A Christmas Wish (2011) - full transcript

MARTHA EVANS has been abandoned by her ne'er-do-well husband, who took all their cash and left her homeless and virtually destitute with her two daughters and stepson. Martha leaves town in hopes of finding a job and a place to stay, she finally finds a job at a sleepy rural diner, formerly famous for its home-made root beer. But with her car broken down and the bills piling up, it looks like it's going to be a bleak Christmas for the Evans family. However, there are warm hearts working behind the scenes that ultimately make this the happiest holiday of Martha's life -- a real answer to her prayers...

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Yes, I know, baby bear.

Come on, we're gonna
get in the car

and get in our
princess seat.

But he might be
coming back.

He's not coming back,

You read the note.

And even if he did,
we're not gonna be here.

Where are we going?

As far as Jack'll
take us.

Why do you call
the car "Jack"?

'Cause it rhymes
with Cadillac.

Come on, get in the car,
put on your seat belts.

Let's go.

You ready to go
on a trip, Lilee?

Which way are we going?


How far north?

The North Pole?

No, not that far north.

It looks like
no job here, either.

Hello !

All right,
put your seat belts on.

And then Santa came

and the family had
the best Christmas ever.

Tell us another one.

Oh, tomorrow, honey,

I don't want to
use 'em all up today.

I miss home.

Well, we'll find a better one.

We never should have left.

No, we shouldn't have
stayed as long as we did.

Mama, I gotta go.

It'll be okay, Mama.

How do you know?

I said a prayer.

A-- a lot of good
that'll do.

Hey, Miles,
it couldn't hurt.

Mama, you're strong.

Thank you, sweetheart.

Remember what Pastor Woolery
used to say.


"Women are like tea bags.

"You never know
how strong they are

until you put 'em in
hot water."

Or how dumb.

We gotta find a motel.

Mama, I gotta go.

Oh-oh-- why-why didn't you go
when we stopped last time?

'Cause I didn't have to go then !


You do?

Okay, thanks.



The motel has a vacancy.

I thought Dad
took all the money.

Well, I had some
he didn't know about.

Why'd he take it?

'Cause that's what lowlifes do.

I mean, maybe he needed some
for himself, right?

Yeah, probably needed it
for his lady friend.


Well, the motel's not far,
so... buckle up.

No pets neither.

We don't have any pets.

I could give you
a better rate

if you stayed the whole week.

With Christmas and all,
we don't get much traffic.

Do you need any
help around here?

Nah, wife does it.

Mama, I gotta go !

I'm coming.

Trudy may be looking
for a waitress

to handle the graveyard.

That's what I hear.

Trudy Willis.

She owns the Model A Cafe,
south end of town.


Thank you.

But, Mama, I gotta go !

Well, you're just
gonna have to hold it.

That's what I've been doing
and I can't anymore !

Does she have to
be by us?

A diaper !

I can't afford to hire
anyone right now.

Please, I've tried
every town

between here
and the state line.

I've got to find something.
I understand that.

No, I'll work for
half the wages.

You don't understand.

I can't afford to
hire anyone.

She's re-really gotta go.

Okay, do you have
a restroom she can use?

Sure, come here.

What are you drawing,

Oh, what color is it?

How about I work for whatever
you can afford and tips?

How about that?

I can only afford
minimum wage

and we'll see how
it goes 'til Christmas.

Thank you, thank you !

Oh, you won't
regret it.

I already do.
Oh, thank you !

Hi, Lilee.

Well, this probably
won't last long anyway.

What's that?

Oh, I said
I can't wait that long.

I need you to start

Tonight, tonight?

Oh, um, all right,
let me get the kids

squared away then.

Mac and cheese leftover
from lunch.

For the children.

Thank you.

You'll need to wear this.

It's not chic, but it's clean.

Great, thank you.

You're a good person,
Mrs. Willis.

Yeah, well, don't let
that get around, okay?

I'll see you soon.

I thought you weren't hiring.

I'm not.


Do I smell smoke?

Well, where there's smoke,
there's dinner.

Who's gonna stay with us?

Well, I think Miles is

responsible enough
for that now.

Do I get paid, too?

One thing at a time.

And, Miles, I'm really
counting on you.

You are in the fifth grade
and you're old enough.

Should be in sixth.

We've been
through all that.

I held you back so you could
take better care of yourself.

And not get beat up
by bullies.

Mel, less talk,
more eat, please.

Okay, I'm gonna give you
the number of the cafe.

If you need me,
you go to the office

and you use the pay phone,

Here you go.

I love you.

You got change?

No story tonight?

I'll tell you two tomorrow.

Come here, sweetie.

Say bye-byes.
Bye-bye !

I love you, oh.

She might need to
go to bed early.

Okay, bye.

Love you.
Call me if you need anything.

Mama trusts you.

She's not my mom.

She is now.

No, she just married my dad,
that's all.

She's my mommy, too.

Hey, take a picture,
it'll last longer !

Martha, right?
Uh, yeah.


Thank you.

Oh, and don't mind them.

The only thing
they like looking at better

than a new woman in town
is a new tractor.


Trudy likes all of us
to wear those.

Oh, yeah, all of us.

Yeah, you, me,
and me and you.

Yeah, right.

You catch on quick.

That's a first around here,
an actual IQ.

Thank you.

Where can
I put my stuff?

Just in back.
All right, thank you.

You know what we need?

No, and I don't
want to.

A tree.

It's almost Christmas.

There won't be any
Ch-Ch-Christmas for us.

Yes, there will.

Have it by
the door.

How would we open it?

Oh, yeah.

By the bed?

F-f-forget the stupid tree
and go to sleep.

It's not stupid,
and you go to sleep.

You're not the boss of me.
I am tonight.

Then you have to
tell a story.

I don't know any.

You must know one.

Oh !

Here you go.

Trudy finally broke down
and hired a regular, huh?

Jim, you no talk
like that.

I didn't mean
nothing by it.

Well, that's me, just
a broken-down regular.

Don't listen to him.

He's loco.

Yeah, well, I've never seen
anybody order enchiladas

smothered in gravy.

You ain't lived, darlin'.

I don't know any stories, Mel.

Go to sleep.

Not even a Christmas story?


All right, then I'll tell you one.

It was Christmas Eve
a really long time ago,

so long ago

that it wasn't even
called Christmas yet.

It's always been called

Not the first one.

His name was Joe.

That's what
people called him.

It was short for Joseph.

Aye !

And she was Mary

and she was
going to have a baby

and all the animals they
passed knew who she was.

Give me a break.

And when Mary
and Joe passed by them,

the sheep would go "baaa"

and the donkey went

and the dog, "woof."

I know how animals sound.

That was because
the animals knew

her baby was
going to be very special.

He was going to be the most
special baby ever born.

He was going to be a king,

but nobody knew it yet

and he was going to
save people.

Good people, bad people,

kids, grownups--

I thought my marriage
was made in heaven.

Well, marriages
are made in heaven,

but so is thunder
and lightning.



I haven't heard
an old-fashioned name

like that in a while.

It was my
grandmother's name.

It's a derivation of Mary,
you know.

Mother Mary
at Christmastime.

Maybe the mother part.

So is Trudy having a hard time
keeping this place open?

Well, when the economy tanks,
people don't eat out as much.

Yeah, it's a small town, huh?

Phone book has one page.

Wow, what about
the regulars?

They keep the place going.

I met the Carnes.

They seem like
really nice people.

Oh, all our regulars are,
if you don't count Les.


McCallum, local cattleman.


Babies are cranky,

Les is miserable,
like an old hamburger patty

fizzing and sputtering
in his own grease.


Who else should
I look out for?

Joe Hopkins.

Oh, yeah,
he's miserable, too?

No, just the opposite.



You probably want coffee.

Hot chocolate, actually.


Here you go.
Thank you.

Oh, can I get you
anything else?

Piece of lemon meringue pie.

And a piece of
lemon meringue pie.

Coming right up.

How is it?

I have no idea.

Can I get a fork?

Oh, yeah.


Mrs. Evans?

Carol Ann Bullington from
over at the motel.

Owen's wife.

Yeah, what can
I do for you?

There's been
a little problem,

kind of an accident
in your room.

Are the kids okay?

Kids are fine.

Best you come see
for yourself.

Um, Lola, I gotta go,
something's come up.

Who's gonna pay
for this?

What is it?

What happened?

What happened?

I'll tell you
what happened.

The toilet overflowed
and you ruined my carpet.


It's worth probably...

No, it ain't.

You told me you was gonna
rip it out next week.

Not now, Carol Ann.

Are you trying to take
advantage of this nice lady?

Ain't happening, Owen.

That boy...

is not old enough to
take care of 'em.

Now you find
someone who can,

or I will throw out
the lot of you !

The only thing you're gonna
throw out is your belly.

It's like being married to
a cement mixer.

Good night, Owen.

Good night, Carol Ann.

His bark is worse
than his bite.

Where am I gonna
find a sitter

that will work
late and for cheap?

I got a stepdaughter,

She's about 16.

I'll-- I'll see
if she can do it.

Don't worry.

It'll be all right.

Good night, honey.
Thank you.

Sleep tight.

How-- how does
a three-year-old

get all that in there?

She's stronger than she looks.

Didn't you put her to sleep?

Yeah, she just
didn't... stay there.

In my office now.

You, out.


she was your responsibility.

She's l-l-like a ninja baby.

She was asleep when I--

Fell asleep?

Look, I know you were tired,

but babies, they get up in
the middle of the night

and it's my fault
for not having a crib,


you really need to be
more cautious

with your little sister.

She's not my sister !

Half-sister, then.

If we would have
stayed home

and wa-wa-wa--
and waited for Dad,

this would not have
happened !

No, if we had stayed home,
we would still be waiting.

He's not coming back, Miles--
I'm sorry-- ever.

I hate this !

I hate you
for doing this !

You were listening?


There's a difference.

None of your business.

You aren't even my sisters !

Be that way.

It'll be okay, Mama.


You should be in bed,

God won't forget us at

No, no.

Not you.

But I think he wrote me off
a long time ago.

No, he doesn't work like that.

God kinda makes you
worry a while,

until you get some faith,

and then later,
you believe in Him.


Only you gotta pray, though.


I don't think I'm very good
at that, either.

That's the easy part.

You don't have to be,
you just have to do it.

How did you get so smart?

Always have been.

You'll see.

This will be
the best Christmas ever.

I love you.

I love you, too, baby girl.

Can't we w-wait
'til after Christmas?

No, because I want you
to get to know your teachers

before the term starts.

And the kids.

That's what worries me.

Look, Miles.

This is a chance
for you to start over.

It doesn't have to be like
it was before, okay?

They'll make fun of me.

The way I look, the way I talk.


You need to stand up
for yourself.

You need to be
proud of who you are.

When you show them that...

they'll respect you.

They'd respect me more
if I was a karate master.

But you're not.

You are you.

And you are someone
worth knowing.

Just show them that.



It won't do any good.

Then again, it might.

Let's go.

First and last?

How much is that?

Is it furnished,
by any chance?

Would you consider any less?


That's out.

Would you consider any less?

That's okay, all right.

That's out.

Yes, I'm calling about
the house

that you have for rent.

Three children and one adult.

No, no pets.

That's out.

Well, we just moved here
and we're not settled, so...


Oh, man.


Do you want something
to eat, baby?

Here, come here.

Let's hug.

You go to sleep.

Oh, my gosh, Lilee.

Oh, my gosh !

You are a ninja baby.

Oh, what a mess.

Heard you had some
trouble last night.

Oh, hi.

I did, but, um,
everything's okay.

Glad-- glad to hear it.

Are you always on duty?

No, I just started a shift.

It's the afternoon.

I'm sorry, it sounds like
I was grilling you.

Were you?

No, I mean, I just...

Just met you at 3:00 a.m.

and now I'm seeing you again,
and so it just seems like...

I don't know,
like you're always working.

Not always.

I'm sure your wife
wouldn't like that anyway.

Yeah, no, she wouldn't.

If I had one.

That's life.

I guess it's not always
like the brochure, right?

No, no.

Um, are you
gonna stay here?

At the motel?

I hope not.

I'm sort of hoping to find
a house that I could afford,

but it doesn't look like
that's gonna happen.

There's not a lot out there.

Did you talk to Don Meyer?


Oh, he's the local property

I'm sure he can find
something in your price range.

You mean no price range?

I'm sure he can
find something.

He's got
special help, you know?



He's-- he's the local pastor
as well.

Oh, well.

Doubt he'd like to help
a heathen like me.

I haven't been to
church since I was ten.

Gotta help heathens
once in a while

or he wouldn't
have a congregation.


I can ask him to drop by
the cafe if you want.

I would appreciate that, yeah.

Thank you.
You're welcome.

Um, it's--


Now we're formally introduced.

Yes, we are.

I guess today's my lucky day.

Thanks to you, everything's
coming my way.

You know,
in my line of work,

if it's going your direction,

you're in the wrong lane.

That's true.

Yeah, that's
a really bad cop joke.

Um, I'm gonna--
I'm gonna go.


Same here.

Wouldn't mind
getting a ticket from him.

Hey !

See you tomorrow.
Bye !

Oh !

How was your first day?

Good !

I did the best
in spelling today.

Teacher said I was a good
condition to the class.

"Addition," you're a good
addition to the class.

That's great.

All right, how about you, Miles?

How were you today?

It's school.

Right, of course.

What was I thinking?

Listen, I owe you
a big apology.

For what?

For coming down so hard on you
when you were watching Lilee.

See, today she managed to
spread peanut butter and jelly

all over the room while
I was sleeping.


How about even?

That works for me.

Thank you.



Oh, why'd you let me
sleep so long?

You were tired.

Oh, that's no excuse.

I've used it before.

Oh, I gotta get some
dinner going.


No, I can't afford
that right now, honey.

Ta-da, ramen.


Well, as soon
as I get paid,

I promise, I'll get us
some real groceries?


We don't even
have a fridge.

Well, I'm working on that.

How about... tree?

Mama, we do
need a tree.

Yeah, well, I'm sure
wherever we're going,

there'll be lots of trees
in the yard.

No, a Christmas tree.


No, I...

I can't afford
a Christmas tree

and we don't even have anything
to put on it anyway,

and I'm sure
Bullington would have a cow

if we brought a tree in here.

A cow would take more
room than a tree.

You do need a cow.

Uh, no on the tree.

How about--
how about the star?

Hi, I'm Jeanie.

Yes, Jeanie,
come on in.

Mel, come here, Jeanie's here.

I want you to meet her.

Hi, I'm Mary Ellen,
but you can call me Mel.


Mrs. Evans?

Oh, it's Martha, actually.

Oh, um, Martha.

My dad wanted me to ask you
about the money.


Of course, the money.

Um, right, straight to
business, that's smart.

See, I've only just started
at the cafe, so...

Heard you're working
at the Root Beer.

The-- Trudy's Model A, right?

Same thing.

Used to be called
The Root Beer Drive-In.

Had the best homemade
root beer anywhere.



I can only pay you
$2 an hour

and I know that's
under minimum wage


and they don't pay me
for another week,

so I can give you
half of it in advance

and then the other half
when they pay me.

Is that okay?

Just one week?

Well, then I gotta
pay your dad the rent

and then I gotta get
the groceries.

I didn't have too much
money when we got here.

$207, 'cause Daddy
took the rest.

Zip it, Mel.

$8 is just fine, Mrs.--


Oh, thank you,
thank you so much.

I really appreciate that,
thank you.

So what grade are you in?

A sophomore.

Getting my license in a month.


Can you drive a stick?

I can.

Not quite yet.

My dad taught me.

Well, maybe
you can teach me.


Yeah, out in the parking lot.

Well, if my dad says
it's okay.


Uh, I'll have to take
that under advisement.

Now here's someone
you haven't met.

This is Lilee.

Come on, sweetheart.

This is our Lilee.

She's three
and she's full of it.

Full of what?

It's just an expression,

I know what she's full of.

So why don't I get
my dos and don'ts

for this crew together

and you can come back
maybe around 10:30.

Mom says it'll be a good time
for me to do my homework.

Oh, yeah, well,
good luck with that.

It can get a little crazy
around here.

Well, better go,
but see you later.

All right,
thank you so much.

Woo, okay.

She's nice, huh?

She's a lifesaver.

Side of gravy's coming up.

Need more butter.

You want some heart medicine
to go with that cholesterol?

Got plenty on the truck.

You ought to take better
care of yourself, Frank.

I figured maybe I could find
somebody to do it for me.

Got somebody in mind?

Might be.

Someone as pretty as you.

There's always one more
imbecile than you counted on.


You're late.

I know, I'm sorry.

I had to get
my sitter squared away.

So... here we go.

Here's the deal.

This guy behind me,
that's Les McCallum,

he's a regular and he's having
what he always has,

a third of a pound
of ground round,

French fries, onions and gravy.

Fries and gravy?

Heart attack special.

Listen, we just give 'em
what they want.


The guy over in the corner,

that's Don Meyer

and you'll be seeing him
a lot around here.

Slow night, huh?
Dead night.

I got this.

Well, it looks like
you've done this before.

A time or two.

How are the kids?
They're managing.


And Christmas?

I'm working on that.

Well, I put a tip jar out here
on the counter.

Everyone'll see it.

I don't know if they'll do
anything about it,

but they'll see it.

Let's see.
All right.


Most of the zoo
will be in tonight.

Oh, well, that should be

So... tell me about yourself.

None of my business,

but if you wanted to share,
we've got all night.

Oh, well.

I've been married twice.

First one lasted long enough
for me to have a daughter

and then for my 30th birthday,

I got a new husband
and a year later, a baby.

You don't waste
any time, do you?

I wish I had.

He's the original bad boy

with a truckload
of friends to match.


As sin.

Cowboy Cal Evans.

Didn't know much about
the sin part then, though.

He could take over a room just
by walking into it, you know?

And then last week,

he took almost everything
that wasn't nailed down

and emptied the bank accounts

and ran off with the local
beauty school graduate.

So when did
things go bad?

You're funny.

You're so funny.

You have homework?

Did-- did it.

You did not.

Mind your own business !

Bed in 20 minutes.

You, go brush your teeth.

I knew this would happen.

You figured no rules?


Why are you doing this?

You ain't making squat.

I like your mom.

She's not my mom.

Well, Carol Ann's not my
biological mom either,

but she loves me.

Lucky you.

What have you got
to complain about?

She's taking care of you,
isn't she?

'Cause she has to.

No, she doesn't.

She could have dumped you off
at the state.

Where's your dad?

He left last week.

Two weeks before Christmas?


Seems pretty cold to leave
your family at Christmastime.

He'll find me.

Martha didn't leave you,
though, did she?

Might wanna
think about that.

Will you tell us
a Christmas story?


Did you brush your teeth?

Yeah, last Tuesday.

Okay, all right.

You two in bed.

So can I get you anything else?

Coffee, tea, pie?

The cherries are fresh,
cherry pie?

No, I'm trying to cut back.


It's Martha, right?

Uh, yeah.

Joe Hopkins told you?
Yeah, this afternoon.

He says you're
looking for a rental.


Do you have
anything that you think

someone like me can afford?

Yeah, I think I might have
one possibility.

I won't know until
I talk to the owner,

so why don't you give me
a call and we'll see.

Thanks, Pastor.

Now, listen,
you and the children

are more than welcome
to join us at church.

Oh, I don't know.

I don't know if
your church would

still be standing if I stepped in.

A real sinner, huh?

Just a slow learner.

Well, listen, we're all
a little slow around here,

so you'll fit right in.

But it was a very special
Christmas tree.

"A magical tree," some said.

The only one of its kind.

A special tree that bloomed
for the first time

when Mary's child was born.

That's the kind of tree
we need.

But it wasn't
like any other tree.

This tree only bloomed on
Christmas Day

and the second
Christmas Day was over,

it disappeared for a whole
other year.

It doesn't sound like any
Chr-Chr-Christmas tree

I've ever seen.

That's because
it's in Bethlehem.

They have different
trees there.

A Christmas tree
is a Christmas tree.

I liked your story,

Thank you, Mel.

Now you little ones
go to sleep.

A-a-another day at school.


Not again !

Go in.

All right.


Got a minute?

I was gonna call you.

Oh, it's no problem,
it was on my way.

Listen, I talked
to Clarice Miller.

She said that she'd consider
renting it out for six months.


How much?


I can't afford that.

I figured that.

So, if you're interested,

she'll let you clean her house
once a week

and take off 150 a month.


I know it's difficult for you
living by yourself

and having three kids.

No, what's difficult
is living on my own

with three kids
in a motel room.

Tell her I can't pay her
'til after Christmas.

I told her.

She'll hold it for you through
the first week of January.

Oh, you thought of

I'll let her know.
Thank you.

You're welcome.

♪ Hark the herald
angels sing ♪

♪ Glory to
the newborn king ♪

♪ Peace on earth
and mercy mild ♪

♪ God and sinners
reconciled ♪

I want my burgers

I hate soggy burgers.

Okay, how do you
want your eggs?

From a chicken.


No fish eggs.

How do you want 'em?

On a plate.


Over... easy.


Uh, toast?

Not whole wheat

or all that multigrain crap
that I feed the hogs.

How about to drink?

Oh, I don't know.

Coffee, black.

I do my own sugar.

If I had a spoon.

And some ketchup.


♪ Stay, stay

♪ Stay

♪ 'Tis the eve
of souls pray ♪


Come in.

So how are you
holding up?


On No-Doz and Scotch tape.

Sometimes I get tension


You should do what it says on
the aspirin bottle.

What's that?

Take two aspirin,

keep out of
the reach of children.


You do really need to
get some rest, though.

Yeah, I will.

As soon as I get the kids fed
and then to school.

And... then

the baby's up, so...

Hmm, Lola told me
all about it.

He left you nothing?

Just the kids.

But the girls, you know,
they're doing great.

They're okay.


Miles is struggling a bit.

His only biological
parent left him.

Oh, he's not yours?

He is now.

Well, there's
only one thing you can do.

What's that?

Love him.

Even when he
doesn't want you to.

Which is most of the time.

Yeah, he has no problem
reminding me

that I am not his mother.

He was really hurt
when his dad left him.

He's better off.



Now I sound like Mel.

She's our little

She's absolutely
convinced that...

Jesus is gonna make
everything okay

because Christmas is here.

Ah, the faith of a child.

I don't really have much
Christmas spirit myself.

Why's that?

My husband
died at Christmas.


I'm sorry.

He was
the love of my life.

We were married 43 years

and we hardly
spent a day apart.

He was always underfoot,
you know, like a kid

and then one day,

he just up and dies on me
at Christmas Eve.

I'm sure
he didn't want to.

Well, I mean to ask him
about that...

when I see him up there.

Do you believe in
up there?

I suppose.

I'm still pretty upset
with God

for taking him from me.

Maybe you can tell him
that when you see him.

I should have sold this place
a long time ago,

but it's the only
thing I have left of Sam.

We did really well
for a while.

Sam made
the best root beer.

I wanna show you

Come on.

It's been ten years.

Since you've
been in here?


Since Sam's
last batch of root beer.

I really don't know why
I've kept it all so long.

Maybe you're keeping it to
possibly make another batch.

No, Sam
made the root beer.

Well, with Sam gone,

there just doesn't seem
much of a point,

no matter what
Reverend Meyer says.

Oh, you know what?

He-- he said he might have
a place for us to rent.


Um, the Miller house?

Clarice Miller?

The Brazilian buzz saw?

I haven't met her.

She is like one of those fish

that live in the Amazon River,

you know, the one
with teeth and they--

Oh, a piranha?

That's her.

All teeth and all mouth

and the only
thing she cares about

is herself and money.


How much?

350, but I have to
clean for it.

Get it in writing.

What are those there?

Oh, well, that's some junk
I was gonna get rid of.

Can I have it?

It's junk.

How about these?

Go ahead.

Thank you.

Hey, how'd it go?

Well, we're getting
used to each other.

Okay, good.

Here, I made a few extra tips
than usual last night

and here you go.

What's this?

My I.O.U., signed and dated.

You didn't need to do that.

I trust you.

Well, it's not
a matter of trust,

it's a matter of integrity.

I'm just so grateful

that you're helping me out
on your nights off.

Well, it's helping
me too, you know?

I'm getting homework done,

not spending
as much money as I used to.


Okay, good.

I just wanted to let you know,

I didn't know about it until
it was too late.


Well, I fell asleep
around midnight,

and when I woke up this
morning to feed the baby,

it was already there.

But I gotta go !

Bye !

It was there?

It kinda
grows on you, huh?

I still need
some more colors.

Why, Mel?

Isn't Christmas
without a tree.

But we don't own this room.

We're gonna be here
for Christmas.

Isn't it wonderful?

You have to erase it.

A permanent marker.

Where did you get
colored markers?


I just borrowed 'em.

You said we can't
afford a real one.

Besides, I think
this is better.

Don't you?

Permanent markers.

Are you gonna
take us to school?

We're gonna have to
talk about this later, Mel.

You can help, if you want.

Get in the car.

I-- I'm not going anywhere.

Did you see his lip?

He uses your
makeup to cover it.

Shut up, Mel.

Oh, Miles, we're going to
the principal.

I'm-- I'm not ratting.

It's not ratting when
somebody beats you up.

One punch isn't
getting beat up.

Why didn't you tell me?

They called me
a stuttering four-eyes

and that isn't gonna change.

We'll talk about this
on the way.

Come on.

Miles, get in the car now !

We-we're not
going anywhere.

Why is that?

Oh, no.

Mama, what is it?

Oil pan, looks like.

Is that expensive?

Could be a couple hundred.


I don't have
a couple hundred dollars.

I could have it towed.


I can't afford that either.

Well, you can't leave it here.

There's something else
that we should talk about.


I got a call
from the state today.

There's a construction crew
coming in.

I'm gonna need all my rooms.

All of them?

Yeah, the state pays full rate
a month in advance.

I can't pass that up.


You're kicking us out
the day after Christmas?



Get the car moved.

Watch stop?

I'm sorry, I had car trouble.

Here you go.



I know, I'm sorry,
but I gotta pay taxes.

What can you do?

Thank you, I'm grateful.

I do want you to
stay after your shift today

and help Lola.

We're gonna do a deep clean
of the kitchen,

countertops, everything.


But it's overtime.

Oh, great, okay.

Did she tell you?


Ooh, you look a little rough

and we haven't
even started yet.

Car trouble.

Tried to overhaul it

I wish.

Ready for
the annual cleanup?

I guess.

Order's up.

Les' hamburger.

He really likes his burger,
doesn't he?

He is a hamburger.

Like meat loaf.

With hair.

That's pretty nasty.

There you go.

Is it cooked okay?

That's not medium-well.

Well, I can take it back.


So how you liking it
around here?




Is that all?

Well, I haven't had
time to explore.

Kids liking it?

Well, my daughter does,

but my-- my boy,
he's having some trouble.

Pushing him around
a little?

Yeah, something like that.

How come?

Well, he's a little small
for his age

and he wears glasses and...

Stutters, huh?

Yeah, how did you know?

Probably that Park kid.

My grandson had
the same problem.

But I straightened him out.

Bring your boy around
here sometime.

I'll help him.

Well, I don't
want him fighting.

Oh, he won't be.

I think I saw
your car parked up

the interstate turnoff there.

Um, are you
sure it was mine?

Well, there are not too many
old blue caddies around here.

I had some car trouble.

You ought to move it.

I-- I can't right now.

I can't afford to.


Well, that's your choice.

Get back to my...

Hey, guys, that's looking
pretty good.

It's from your story.


This one's better
than my tree.

How do you know?

Because it was my story.

What happened
to your eye?

I ran into something.

Yeah, Danny Park's fist.

Is he bothering you?

No, but I seem
to be bothering him.

You should tell your mom.

At least someone cares.

What are you drawing?

The couch.

Oh, hi.

What can I get you?

Does Lola have
any of that chili?

I'll see.

Have it up in a jiffy !

She is better than
my dashboard radar.

And louder.

You know, when I was a kid,

The Root Beer was
the place to hang out.

Yeah, Friday, Saturday night,

you couldn't even find
a parking spot.


Really great carhop stand.

Oh, I always
wanted to do that.


I'm too old now, though.

Not from where I'm sitting.

It was--
it was a magical place.

Yeah, how so?

Well, if-- if you needed
help in something

or you wanted to meet
that special somebody,

you just came to The Root Beer

and made a wish
and it would come true.


Mel would love that story.

My daughter.

Mary Ellen,
short for Mary Ellen.

But she loves stories with
magical stuff in it.

Um, so did you
ever make a wish?

Yeah, yeah, once.

Well, and...

She didn't work out.


Well, being single's not so bad.

I'm not single,
I'm romantically challenged.

That's funny.

You have a great laugh.

Thank you.

Just my laugh?

The rest isn't bad either.

Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean--
No, no, no, no.

I mean, we both have
baggage, right?

Yeah, I guess so.

Here you go,
tall, dark and available.

Thank you, Lola.

Oh, are you okay?

It's hot.

Oh, I'm sorry,
have some of that.

Thank you.
I'm so sorry.

It's good, it's--
it's good.

Hey, do you wanna go see
a movie sometime

or get some dinner?

With you?

Yeah, yeah,
that's the general idea.

I don't-- no, that was--
that was dumb.

I don't know why I was--

Yeah, no, thank you.

Have a good night.

Oh, Martha.

Oh, you are so stupid.

"With you?"

Oh, you're so stupid.


I don't need your help.

He's a stud !

I couldn't !

I thought you said he
ran off with a beautician !

He did, but I'm not divorced.

Uh, no, you're divorced,

you just haven't
gone to court yet.

Which means
I'm still married.

Do you know why most women

would rather have
beauty than brains?


Because most men can see
better than they can think.

But Joe Hopkins is
the whole package.

Wall-to-wall handsome,

very important--
honest to a fault and single !

And you said no.

'Cause I made a vow,

So did he.

Well, I'm keeping mine.

Besides, I know
what people think.

Oh, don't worry about
what people think.

They don't do it very often.

Hey, how come
he never got married?

Almost did, she left him
the day before the wedding.

That's awful.

I don't think he's ever
really gotten over it.

I can imagine.

He's never forgiven women
or himself since.

In fact,
you are the first person

I've seen him even take
an interest in.

The destitute mother of three?

Yeah, go figure.


Mom, we're ready.

Okay, good, I've got
your lunch right here.

That one's for you,
that's for you.

Wait, what is this?

I didn't say nothing.

Don't make a big deal.

Oh, my gosh, how can
I not make a big deal?

I'll handle this.


I have a possible 10-87.

I'm gonna need a tow
on the corner of State Street

and Mapleton Boulevard.

Hey, Miles.

What are you
doing home so early?

I didn't-- I didn't
think it would matter

this close to Christmas.

Whoa, hey, that's pretty good.

It's not as bad as
I thought it'd be.

Yeah, I know.

You wanna help her?

Finish the tree?

It'll be our surprise.

Needs something
for the flowers.

You know what?

I think I have
the right thing.

How about that?


Very cool.


It does feel you--
make you feel like Christmas,

doesn't it?
Yeah, it does.

It's beautiful !

You helped?

I did the crib
and the baby stuff.


Lilee was my model.

This will be the best
Christmas ever.


Hey, my mom sent me.

Lola's sick and can't
make it in

and Trudy's visiting
her sister in Blanding.


Um, well, could you
watch Mel and Lilee?

Miles can help.

I can?

Well, can't you?

Yeah, okay, come on.

Look what he did.


All right, come with me.

Who started the coffee?

I needed something to drink.

Oh, thanks, Les.

Listen, we need a cook.

Do you know anyone?

I might.

As long as it's hamburgers.

So you like
hamburgers, huh?

You got a problem
with that?


Is this the one?

The one what?

Uh, never mind.

Les, the grill, please?

Thank you.

Okay, give me your coat.

All right, I want you to meet
'em and greet 'em,

smile and say,
"Thanks for coming."

Okay, where?

Just wherever it's empty.

Thanks, buddy.

How're you guys
doing tonight?

You want me to
come over there and flip your

flapjacks for you, Frank,
huh, huh?

Les, I got eggs over easy,
chili dog and hash browns.

eggs, hash brown.

No, no, no, I said eggs
and chili dogs.

I don't do chili dogs.

I do hamburgers.

Just because
you like hamburger

doesn't mean
everybody likes it.

They do tonight !

Don't they?!

Would you like me to put it
on the specials board?

Well, if you want.

People want their food.

Boy, they can have it good

or they can have it fast,
not both !

His bark's
worse than his bite.

I'll take your word for it.

Let's go.

I want a steak.

Thick and rare.

Well, the cook said to tell
you that this was better,

so I wouldn't complain
if I were you.

But this ain't a steak.

Jim, not so loud,
everyone will hear you.

I don't care.

What about steak
don't Lola understand?

Well, it's not Lola.

You got a problem?

I ordered a steak.

Well, that's what you got,

That's hamburger steak.

That's the best
grub on the planet.

It is?
If I say it is !

I, um...
tried to warn you.

Not hard enough.

No way.

I ain't eating that.

Who don't like their food?!

What's good?


Then I will have the pie.

Well, I really recommend
the ground round.

Pie is fine.

I call it shepherd's pie.

Nice apron.

Brings out the color
of my eyes, don't you think?

You don't want to
know what I think.

Keep it that way.

What gives?

Well, Lola's sick
so I had to improvise.

So you brought in
Stalin as the chef.


Well, we're selling
a lot of hamburger.

Yeah, I'm sure you are.

Um, listen, I want to...

apologize for the other night.

No, you don't--
you don't need to.

Well, I feel like there's
something I need to explain.

You don't have to
owe me anything.

I'm still married, so...


I thought... I thought
when you said that...

I guess it doesn't--
it doesn't really matter

what I thought, does it?

No, it does, just--

There's something
you don't understand.

You don't need to
explain anything.

I promise.

Any more orders?

I'll ask Martha.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.

You call your
mom Martha?

She's not my mom !

She looks after you,
don't she?


Well, then she's your mom,
treat her accordingly.

Why do you care?
I don't.

At least about
a spoiled kid like you.

I'm not spoiled.
Oh, yes, you are.

That's why those
punks pick on you.

You-you don't know
not-nothing about me !

I know that you have
a hard time talking

and you wear glasses

so you think
you have a tough time.

Well, you don't.

How do you know?

'Cause I was your age once.

Yeah, wh-when there
were dinosaurs.

You wanna know
a simple way to stop 'em?

I'll take that as a yes.

Come here.

Now, I once knew a man,

little fella,
worked in a bank,

and he got into some
kind of trouble

and they sent him to jail.

Well, the minute
he got there,

it was just awful,

'cause the worst bully
in the joint

harassed this guy

and he stole his food,
he opened his mail.

He never gave
that little guy a break.

What did he do?

He went crazy.

What do you mean?

Well, that little
fella got one of the guards

to warn the bully and his
buddies all about him.

He said that little banker
was a-- a psycho.

He said he-- he did
terrible things to people.

That's why he was in jail.

He said that little banker's

the most dangerous man
he ever saw.

He said if anybody
pushes him over the edge,

he's gonna pay for it big time.

It was--
it was just a story?


Because, most of the time,
what people seem like

is a lot more important
than what they are like.

You understand?


That little man put
a piece of Alka-Seltzer

under his tongue,

foamed up like
he was foaming like a dog.

And if a bully thinks that

he's got a real
fight on his hands,

well, he's not gonna
want it to continue.

No, the biggest troublemaker

you're ever gonna have to deal
with in life

is watching you from
that mirror every morning.

Do you understand?


Good boy.

Hey, Miles?

You need to get some sleep.

We're not gonna have
any more customers tonight.


What's all this for?

It's for
making root beer.

What's th-this for?

Looks like a recipe.

Maybe w-we could
try it sometime.

you need to get to bed.

You can sleep on the couch, okay?

And I want to say thank you,
you were great today.


All right.

Any more?

Oh, I think we're done.

What's that boy of yours
want for Christmas?

He hasn't said much.

I didn't ask that.

I don't know, he probably
wants some homemade root beer.

He's a man after my own heart.

Oh, Les, I--
I couldn't, no.

Is your arm broke?

Those kids deserve a Christmas.

Les, I can't.

No, no.

You are the most arduous woman
I've ever met in my life.

Les, really--

Thank you.

Now go home.

Go on, I'll clean up.

Oh, Trudy has a little
get-together Christmas Eve.

Shuts down early.

Bring the kids.

Thanks, I will.

Oh, thanks.

We did good.


Thought you
might want a ride.

You were waiting for us?

I had to impound your car.


Why didn't you tell me?

Would it have made
a difference?

I might have been able to
save you a $200 impound fee.

Thanks for towing me.

You want a ride?

No, walking's
good for the soul.

Ri-riding's good, too.

Hop in.

Just need to
fill in behind it.

With what?

You know,
Christmas stuff.

We're gonna be late.

Oh, hey,
it's a half-day.

I told you you could
miss if you wanted.

I changed my mind.

We can finish it tonight.


Well, bye.

Love you, bye.

Miss Lilee, what are we
gonna do today?

D-did you pick up
what I told you?

Sure did.

Let's do this.

Hi, I wasn't
expecting you.

Need to talk to you.

She wants
more money for the house.

No, but she has decided she
doesn't want to rent it now,

but I'll keep looking.

It's probably just
a waste of your time.

No, helping folks
is never a waste of time.

Danny, you'd better not
bother him today.

Is wimp boy afraid?

No, psycho.


I tried to talk to him
but he wouldn't listen.

I'll make him listen.
No, you don't understand.

He's dangerous.

Real dangerous.

I'm afraid he'll
hurt someone... again.


Last time this happened,
we had to move.

Do you think
we like it here?

We haveto be here.

What-- what
do you mean?

Too late.

I tried to warn you.

Yes !

Holy crap !

I can't believe that worked !

God helped
you do that, you know.

Where has he been before?

Probably waiting for you
to make the first move.

Now come on.


Mr. Bullington.

May I come in?

I'll come out,
the baby's sleeping.

Something's come up.

The state workers,
they're coming in tomorrow

and I need your room.

It's Christmas Eve.

I already took an advance.

Where are we gonna go?

You might try over
at the Sleepy Inn,

over at the Mayfield.

I don't have a car.

I got no choice.

I'm sorry.

Is that what
you want, Joe?

What you really want?

I think it's what
you should want, too.

Let's go to my place.

I still have a few things we
need to consider, okay?


Yeah, okay.

It is beautiful.

This is gonna be
the best Christmas ever.

Actually, this is
our last night here.


Where are we
going to go?

I haven't figured
that out yet.

I was hoping that
we could get that house

that Mr. Meyer told us about.

But we can't?

It's okay.

I don't even have Christmas
presents for you guys.

What about these?

That's not much.

We weren't
expecting anything.

Oh, honey,
that's so sweet.

We're gonna have to
paint over the tree.


Because it wouldn't be right
to leave it here like this.

But h-he's the one
making us get out.

Whether Mr. Bullington is right
or wrong, it doesn't matter.

It's what we do,
that's what's important.

Mel... it's your tree.

We'll paint over it
when you get home.

The cafe closes early tonight.

Do you guys
wanna come with me?

Yeah !

Okay guys,
come sit over here.

Santa Claus.

Here, Lilee.

I got you some coloring.

Thank you.
Here you go.


You okay?
I'm fine.

You don't look fine.

I'm just trying to
iron out some of the bugs.

Ah... got it.

Mmm, I love this place.

Yeah, it does kind of
grow on you, doesn't it?

I'm saving up to buy it.


I'm still a couple of grand short.

Oh, well, you'll find it.
I doubt that.

I can't find my head
with both hands.

You have family here?

Not here, mm-mm.

So you're spending
Christmas alone?

Not alone.

What does that mean?

Well, that just means that
her and Frank are an item.


Rasmussen, and, yes,
he has hidden qualities.

Oh, he has very
hidden qualities.

How are you?

Um, I'm fine.

There's something
she's not telling us.


Nothing, it's just
that Miller lady,

she's not gonna
rent us the house.

Why am I not surprised?

You're not?
She was here.

She was?

And she was with somebody.


Ugh !

That poor boy can't think for
himself when she's around.

Joe knows her?

Oh, she's a horse's patoot.

They were engaged
and she broke it off.

She's the one that
left him at the altar?

Every silicone square inch.

And now they're--
Looks like it.


Well, maybe
they'll work it out.

I doubt that.

He's normal and she's
a South American Looney Tune.

Well, I do have to say,

this has been more like
old times around here

than in a very long time.

I think you have a lot to
do with that, Martha.


Oh, I don't think so.

No, she's right,
you have made a difference.

I've been here,
what, ten days?

Well, sometimes
that's all it takes.

Well, ladies,
these are bonus checks.

It's not much, but it's
all I could afford.

I don't know
how to tell you this,

but I can't make a go
of this place.

I'm gonna close it down.

Um, Mama?


What's going on?

Well, it isn't much,
but everybody pitched in.

Merry Christmas.

Thank you.

Merry Christmas !


I don't know what to say.

Well, don't say nothing.

I brought the boy something.

Thought you might like these,
just like Sam used to make.

You made it for me?


Say thank you !

He-- he--
the boy can talk.


I'll teach you how to make it.
Yeah !

Thank you, Les.

Thank you, thank you !

Cut that out, cut that out.

Don't get sloppy on me.

Merry Christmas, Martha.

We love you.

Sounds like old times,
doesn't it, Sam?

Merry Christmas, darling.

Merry Christmas.

And remember,
everybody is welcome

at the church annual Christmas
breakfast in the morning.

We are so glad that
you came to this town !

This is incredible.

Well !

Well now, isn't this nice?

What you think, Bob?

Yeah, real nice.


Stand back.

What are you doing here?

Well now, I didn't want to
miss the little gathering,

or my boy.

Right there, Miles?

I told everybody...
you would come back.

You, you are a hard one
to track down, baby.

Still look good, though.

You're not.

Why don't you slip into
something more comfortable,

like unconsciousness?

Hey now, baby,
no reason to get angry.

I was expecting you to still
be at our place.

How come you left, huh?

I'm not the one who left.

Well, it don't matter none,

'cause I just came here to
get you some stuff.


Here you go.

Is that all?

Then you'll go?


Yeah, all of us.

Here you go.

How did you--

I stopped by
the hotel, buddy.

Picked up your stuff.

You broke in?

Well, the door
was open, sort of.

Hotel manager's right
obliging, though.

Ten bucks didn't hurt, neither.

Let's go, buddy, come on.

Don't go, Miles.

I'm sorry.

But we're a family !

Cal, don't do this.

He needs a stable home.

What are you saying,
I ain't a good daddy?

I'm still your daddy,
right, buddy?

I-- I told everybody that
you-- you would come back.

Let me do the talking, buddy.

Let's go.

Send it to the address
on the paper.

Let's go, Bob.

Merry Christmas.

I'm so sorry.

Is there anything
I can do?

Don't worry, honey.

I'll-- I'll
take the girls.

Come here, sweetie.

Come on, Aunt Carol's gonna
take you for a walk.

Thank you.

Come on, come on.

What about you, Mama?

Just go with them,

I need to be alone.

Bye, Mama.

Come on, honey.

You really need
to be more cautious

with your little sister.

She's not my sister !

Half-sister, then.

If we would have stayed home
and w-w-waited--

and waited for Dad,
this would not have happened !

Why didn't you tell me?

Don't make a big deal.

Oh, my gosh, how could
I not make a big deal?

I'll handle this.


She's not my mom.

She is now.

No, she just married my dad,
that's all.

You wanna help her?

Finish the tree?

It'll be our surprise.

We did good.

No, he doesn't
work like that.

God kinda makes you
worry a while

until you get something,

then later, you believe
in Him.

Only you gotta pray, though.

I don't think I'm very good
at that, either.

That's the easy part.

You don't have to be.

You just have to do it.


... I know I haven't
prayed before.

There isn't
anything else I can do.

I've done everything I can.

I can't lose Miles
and I'm out of options.

I never asked
for any handouts...

and I never broke down.

I did everything
that I thought was right.

I don't care about me.

I care about Miles.

I love him so much.

And he doesn't
deserve any of this.

None of this is his fault.


If you're gonna punish
somebody, punish me.

Just... please
don't let him go with Cal.

I'm begging you.

God, if you're up there, please...

Please help me.

♪ Mary's child

♪ To us he
has been sent ♪

♪ Mary's child

♪ His heart and soul
are spent ♪

♪ Child of glory

♪ Around
Him angels sing ♪

♪ Mary's child

♪ God's greatest
gift he brings ♪

♪ Mary's child

♪ God's greatest gift

♪ He brings

The-- the door
was locked.

Did you forget something?


Okay, um...

what is it?

I'll get it for you.


We were h-heading back and...

... and he told me not to do that.

Do what?


H-he called me
a stuttering f-four-eyes.

Oh, Miles.

He said I always could be
one if I didn't quit.

Miles, I am so sorry.

And then I f-figured it out.

He was the one that made me
feel like nothing.

He called me
that-- always has.

And then-- and then I
remembered something you said.

What's that?

To stand up for myself

and be proud
of who I am

and others would be.

I told him t-t-to t-t-take me
back to th-the cafe.

But you weren't there.

How did you get here?

He brought me.


No, him.

Thank you.

I wanted to show you something.

I came by the cafe,
I found Miles instead.

He filled me in.

Sort of.

What is it?

Why don't you come see?

We should hurry, though.

It's supposed to snow.


What's all this?

It's for you.

Come on.

Hi !

Hi !
Hi !

Everybody pitched in.

Pitched in?

Yeah, this is
Clarice Miller's house.

Joe talked her into
renting it to you.

The Pastor and the congregation
did most of it.

That ain't all !


It wasn't as bad
as it first looked.

What wasn't?


It's all fixed.

And Leroy, over to the garage,
he found out another thing.

What, that Jack's
a worthless piece of junk?


It's a special model,
only 600 of 'em ever made.

Car's worth maybe 5,000.


Jack's worth $5,000?

Oh, my gosh !

There's one other thing.

It looks like
The Root Beer Drive-In

is gonna open again.

Who's doing that?

Me and Frank are buying it,

but we're really
gonna need some help.

Are you interested?

Are you kidding me?

And something else.

Go on, tell her.

Sorry about earlier,
you know, kicking you out

and that mix-up
with that fella

that said he was your husband.

And the rest of it.

Well, I was talking to
the foreman from the state

and I told 'em what you
were up against.

And all of 'em donated!

Your first month's rent,
all taken care of.



You're very sorry.

Aren't you, Owen?

You don't know
how sorry I am.

I thought God abandoned me.

No, He sends His angels,

but they don't always
come from the sky,

some are already here.

Yes, like the one
who came up with this

whole idea in the
first place.

You did all this?

Not just me.

No, it was all of us.

And all of us...

we're very happy you're
here with us in Mapleton.

We love you, Mama.

Oh, I love you, too.

I-I-I love you,
too, Mom.


I love you, too.

That's what I call
a merry Christmas.


A root beer Christmas.

Where's the church?

Right down the road.

Does the church have
a bathroom?

Not again!

♪ I heard the bells
on Christmas Day ♪

♪ Their old
familiar carols play ♪

♪ And wild and sweet
the words repeat ♪

♪ Of peace on earth
good will to men ♪

♪ I thought
how as the day had come ♪

♪ The belfries of all
Christendom ♪

♪ Had rolled along
the unbroken song ♪

♪ Of peace on earth

♪ Good will

♪ To men

♪ Peace on earth

♪ Peace on earth

♪ And in despair
I bowed my head ♪

♪ There is no peace on earth
I said ♪

♪ For hate is strong
and mocks the song ♪

♪ Of peace on earth
good will to men ♪

♪ Then pealed
the bells more loud and deep ♪

♪ God is not dead nor
doth he sleep ♪

♪ The wrong shall
fail the right prevail ♪

♪ With peace on earth

♪ Good will

♪ To men

♪ Peace on earth

♪ And good will

♪ And peace on earth

♪ 'Til ringing
singing on its way ♪

♪ The world revolved from
night to day ♪

♪ A voice a chime
a chant sublime ♪

♪ Of peace on earth

♪ Good will

♪ To men

♪ Peace on earth

♪ And good will

♪ And peace on earth