A Waltons Story

(The Waltons Fan Fiction)

By: Kristi N. Zanker

 

Disclaimer: All publicly recognized characters, settings, etc. are the property of Lorimar Productions and Warner Bros. Television. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. I, in no way am associated with the owners, creators, or producers of The Waltons. No copyright infringement is intended.

Author’s Note: The green dialogue in this chapter is from the sixth season episode ‘The Empty Nest – Part II.’

 

9.

The Service

 

When everyone sat down at the kitchen table, John was the first to speak.

“There’s something that your Mama, Grandma, and I want to discuss with all of you. I know that the last couple of days have not been easy on anyone. But we have to discuss what is going to take place tomorrow with Grandpa. Reverend Buchanan was here today and we were discussing the plans that lay ahead. We’re going to have a service at the church, and I know that Pa wanted to be buried up on the mountain. When the service is over we’re going to bring Grandpa up to the top of the mountain. John-Boy is going to do the eulogy. Grandma already picked out the Bible verses. I know it is going to be hard on everyone. But we have each other to lean on and we will be there for one another.”

“Daddy?” asked Mary Ellen. “Is there anything else that I can do to help?”

“Keep an eye out for my grandson. Other than that, no, Mary Ellen, everything is already taken care of.”

They all went and sat in the living room. Ben turned on the radio, but no one was listening and snapped it off. John-Boy watched as Jason got up and sat at the piano. He began to play, ‘Carry Me Back to Old Virginia.’ Everyone knew that that song would raise Grandma's spirits somewhat for it was one of her favorites with Grandpa. When Jason finished playing, he got up, went over to Grandma and gave her a hug.

John-Boy could only imagine what his grandmother must be thinking now. He looked as she gazed at the picture of the man she was married to for 54 years. Right before everyone fell asleep that; they heard the children call out “goodnight” starting with Elizabeth.

“Goodnight Grandpa. We love you,” she said and the rounds continued, following with the same sentiments.

It was 6:00 a.m. when John-Boy looked at his clock. He figured he would get up and take advantage of the bathroom while people were sleeping and take a shower before everyone else awoke. After exiting the bathroom, he went back to his old bedroom to get dressed for the day. As he entered the room, he saw that Daisy was awake, but still laying in bed.

“Good morning. Are you feeling better today?” he asked.

“No. I can’t shake this feeling,” she said.

“I think tomorrow we should go see a doctor before when we return to New York,” he said, as he got dressed in the tweed suit that had belonged to his grandfather, but given to him for his high school graduation seven years ago.

“Okay,” she said.

As John-Boy went downstairs, he saw his father and Grandma sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee. He joined them in the coffee and one by one the family members arrived downstairs. Soon, Olivia came down and made breakfast. The service was at nine. The solemn faced crowd was ready. Grandma was looking frail, while John stood by her side. The cluster of Waltons walked somberly to the church, not saying a word. At this moment, all kept their thoughts and memories about Grandpa to themselves.

The Walton family took over the first couple of pews. The small white church filled with people and

Jason sat down at the organ and played hymns while the church was filling up. They did not expect to see kinfolk like Boone, Wade, and his wife, Vera, but there they stood near the rear of the church. A lot of the mountain folk showed up as well. John was thinking that Grandpa sure did have a lot of acquaintances. John-Boy faced forward and looked at the pulpit, as Reverend Buchanan waited for people to settle and sit down.

“Family and friends, I stand before you with a heavy heart to say good-bye to an enduring man, Zebulon Tyler Walton. We are going to do things a bit different today per the family’s request. We will hold the service first and at the end, anyone that wishes to come up to pay your respects please do so. It’s the family’s request that they fulfill Zebulon's wishes to be buried on top of the mountain. They are going to limit this to the immediate family only.

“When I first came here as a pastor, Zebulon Walton was one of the first people who welcomed me to Waltons Mountain. He was a spiritual man, who enjoyed music, and had a deep faith. He learned at an early age that it was not the material things that sustain you; it is what you given and received to this earth. In this respect Zebulon had a bountiful of everything. We all feel a great loss at this time. I know I’m going to miss a fine fishing partner. Esther, please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and the family. Every time I go fishing or take a walk up on the mountain I know that Zebulon’s spirit is all over and in our hearts. He will be there forever.”

At this point Jason began to play ‘Amazing Grace’ and everyone began to sing. After the song ended, John-Boy walked to the pulpit where the reverend stood only seconds ago.

“I was asked to speak on behalf of my family about a man we all loved--my grandfather Zebulon Tyler Walton. He had a love and respect for life…”

John-Boy was choked up, but he managed to make it to the end. Next, Ike Godsey stood at the pulpit and read Psalm 23. After that, Maude Gormley did the second reading. It was John 12, Verse 23-28.

“The time has come for the Son of man to enter in to his glory.
The truth is, a kernel of wheat must be planted in the soil. Unless it dies it will be alone, a single seed. But its death will produce many new kernels a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who despise their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. All those who want to be my disciples must come and follow me because my servants must be where I am. And if they follow me the Father will honor them. Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray Father bring glory in your name.”

When Maude sat down once again, Jason played the next song, ‘Where Eagles Fly.’

As people stood in line to say good-bye they all stopped by to pay their respects to Grandma and John. As the church emptied, it was just the family left. They all stood up and John helped Grandma up to the coffin. She gently touched her husband’s hand.

“You will be in my heart forever. I love you, Old Man.”

Everyone was in tears. The family said their silent good-byes and they would see him later on the mountain. Reverend Buchanan made arrangements through the funeral home to bring the body to the top of the mountain for when they meet Grandpa later.

John was grateful that Ike and Corabeth graciously volunteered Godsey's Hall for friends and family to gather after the service. Corabeth took over all the details including the food. For this, John was grateful. The family and friends all walked to Godsey's Hall. After everyone was inside, John made an announcement.

“I’m not much for words, but I just wanted to thank everyone for their kindness that they have showed since my father's passing. It is times like these when you know who your true friends are. On behalf of my mother and my family, I truly want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Everyone mingled and enjoyed the food that they shared with one another.

While everyone else shared their stories and moments with Grandpa, John gathered the immediate family together and they got in to their cars to make the journey up the mountain. As they reached the top, they saw Grandpa's head stone in the recently dug up earth. They planned to set some set some plants and flowers for they all knew that’s what Grandpa would have wanted. They all gathered around his grave. One by one, each member said their final good-byes.

“Grandpa, I have been sharing our pig for the 4-H project with Clarence. Jaybez is really fat now. I miss our special walks, Grandpa. I miss you. It won’t be the same without you there,” said Elizabeth.

“Grandpa, Daddy is letting me use your tools now, I promise to take good care of them. I will never forget you, Grandpa,” said Ben.

“Grandpa, I heard this song and it will always remind me of you.”

Jason pulled out his harmonica and played the song.

“Grandpa, I’m thinking of you always, and G.W.,” said Erin.

“Grandpa, John Curtis always grabs for the earth. He likes to reach out to a lot of people. He’ll be just like you are,” said Mary Ellen.

“Grandpa,” said John-Boy. “I guess I’m here to say good-bye. But I feel your presence all over this mountain. I’ll miss your stories, your wisdom, laughter…Grandpa, I’ll miss the fact that when I have children they will never know you. But I promise you this; I’ll keep your presence and memory alive always.”

“Don’t sit on the porch too much with Martha Corrine, Uncle Ben, and Mrs. Brimmer,” said Olivia.

“Pa, no matter what happens, we will always stay on the mountain, probably forever,” said John.

“Old Man,” said Grandma. “You live in all of us.”

The next day came too quickly and it was time for John-Boy, Daisy and Melissa to head back to New York. He hugged and kissed everyone good-bye at the train station.

“You get some rest, Daisy, and feel better,” said Olivia.

“Oh, I will,” she replied.

“Are you going to come to visit me this summer?” John-Boy asked Elizabeth.

“I would like to. I’ll have to ask Mama,” she said.

“We’ll talk about it,” Olivia said.

The conductor yelled, “All Aboooaaarrrd!” The three of them got on the train and waved good-bye as it pulled away from the station and the mountain.

Copyright © 2005 by Kristi N. Zanker

 

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Copyright © 2014 by Kristi N. Zanker

 

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