Sheriff: Howdy son! Anything I can do to help?
Jimmy: You certainly can, officer! I need a tow out of the mud right away and I’m in a hurry.
Sheriff: Woa..there..I aint used to takin orders from no kid, but if you’ll just back off a little, I’ll see what I can do…wait a minute! Jimmy? Jimmy Barnes? Is that you, boy?
Jimmy: Sheriff Martin! Uh…I’m I’m sorry..I didn’t recognize you.
Sheriff: Well I’ll be a purple pole cat. Jump in here, son. You’re sure a sight for sore eyeballs. Grace kept tellin’ me you’d be home for Christmas, but I never thought you’d actually make it. What you been doin’ all these years? You forget Crossroads, Tennessee was still on the map?
Jimmy: Uh…no, sir. I’ve…I’ve been really…uh…busy.
Jimmy: Yeah…uh…you know…uh…making a living…and workin’ and uh taking care of things.
Sheriff: Well that’s unique. Well…it don’t really matter anyway. We’re just glad you’ve finally come for a visit. You must uh got Grace’s Christmas card, huh?
Jimmy: How’d you know about that?
Sheriff: Why I know just about everything Grace Hudson does. Her husband and I were best friends-God rest his soul. Hard to believe he’s been gone thirty years. Anyways, I’ve been helpin’ Grace with all her affiars ever since his homegoin.’ You know—balancing her checkbook and making sure her bills are paid. Tell ya what, that woman is a mess when itcomes to money. She don’t have much to begin with, and what precious little she does have she tries to give away.
Jimmy: I guess some things never change.
Sheriff: I don’t know what we’re gonna do come summer.
Jimmy: What do you mean?
Sheriff: Well, I’m retiring, and my son wants me to come spend the summer with him in Minnesota.
Jimmy: Can’t Mom Hudson take care of herself?
Sheriff: Not hardly. Her age is really beginning to show. I’m worried about her Jimmy. These last few weeks, she’s really been down in the dumps. Doc Howard says she’s not eatin’ much, neither.
Jimmy: What’s wrong with her?
Sheriff: Christmas is always tough on her…missin’ her two boys and all. But thank the Lord, Grace is about to have the best Christmas she’s had in a long, long time.
Jimmy: She is?
Sheriff: Sure is-cause you’re here boy, and you’re just the medicine she needs.
Jimmy: Sir, I…uhj…I do need to get my car.
Sheriff: Your car? Oh…! What am I a thinkin’ any way? Where is it?
Jimmy: It’s down at the end of the ramp, sitting in the median,
Sheriff: That big black Cadillac is yours?
Jimmy: It’s my company car.
Sheriff: I’ll be! I guess you have been making a living!
Jimmy: Do you think Jake could give me a tow?
Sheriff: I’m sure he’d be glad to, but…uh..I think he’s up on Bear Mountain sleddin’ with his grandkids.
Sheriff: Tell ya what, Jimmy. I’ll drop you off at Grace’s, then I’ll have your car sittin’ in Grace’s driveway pretty as ya please. How’s that for service?
Jimmy: Not exactly what I had in mind.
Sheriff: How’s that?
Jimmy: Uh…thanks for being so kind.
Narrator: Jimmy was totally…..especially at Christmas.
Jimmy: (knock) I can’t believe this is happening. (knowk) This place sure is run down. (knock)
Debbie: May I help you?
Debbie: Jimmy! Oh…clumsy me!
Jimmy: Here…let me help. I didn’t mean to scare you.
Debbie: Oh..you didn’t scare me…its..uh..its just been so long.
Jimmy: I know..and I’m sorry. I should’ve written or called or something.
Debbie: That’s all right, Jimmy. It’s a free country.
Jimmy: What are you doing here?
Debbie: My mother just dropped me off with some dinner for Mrs. Hudson. Dad just wanted to make sure she had at least one good meal today.
Jimmy: You still live with your folks in that old broken down parsonage?
Debbie: Hey! Don’t be too rough on the old place. We’ve really fixed it up.
Jimmy: So…you never left Crossroads?
Jimmy: Well…what do you do here?
Debbie: I’m Dad’s secretary at the church, and I love it.
Grace: Who’s here, Debbie?
Debbie: It’s an old friend, Mrs. Hudson, Come and see!
Jimmy: How is she, Debbie?
Debbie: She’s she’s okay most of the time…its just that her memory is starting to…
Grace: What’s all this commotion going on out here? (gasp) My lands! Can it be?
Jimmy: Hi, Mom.
Grace: Oh, Johnny…Johnny! It’s so good to see you. Oh, welcome home, son. Welcome home.
Grace: What’s wrong, son? Cat got your tongue? You just need some good home cookin’! Now, now, come on in the kitchen, and I’ll fix that. I’m starved too. Oh…its so good to have you home, Johnny.
Jimmy: But mom…I’m not Johnny.
Grace: You are not hungry! After that long drive home from college! That’s a good one! Any more fibs like that and I’ll wash your mouth out with soap. Now come on in out of the cold before…son! Where’s your shoes?
Jimmy: I…uh…kindof lot em.
Grace: Well, get in here on the double before you catch your death of cold. You haven’t changed a bit..still need your old mother to look after you, don’t cha. Remember that time you and Jimmy took off your shoes in the hay loft and we didn’t find em ‘til two years later.
Jimmy: Yeah, I remember. My mom about killed me.
Grace: You better believe I was upset. Money don’t grow on trees, you know. Now, now…take off those old muddy socks, and I’ll be back in a jiffy. You got plenty of shoes and socks up in your room. Oh, boys will be boys.
Jimmy: What’s going on?
Debbie: That’s what I was starting to tell you. She’s real confused a lot of the time.
Jimmy: How long has she been like this?
Debbie: It’s been several years now, but it seems to be getting worse lately.
Jimmy: Can’t Doc Howard help her?
Debbie: he just says not to antagonize her. If you try to correct her, she just gets upset.
Jimmy: This is going to be interesting.
Debbie: don’t let it get to you, Jimmy. She’s the same sweet person she’s always been-just a little mixed up sometimes.
Jimmy: a little? She doesn’t even know my name.
Debbie: Oh yes she does. Every Wednesday night prayer meeting for the last ten years, she’s announced that same prayer request-“Please pray for my Jimmy.”
Debbie: Jimmy your coming means a great deal to her. I haven’t seen her this excited about anything in years.
Jimmy: I guess time changes things, doesn’t it?
Debbie: I guess so.
Jimmy: You’d never know it to look at this farm house. Everything looks exactly the same as it did twenty years ago.
Debbie: That’s one reason I love it here…all those wonderful memories.
Jimmy: Look at these Christmas pictures! Does she still get them out every year?
Debbie: The day after Thanksgiving.
Jimmy: Remember this one…the night all three of us made our Christmas debut at church!
Debbie: How could I forger? You made a dashing Joseph.
Jimmy: And you were a pretty good Mary, too. But as I recall, Johnny was the one who stole the show. Remember the last rehearsal?
Debbie: Do I remember? My dad nearly had a fit!
Song: AMAZING GRACE
Narrator: As the years passed…Christmas of their senior year.
Grace: Have another piece of apple pie, boys. Remember, an apple a day keeps the doctor away.
Johnny: Oh…Mom…if I take one more bite, I’ll have to see the doctor for sure.
Grace: How ‘bout you, Jimmy?
Jimmy: All we ever have is apples. Can’t we have something else for a change?
Johnny: What is bothering you, Jimmy? You’ve been a grouch all evening.
Grace: I know! Why don’t we sing my favorite Christmas carol?
Jimmy: Mom, will you just be quiet for once?
Johnny: Jimmy watch your mouth.
Grace: Oh, what’s wrong, son? The Lord can help.
Jimmy: I think it’s about time I started helping myself.
Grace: God’s Word says, “Call unto me, and I will show you…
Jimmy: Forget it, Mom. If you want to read something, read this.
Grace: “Mr. James Barnes, a minimum of $1000.00 must be paid on your account before you may register for second semester. Business office.”
Johnny: but don’t you almost have enough to pay it?
Jimmy: I did have. That’s why I’ve been working ‘round the clock at the drugstore and diner all Christmas vacation.
Johnny:What do you mean, you did have?
Jimmy: Like an idiot, I’ve been cashing my checks and hiding the money in the back of one of my drawers at home.
Jimmy: It’s gone!
Grace: Gone? Are you sure?
Jimmy: Yeah, I’m sure.
Johnny: But…who would take it?
Jimmy: Can’t you guess?
Grace: Your mother?
Jimmy: Yes…my loving mother.
Grace: But why?
Jimmy: Oh…she’ll blow it on booze and whatever else she does down at that dumb bar!
Johnny: I’m gonna call Sheriff Martin.
Jimmy: Go ahead…but it won’t help. She’ll say she never saw that money. Oh…I am so stupid!
Grace: Oh, Jimmy, God’s grace can meet your need. Let’s pray about it right now and ask….
Jimmy: No thanks, Mom. I serve a lot more out of this life than God’s ever given me and I intend to get it!
Grace: Jimmy, you don’t mean that.
Jimmy: Oh yeah? See ya later!
Bow heads…Johnny seated…Narrator…he heard Grace coming down the stairs.
Grace: I found your shoes, Johnny. They were way in the back of your closet.
Jimmy: Uh…thanks, Mom.
Grace: I’m just tickled pink to have you home, son. Now, let’s eat. I’m famished.
Debbie: Everything’s ready, Mrs. Hudson.
Grace: Then, let’s have a seat. Johnny, would you thank the Lord for the food?
Jimmy: Uh…sure, Mom.
Grace: And don’t forget to pray for Jimmy. That boy is bearin’ a mighty heavy burden.
Jimmy: Uh…yes, ma’am. Uh…Mom, you know I’d really like to hear you say grace, if you don’t mind. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard you pray.
Grace: That’s sweet, Johnny. Sure, honey. I’ll be glad to. (prayer)
Grace: Now, Johnny, make sure you save plenty of room for apple pie. You know what they say, “an apple a day…
All: keeps the doctor away.
Jimmy: Yeah, Mom, that’s one thing I do remember.
Grace: Debbie would you please pass the applesauce to Johnny?
Grace: Now, who could that be?
Debbie: Oh, no, it’s Dad! I forgot he said to be ready at 6:15.
Grace: Ready for what, dear?
Debbie: The Christmas Eve service at church.
Grace: Land sakes, let’s go.
Jimmy: uh…the food…uh…might spoil.
Grace: Nonsense, dear. You just leave everything right where it is. We’ll eat as soon as we get home. Just grab an apple out of the refrigerator. They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, you know.
(Exit to church)
Song: The Birthday of a King/Angels
Narrator: Needless to say….Grace quietly dozed in the back.
Pastor: Jimmy, I haven’t seen Grace so chipper in months. Thanks for taking time to come.
Jimmy: If you only knew!
Pastor: what’s that?
Jimmy: Oh, nothing. I guess I’m not in the mood for any compliments.
Pastor: I know tonight had to be hard on you…with Grace not having her mind and all? It just wasn’t your night.
Jimmy: I gues Christmas Eve never has been my night.
Pastor: I’m sorry, Jimmy. I didn’t mean to bring that up.
Jimmy: That’s all right. You’d think after ten years, I’d be able to get over it.
Pastor Jimmy, I know you must feel somewhat responsible for what happened, but the Lord is…
Jimmy: Pastor, can you slow down please?
Pastor: Sure, Jimmy.
Jimmy: do we have to go this way?
Pastor: sorry, son. I didn’t even think about it.
Jimmy: I..I just haven’t been on this road since…since…
Narrator: Ten years earlier….Jimmy picked up Johnny and they were on their way.
Jimmy: Why we goin’ to the Pastor’s house, anyway?
Johnny: Some of the young people are getting together to sing some carols and share some testimonies.
Jimmy: Oh, goody goody. I’m gonna get to share my testimony.
Jimmy: What’s the matter, little Johnny-boy? Don’t you want to hear my testimony?
Johnny: What’s wrong with you?
Jimmy I:Nothing’s wrong with me. I can’t wait to tell everyone how God graciously took my thousand dollars to buy booze for my mother. Isn’t that amazing!
Johnny: God didn’t do that!
Jimmy: Oh, but Johnny-boy! Don’t you know He’s in control of everything!
Johnny: Jimmy, slow down. What’s wrong with you?
Jimmy: Nothing’s wrong with me, pardner. I’m feeling great.
Johnny: I said “slow down.” Why are actin’ like this?
Jimmy: ‘Cause I’m gonna get what I serve!
Johnny: You’re talking crazy!
Jimmy: Oh, yeah? Well…stick around, old buddy. It’s gonna get a lot crazier than this!
Johnny: Jimmy, stop this car and let me out!
Jimmy: what’s wrong, wimp? Ain’t turnin’ chicken on me, are ya? We’re hardly moving!
Johnny: Jimmy, there’s a curve coming up!
Johnny: You’re not gonna make it!
Jimmy: Oh, yeah? Watch me!
Narrator:They didn’t make the curve…Jimmy woke her up and helped her into the house.
Jimmy: You’d better get to bed, Mom. It’s been a long evening.
Grace: I suppose I am feeling a little tired. Land sakes, Johnny, I forgot to clean up the supper dishes.
Jimmy: Well…you didn’t actually forget to…
Grace: Now don’t try to make excuses for me. I may be getting’ old but that doesn’t mean I can leave things a mess. Lookie there! We sure cleaned our plates, didn’t we?
Jimmy: Yeah,…uh…I guess we did…uh…Listen, Mom, why don’t we have a little…uh…snack before you put everything away.
Grace: Oh, no thanks, son. I couldn’t eat another bite. I’m still stuffed from supper. Aren’t you?
Jimmy: uh…well..I suppose so… It’s just that …uh…it was such a long time ago, it…hardly seems like we ate.
Grace: Listen, honey, you run upstairs and get you pf’s on, and I’ll fix you a big piece o f apple pie and some hot cocoa.
Jimmy: That sounds wonderful, Mom.
Grace: You know what they say. “An apple a day…
Jimmy: Yeah, Mom, I remember.
Grace: Now, run along up to your room, Johnny. It’ll be ready in a jiffy.
Jimmy: You sure you don’t need my help?
Grace: Don’t you go treatin’ me like no fragile antique, son. I can still manage just fine. Now, run along!
Jimmy: Yes, ma’am (turns and bows head)
Grace: Huh! You’d think I was getting’ old or something. I can still work circles around the kids!
Grace: Sounds like someone is at the door. Now who could that be, this time of night? Hold your horses! I’m comin’!
Narrator: As Grace hurried to see…Jimmy was startled to see that one more diploma had been added to the wall.
Grace: Johnny, here’s your pie and your cocoa.
Jimmy: Mom, where did you get this?
Grace: Get what?
Jimmy: This diploma.
Grace: That’s your hight school diploma, dear.
Jimmy: Mom, this is a college diploma.
Grace: That’s strange. Who does it belong to?
Jimmy: It says it belongs to James Barnes.
Grace: Well, I’ll be. I…I wonder where it came from.
Jimmy: There’s a note taped to it. “Dear Mrs. Hudson, In appreciation for all you’ve done, we’re sending you this duplicate of Jimmy’s diploma. Sincerely, the Administration.”
Grace: If that don’t beat all!
Jimmy: don’t you remember anything about this?
Grace: I’m sorry, dear. Why don’t you ask Jimmy? He’d probably know where it came from.
Jimmy: I don’t think so.
Grace. Well, let’s not fret about it tonight. (yawn) I’m ready to hit the hay. How’bout you?
Jimmy: Yeah…I guess so.
Grace: Goodnight, dear. Sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite.
Jimmy: Goodnight…wait, Mom, what’s that in your hand?
Grace: Uh looks like some keys.
Jimmy: They look like mine.
Grace: OH, really. Huh. I’ll be. Well…here you go.
Jimmy: That must’ve been Sheriff Martin at the door.
Grace: Someone’s at the door?
Jimmy: Good…then my car must be here.
Grace: How’s that, Johnny?
Jimmy: Oh, nothin’ Mom. Just talkin’ to myself.
Grace: Well, let’s pray together and then we’ll get some rest. (pray)
Grace: See ya in the morning, Johnny. It’s sure good to have you home.
Jimmy: Thanks, Mom.
Grace: I love you, dear. Merry Christmas!
Jimmy: Merry Christmas.
(Jimmy sits in car, Grace seated)
Narrator: As Jimmy was left…Jimmy tried to outrun him but finally pulled over and turned off the radio.
Sheriff: What’s going on, Jimmy?
Jimmy: I just can’t take it!
Sheriff: Has something happened to Grace?
Jimmy: Oh…she’s doing fine, but I’m not!
Sheriff: Can I help?
Jimmy: The only thing that’s going to help is for me to get a million miles away from this place.
Jimmy: Because I never got anything but a raw deal, here.
Sheriff: So, that’s the way it is, huh?
Jimmy: Yeah? How would you feel if your mom was the town drunk? Or if you were driving the car that killed your best friend? All I’ve got here is bad memories!
Sheriff: Bad memories? What about Grace Hudson?
Jimmy: Well she treated me all right, I guess, but this town still never gave me half what I deserve.
Sheriff: And you’d better be thankful for that.
Sheriff: Seems to me you might be forgetting some of the details about that accident you had a little while back.
Jimmy: What are you talking about?
Sheriff: You never knew this, Jimmy, but ten years ago, when you and Johnny didn’t show up at the Pastor’s house, Grace got worried and called me. So, I swung by and picked her up and the two of us went out looking for you. The first place we tried was your mom’s old trailer.
Narrator: A shiver ran down …he thought.
Grace: (knock)Anybody home?
Sheriff: Lucille!Lucille! Are you in there?
Lucille: For cryin’ out loud, it’s open. What do you want…an invitation?
Sheriff: Sorry to bother you, Lucille, but have you seen Jimmy?
Lucille: No, I ain’t, Sheriff, but that boy of mine is gonna be mighty sorry when I do find ‘im.
Sheriff: why’s that, Lucille?
Lucille: ‘Cause that little thief has been snitchin’ some of my best liquor.
Grace: That can’t be1 He promised me he’d never drink.
Lucille: so he promised you…Ha! You and your silly religion! How ‘bout doing something useful fer a change and turn some water into wine.
Sheriff: That’s enough, Lucille. Now, what makes you think Jimmy’s been drinkin’?
Lucille: What would you think if you walked in and found a bottle of liquor sittin’ open on the table?
Sheriff: Are you sure you didn’t leave it out, Lucille?
Lucille: No chance, Sheriff. This stuff is expensive. I was savin’ it for New Year’s. Now I want you to find that thief and throw him in jail til he rots. Imagine, stealin’ from his own mother.
Grace: Sheriff, we’d better find those boys, fast!
Lucille: You’re right about that, lady. If you don’t find Jimmy before I do, I’m gonna kill ‘im! I’m gonna get me a gun and protect my property. You hear me? I’m gonna kill ‘im!
Narrator: That night was the first…ten years before.
Jimmy: You mean, you’ve known all these years?
Sheriff: Afraid so, Jimmy. I wanted to throw you in jail, but Grace wouldn’t hear of it. She gave orders that nothing was to be said about the whiskey, and that was the end of it. She said she wouldn’t be able to bear it if she lost both of her boys.
Jimmy: Sheriff, why don’t you just shoot me? We’d all be better off.
Sheriff: No, Jimmy. There’s some debts you need to settle up, first.
Sheriff: That’s right. Some old school bills.
Jimmy: what are you talking about?
Sheriff: How’d you pay your way through college?
Jimmy: I worked like a dog…that’s how.
Sheriff: You paid for all of it?
Jimmy: Nah, my last year was mostly taken care of by some scholarship for penniless orphans like me. I suppose some rich fool wanted to make his conscience feel better. After all life had dealt me, I figured I deserved it.
Sheriff: Some rich fool, huh?
Sheriff: How about some poor saint?
Sheriff: Do you remember who gave you that scholarship?
Jimmy: Some foundation, something like the AG Scholarship Foundation.
Sheriff: Good memory.
Jimmy: How do you know about all this stuff?
Sheriff: Because I’m the Vice President of that foundation.
Sheriff: Betcha didn’t know I was so important, did you?
Sheriff: Well, I’m not.
Jimmy: I’m sorry. I’m afraid you lost me somewhere.
Sheriff: I’ll try to simplify it for you. Thirty years ago, just before Grace’s husband had his farming accident, he bought a life insurance policy for his newborn son, Johnny.
Jimmy: Life insurance on a baby?
Sheriff: Yeah! It was kindof a popular thing back then… and he was mighty proud of that boy. Well, then Grace’s husband passed away
Jimmy: …and you started helping Grace with her finances.
Sheriff:You got it! Funny thing is, she didn’t even know about the life insurance, but it sure came in handy when Johnny died.
Jimmy:I really don’t want to talk about this.
Sheriff: Sorry, but you don’t have a choice. As it turned out, Grace had enough to pay for Johnny’s funeral with a tidy portion left over. So, we formed the AG Scholarship Foundation for Needy Students…but all of our funds went to help one student.
Jimmy: But she’s the one who needs it! Why didn’t she keep it!
Sheriff: That’s what I told her. She kept sayin, “no, my other son is carryin’ a mighty heavy load, and he needs my help.
Jimmy: Oh, how could she find it in her heart to care about me?
Sheriff: Now, that kinda goes back to why we called it the AG Foundation.
Jimmy: What do you mean?
Sheriff: Can’t you guess what AG stands for? Let me give you a hint…Amazing
Sheriff: That’s right, son. Grace-getting’ something you don’t deserve.
Jimmy: I’ve been so blind all these years feeling sorry for myself…but that dear, sweet woman has never given up on me.
Sheriff: Jimmy, Grace is a mighty fine lady but she’s not the one you owe the most.
Jimmy: She’s not?
Sheriff: No. There’s somebody else who has given you far more than Grace.
Sheriff: Jimmy, can’t you see? You weren’t plannin’ on comin’ home for no visit today were you?
Sheriff: Open your eyes son. It was no accident you ran off the road this afternoon. There’s only one explanation for why you’re here-God loves you, and once again, he was showin’ you His grace,.
Jimmy: Sheriff, I don’t deserve God’s grace.
Sheriff: You’re right…and you don’t deserve Grace’s love either…but she still loves you. Jimmy, whether you like it or not, God’s brought you here to Crossroads. Which way you gonna go?
Jimmy: Lord, help me for once to make the right decision! Please help me!
Song: Standing at the Crossroads
Narrator: Well Jimmy asked….He saw God’s grace.
Grace: Johnny, I thought you were in bed!
Jimmy: I just needed to get out for a while and think through some things.
Grace: That’s fine. I’m just glad your home, son.
Jimmy: Me too, Mom.
Grace: I’ve been up in my room prayin’ forJimmy. I’m so burdened for him. He’s carryin’ an awful heavy load.
Jimmy: Mom, you don’t need to worry about Jimmy anymore. Your prayers have been answered.
Grace: really, Johnny?
Jimmy: Yes, Mom. God certainly is good, isn’t He?
Grace: He sure is son. His grace is just amazing!