A Condensed Screenplay
By David Rojay
Location: A two-lane highway in West Virginia. A sedan with a sixty-five year old father driving and his son, a twenty-five year old soldier in uniform. They are very quiet as if they hardly know one another.
Son: I've been meaning to ask for the last hundred miles, why are we in West Virginia?
Father: Where should we be?
Son: Well, for one thing if you're going to Pittsburgh from Fort Campbell, the logical thing is to go north to I-70 and follow it east through Ohio.
Father: Well, let's say I had my reasons; besides West Virginia is very beautiful this time of the year.
Son: It's a hell of a lot better than Iraq.
A long silent period passes.
Father: You wanna talk about it?
After a pause
Son: What's there to say? You were in Nam-same story, trade jungle for sand.
Father looks at son, knows there's nothing to say. Car passes sign that says Grafton, West Virginia. A few blocks later he pulls into a restaurant parking lot.
Father: I can't believe it, the place is still here.
Sign says, "Ernestine's-twelve kinds of pie". Father and son are seated as waitress approaches.
Waitress: Got luncheon specials left in the kitchen-meatloaf, chicken pot pie, Salisbury steak-comes with mashed potatoes and gravy, your choice of cole slaw or green beans and a piece of one of our twelve pies-that's apple, cherry, blackberry, pecan, sweet potato, peach cobbler, rhubarb, lemon meringue, banana cream, chocolate cream, coconut cream and strawberry.
All this is delivered in a fast staccato but not so fast that both the father and son could not settle on meatloaf and strawberry pie. The specials are promptly brought from the kitchen.
Waitress: They've been under the heat lamp.
Father looks at waitress' nametag which reads"Geraldine".
Father: Your name rhymes with "Ernestine".
Waitress: My mother. My mom left the place to me nine years ago, but I've been working here since I was eighteen; that's thirty years ago.
Father: My goodness you must have been here the last time I was here twenty-five years ago.
Waitress: Twenty-five years ago I was a skinny blond.
She leans down onto the table.
Waitress: With a great ass.
Camera cuts to picture of girl with nice ass walking away from table where a younger father is seated with his wife.
Wife: What are you looking at?
Wife: Yes, you are.
Husband: Well, I'm not getting any at home.
Wife: That's because I'm pregnant.
Husband: And that's why we're going to Pittsburgh.
Wife begins to cry.
Husband: What are you crying about? First of all, you're only two months pregnant.
Wife: But my mom told me to forego sex and that's what I'm gonna do.
Husband: Your mom, your mom; I didn't marry your mom.
Wife brings coffee cup to her lips but her hand is trembling.
Wife: I thought you loved me.
Husband: I do love you, baby; but explain this to me.
"How did you sleep with Clifford all those years and not get pregnant and we get married and boom, you're pregnant."
Tears begin to flow. Waitress watches from across the room.
Wife: There wasn't anything between me and Clifford.
Husband: Bullshit, Glenda. He used to come in and brag to me and all his friends from the first day he nailed you.
Wife sobs out loud.
Husband: This wasn't our deal. We had an agreement before we got married. I already had children and we agreed that we wouldn't have children.
Wife: At least not for a long time.
Husband: Long time-we're married two months and you're pregnant two months. How long can I wait. You're twenty-eight years old, I'm forty; my kids are eighteen and seventeen-when they get out of college you'll be thirty-two/thirty-three years old.
Waitress decides to intervene.
Husband: What did your mom say?
Wife: I never told her.
Husband: You mean we spent most of a weekend at your parents' and you never said a thing.
Waitress: Can I get something else for you folks.
Husband: We're all set. Thank you.
Waitress: Well, then Happy Mother's Day.
Wife: We came down here to see my mom, but we couldn't stay, we gotta be in Pittsburgh in the morning.
Waitress: Well, it's a pity you don't have time to go to church-the church that started Mother's Day is right down the street.
Husband: Started Mother's Day?
Waitress: Yes, it was started right here in Grafton in 1908 at the Methodist Church.
Wife: Let's go down there.
Husband: It's too late.
Waitress: You could get in for the last of the service.
They arrive at the church to find people standing in the front entrance.
Husband: Looks like other people had the same idea.
Wife silently works her way through the throng and finally stands in front of the crowd by the door. The Minister seems to be preaching right to her.
Minister: We must all remember that motherhood is a precious thing. Motherhood brings life into the world and every life; every consciousness is a part of God. As it says in Corinthians 13:13: "But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love." And the question is hasn't your mother given you faith, hope and love. Now let us turn to page 214 and sing Peace in the Valley.
Wife works her way back through the crowd to her husband.
Wife: (Quietly) Let's go.
Wife takes husband by the hand. Once they are back in the car, she turns to him.
Wife: I don't want to do this, baby; I can't do it.
Wife begins to cry into her handkerchief. Husband looks at her. He loves this woman and it hurts him to see her like this. When they leave town and are back driving thorough the countryside he says-------------
" Ok, Glenda, I guess we'll have a baby; but I want you to get one thing straight, it's gonna be your baby. Your feeding baby, your diapering baby, your middle-of-the-night baby. All right?"
Wife begins to laugh and cry at the same time then she crawls across the seat and begins to kiss her husband.
Husband: I'm gonna have a wreck.
The car pulls out of the shot. In the next shot, the father is driving and looking at his sleeping son.
Dad: (Quietly under his breath) All those years.
Son is waking up from his sleep.
Dad: Oh, I was just thinking about you growing up.
Dad: Do you remember the crab creek?
Son: The what?
Dad: You know that creek that had crabs in it. We used to stand on the little bridge and look down and watch them; sometimes a couple of them would be fighting.
Son: And one day a guy came along with a net and scooped up about a dozen of them.
Dad: Yum, yum, makes me hungry.
Son: I'm glad I'm a vegetarian.
Dad: Isn't that a little difficult in the Army?
Son: Not at all; there's always plenty to eat in the Army.
Dad: That's because you've never been out in the jungle eating K-Rations.
Son: I know the whole story, Dad, everybody's tour of duty was the very worst one.
They both laugh. Once again there's a long silence
Dad: Do you remember sitting in the gazebo in front of the post office?
Son: Yeah, I remember Bruce playing his flute. He did all right, picked up fifty dollars in an afternoon.
Dad: Do you remember asking me if human sight was the first time the universe had seen itself?*
Son: I don't think I ever said that; I know you tell people I said that but that sounds like one of your lines.
There's a slight tinge of hostility in his voice.
Dad: What's bothering you son?
Son: What do you mean?
Dad: I mean ever since I picked you up there's been a distance; there's been a wall between us.
Son: Well, you didn't have to pick me up, Dad.
Dad: Ah, come on. My son comes back from Iraq and I'm not gonna go pick him up? What is it, out with it, what's bothering you?
Son: It's a girl.
Dad: It's always a girl.
Son: Yeah, but this girl's pregnant.
Dad: Is this an Iraqi girl?
Son: Are you kidding? It's Specialist First -Class Johnson. She just got discharged and she's two months pregnant.
Dad: What are you gonna do about it?
Son: I don't know how I can have a kid at this point. Besides, she wants to get an abortion.
Dad: She wants to get an abortion?
Son: We've decided that's what's best.
Dad: Who's decided?
Son: Ok, I decided. I just can't do this right now.
Dad: Son, if there's a will there's a way.
Son: Platitudes, platitudes.
Dad: Like I said, if there's a will there's a way.
Dad: Do you love this girl?
Son: I thought so; now, I don't know.
Dad: If you love her then your mom and I will back you up.
Son: And you'll finally get your grandchild.
Dad: That's not it.
Son: The grandchild your daughters haven't given you.
Dad: When you have a kid and you first see that look of love in their eyes, you'll know it's worth it. It's not all sweetness and light; there'll be times when you're trying to feed them and they throw their food on the floor. There'll be times when you're in the park and they climb out of their stroller because they want to push it..............backwards; but there'll also be times when you walk to the crab stream or the post office gazebo. Later on when they have a solo with the school chorus and the guy in the row behind you says to his wife, ‘Listen to the voice on that kid.'-------------- (father's tone changes) "Don't get me wrong, kids aren't free. They steal years from you, they change your life."
Son: Well, then are they worth it?
Dad: Don't you think you're worth it?
They stop for gas and restrooms. As Dad pumps gas, he sees his son on his cell phone.
Back in the car-------------------
Son: I hope you don't mind, Dad, Lisa is going to drive from Columbus in the morning. She'll be at our house in time to eat. Is that ok?
Dad is smiling broadly.
Dad: You mean she's going to bring my grandson?
Son: Or your granddaughter; but she's afraid she'll be late.
Dad: When you call her tonight, tell her we'll wait as long as it takes. It's gonna be your mom's best Mother's Day ever. In fact, maybe you should give your mom a call.
Son hits "mom" on his cell phone. Close up of woman smiling as her cell phone rings.
Mom: Hello, my baby.
Son: Hi, Mom.
Mom: I can't wait to see you.
Son: Me too, Mom.
Mom: I've got the fridge stocked with all your favorite food and I want to tell you right now that I don't want you to do anything but rest and relax for at least a week. Your friends have been calling and stopping by. You'll have a good time.
Son: Ok mom, don't worry. Mom, Dad drove through West Virginia and we stopped in this restaurant that had the best pie.
Close up of Mom, her smile becomes wistful.
Mom: Ernestine's-Grafton, West Virginia.
Son: Yeah, that's it. That's where they had the first Mother's Day Service and tomorrow's Mother's Day. Happy Mother's Day, Mom.
Mom: Thank you, my baby, your being with me tomorrow is the very best Mother's Day present of all.
Son becomes very serious.
Son: Mom, I need to tell you something.
Mom is immediately concerned.
Mom: What is it, is everything all right; are you ok.
Son: Sure, Mom, I'm fine. Mom, I met this girl.
Mom: Oh, that's wonderful. What's she like, can we meet her.
Son: I.....I asked her to come to eat with us tomorrow and Mom.........she's pregnant.
Long pause. Close up of Mom; she is surprised then ecstatic. A tear trickles down her face.
Mom: It's wonderful. It's so ironic, you know, I was two months pregnant with you when your Dad and I were in Ernestine's having pie and it was Mother's Day and the waitress said we should go to the church where the first Mother's Day Service was held. And we did; and now twenty-five years later, the circle continues. Do you love this girl?
Son: I do, Mom, I don't want to live without her.
Mom: And does she love you?
Son: Yes, Mom, I know she does.
Mom: Then everything will be fine, your Dad and I will be there when you need us, everything will be wonderful. This will truly be the best Mother's Day ever. I love you my baby.
Son: I love you, Mom.
Mom: Let me speak to your Dad, Sweetheart.
Son hands phone to Dad.
Dad: Our boy's home, Mom.
Mom is quietly crying.
Mom: It'll be hard for them at times, but they have one another. Thank you for giving me my son.
Dad: It was all worth it, baby, it was all worth it. (After a pause) Happy Mother's Day, Sweetheart.
Camera stays on mother's face and slowly fades to black.
*This line appears in the novel, The Long Bridge Runner, by David Rojay and is under that copyright.
____________________________________________________________________________________ Be sure to watch David Rojay on The Dave Rojay Show each Saturday night at 9:30 on Channel 17. Read A RED STATE HERO and THE LONG BRIDGE RUNNER by David Rojay on capecodtoday.com and finally check out David Rojay on YOUTUBE. For more information, Google "David Rojay".
Be sure to watch David Rojay on The Dave Rojay Show each Saturday night at 9:30 on Channel 17. Read A RED STATE HERO and THE LONG BRIDGE RUNNER by David Rojay on capecodtoday.com and finally check out David Rojay on YOUTUBE. For more information, Google "David Rojay".