>> Chocolate-covered
cherries, oh, my! Buddy, I could live on them,

lord knows I could, but you can't affordtreats
like that any morethan I could afford to get you

the bike I so wantedto give you.>>
That's okay.>> No, it's not.

It's bad enough in life to dowithout something you
want, but confound it, what gets my goat is not

being able to give somebodysomething you want themto have,
but one of these days, I will, buddy, locate that bike.

Don't ask me how, but for this year, I made
you another kite.>> I made you one, too.

Hope that don't spoilthe surprise.>>
Hmm, not a bit.Well, we know they're kites,

but we don't know whatthey look like.>>
We'll take them outvery first thing.

Uh-huh, and float themon the breezelike
ships on the seain search of far-off lands,

higher than we'veever gone before,
higher even thananyone's gone before.

Buddy? You awake?>> Is it
morning?>> It's Christmas morning,

and I can't sleep a hoot. Buddy, do you thinkmrs.
Roosevelt will serveour cake at dinner tonight?

Sure, I do.>> Wouldn't that be something,
our cake on the white housedinner table?

Seems your hand usedhoot. To be much smaller.I
guess I hate to see yougrow up. At dinner tonight?

When you're grown up, will we still be
friends?>> Always.>> Always and forever.

Awful quiet.How late do
you thinkthey'll sleep?

Jingle bells, jingle bellsjingle all the
wayoh, what fun it is to ridein a one-horse

open sleigh, hey!

Jingle bells, jingle bellsjingle all the wayoh,
what fun it is to ridein a one-horse open sleigh,

hey!>> What time is it?>> Middle
of the night.>> Just past sunup.

merry Christmas, queenie.>> Oh, I think we pickedthe
perfect gift for queenie.>> Look, she's heading

for her bone burial ground, that's for sure.>>
Out to Simpson's pasture.Oh, she must have

a thousand bonesstored away there by now.>>
Oh, thank you, sook.>> Then why did she need

another for, may I ask?>> Oh, she'd be disappointedif
she didn't get one.>> Here, cousin jennie.

This one's for you, from sook and me.>> Thank
you, buddy.>> We learned how to make them

from the journal.There's one for you, too, callie.
Oh, I shouldn't have

told you that.>> Why, thank you, sook.

And medicine..>> Almost store-bought. O, >> for
what ails you.>> Well, I'm not sure anything

can help that, but thank you anyway.>>
Open that big box, sook. It's for you.

This one?

If it were any bigger, it could be a parade
float.>> Put it on, sook. Give us a look.

Very nice.>> Very, very nice.

[ Laughing ]

This is for you, buddy,
from Callie, seabone and me.

It's a genuine military uniform.>> Like they
wearat the academy.Very handsome, don't you think?


When do I go?>> Right after the new year.
It'll be a wonderfullearning experience,

the fun that awaits you.

Here, buddy.This is from me. He new year.
The stars, they'reulgood conduct stars.,

I got them at the Sunday
school.>> I love it.

And this seems to befor you, sook.

The wind is blowing, buddy.


[ Laughs ]

Oh! Oh! My, how foolish
I am.>> About what?

You know whati've always thought? I've always
thought a bodyhad to be sick and dying

before they saw the lord, and I imagined whenhe came
that it would be likelooking at the baptist window;

Pretty as colored glasswith the sun pouring through, such
a shine, you don't knowit's getting dark, and it's been

a comfort to thinke lord, of that shine, taking awayall the
spooky feeling, e likebut I'll wager it never happens.

I'll wager that at the very end, a body realizes the
lordhas already shown himself, that things as they are,

I'll wager that at the very end, a body realizes the
lordhas already shown himself, that things as they are,

Will we be able to dothis again next Christmas?
Can I come home for it, you think?

That's somethingi just don't know, but what
I do know is this: Whenever you come back,

I'll be waiting.You'll
always find mehere for you.

Sorry, queenie. You can't go with me. You
have to stay here andtake care of sook.

She's gonna be awful lonelywithout me around.
Besides, all your bonesare here and the pasture

and the cat you like to chase.>> Miss jennie
askedif I'd see if youneeded any help with

the packing and all. Lonely>> don't have a lot to pack.
Never needed much here.>> I'm hating to see you go.

Could you keep an eyeon sook for me?>>
You know I willif that's what you want.

You sure love that woman, don't you?>> She's
my best friend, and I'm her best friend,

and I don't know whateither of us is
gonna doon our own now.>> Anna stabler?

Everything all right up there? It's almost nine.>> Be
right there, Mr. seabone.Bus come through town in half

an hour, not much time left. You finish up your packing.And
buddy, I promise you, I'll keep an eye on sook.

You leaving today?>> Taking the bus all
the wayto north Carolina.>> By yourself?

You scared?>> Never thought of that.>>
Well, I would be.>> Didn't think you'd be

you leaving today?>> Taking the bus all the
wayto north Carolina. Afraid of anything.

What's this?>> It's kind of a thank youfor
the Christmas gift. It's a story about us be

and haha Jones that night, so you'll have
somethingto remember it by.>> Hard to forget that.

I'm going to miss you, buddy.

Gotta to be going soon.>> Where's sook?>> Well,
she's just upstairswith your cousin, jennie.

She'll be just a second.[ Cries ]>> but why can't
I go, jennie, just to the end of the road?

Look at yourself, soon. Bawling like a baby. It'll
only upset youupstairsand buddy both. N, jennie.

Now, you just stay here. Write him a nice long
letterwhen you calm down.>> It's not the same.

Now, we'll see he getson the bus,
and I'll tell him yousaid goodbye.

He'll think I don't care.>> Oh, he won't thinkany
such thing.This is the way it has to be.

No! I won't have it.>>
What?>> I said I won't have it.

It's bad enoughyou're sending him awayto the
land of strangers.I'm taking buddy to the bus,

no one else. You hear? No one else.>>
Sook.>> I know, you always thought

of me as the poor little sisterwho isn't right, like a
burden you had to bearbecause we're the same blood,

but this... This just takes the cake, and
I won't stand for it. Buddy is my friend,

and I'm taking himto the bus, and that's
justhow it's gonna to be.>> Well, if that's

the way you want it.

It is.>> Then as you say,
that's way it's going to be.

Buddy? Are you ready? We're gonna meet
the bus.>> But I thought... >> sook will be

taking buddy to town. It's what she wants.

It won't be the samewithout you around here.
I'm gonna miss you, running up that road

after school and those storiesyou tell.
You are a very special boy, buddy.

You can do great thingsin
this world.>> Yes'm.

First time that I left home, my mama gave me a
dollarand told me that wisely spent, it could be

the foundation ofan earthly fortune.Didn't quite
work for me, butmaybe you'll have better luck.

The foundation oft I left home, an earthly fortune. A dollardidn't
quite work for me, butt, maybe you'll have better luck.

You make us proud now, son.>> Yes, sir.
I'll try.

And you writeevery chance you get.>>
You probably hold meto blame for this,

and I guess I am,

but there comes a season. You can't be a child
forever.Your special friendhas a way about her

I guess I never reallyappreciated till now.Her
love for you shineslike those baptist windows

she's always been so fond of. The rest of
us love you, too, though, in quieter ways.

You two both get along now.

[ Dog barks ]

I'm gonna miss you, buddy, no way around that,
but I'll write when I caneven though you know

how hard it is for meto get the words
right.>> Don't matterif they're right or not.

You can even just send mea name on a piece of paper,
so I know you're thinking of me.>> Won't be a time

I won't be thinking of you.You're my life,
buddy..You're my heart, too, and that heart is close.

To breaking at this minute.>> If I see any picture
shows, I'll write you the stories.I'll write even

if I don't see them.>> Those are myfavorite
stories, the ones you make up yourself.

Pulling out, folks!>> Oh! Time to go.
I'd hoped this whole bus

would just disappear, fade away like
morning fog.[ Laughs ]where's your bag?

They stored it for me. I won't forget it.>>
So many things I alwayswanted to tell you,

so many hugs, however much time there is,
there's never time enough. When next I see you,

you'll be practically grown, a real young man
coming backwith stars and stripeson your shoulder.

[ Cries ]No matter how tight we hold on, how
much we want it, the fact is it'll never

be the same.>> I love you, sook.

Don't forget me.>> Never.

Imagine a morningin late November, a
coming of wintermore than 20 years ago.

A woman with shorn white hairis standingat
the kitchen window. Her face is remarkable,

not unlike Lincoln's, craggy like that andtinted
by sun and wind, but it is delicate, too,

finely-boned, and her eyesare Sherry-colored and timid.
"Oh, my," she exclaims, her breath smoking

the window pane, "it's fruitcake weather!"