An Encounter with Mrs. Hooper
Whit takes his Sunday school class to visit the elderly at the Odyssey Retirement Home. Once there, Donna Barclay ends up assigned to the meanest, cruelest senior in the facility, Mrs. Mary Hooper. The only thing Mrs. Hooper cares about are her plants. When she first meets Donna, Mrs. Hooper treats her so badly that Donna runs from the room, vowing to never return.
The next day, Whit convinces Donna to visit again and take Mrs. Hooper a mixture Whit has concocted for the woman's flowers. Donna reluctantly goes back, and this time she manages to break down a little bit of Mary's wall, thanks to Donna's knowledge of flowers.
During the next week, Donna visits Mary frequently, and the two become good friends. Donna even helps Mary with her physical therapy. Mary reveals that she was so devastated when her husband died, she withdrew from life. But she wants no pity, and she refuses to cry over her loss.
Donna decides to try and tear down the wall completely. She enlists Whit's aid to find Mary's daughter. However, on Donna's next visit, she finds Mary back to her former hardness, yelling, and ranting. After a great deal of prodding, Mary finally admits that today is her birthday. For the first time since her husband died, she wants to have someone say "Happy Birthday" to her. So Donna opens the door and delivers the best present Mary could ask for: her daughter. Finally, the tears come. The wall completely dissolves. Mary Hooper has a happy birthday, and Donna learns that just because people act a certain way on the outside doesn't mean they're always that way on the inside.
- How did Donna finally become friends with Mrs. Hooper?
- Have you ever talked with a senior citizen who isn’t related to you?
- Why is it important to befriend elderly people?
- How can you learn to get beyond people’s outsides?
- Why should Christians look first at people’s hearts?
- How can you do the same?
Heard in episode
Mentioned in episode
|Rachael Woodworth||Richard Maxwell|
|Karen Crosby||Donna Barclay|
- This is the only Donna-centric episode in the entire series, with Donna serving as the protagonist of the story without any of her family being present or even mentioned.
- This episode introduces Richard Maxwell, a key figure in the Blackgaard saga and fan favorite.
- Richard Maxwell mentions that he has a younger sister named Rachael, who is probably the same Rachael who appeared in #65: “Bad Company”. This suggests that Richard and Rachael hail from a broken or composite family.
- This episode was originally included in Album 06: Mission: Accomplished. This messed up the continuity, and so it was placed in Album 05: Daring Deeds, Sinister Schemes for the Gold Audio series.
- Based on her conversation with Mrs. Hooper about Karen Crosby, Donna seems to be dealing well with Karen's death at this point. This contradicts what he learn later about Donna's refusal to deal with her loss in #95: “The Very Best of Friends”, as well as what we heard just a few episodes earlier in #65: “Bad Company” suggesting that Donna had been changing recently.
- AIO Update: Read