and Tess are driving through North Carolina in search of their next
assignment when they get pulled over by a traffic cop and hauled
into court. The presiding Judge turns out to be Andrew, who shows no
special treatment and sentences them to "community
assigns them to assist two members of the community whose feud
(dating back forty years) has become a nuisance to the court, in the
hopes that the extra assistance will enable them to work out their
differences out of court. Tess
assists Pastor Robert Harrigan who is preparing for the arrival of
his twelve-year-old grand-nephew, Brian.
Meanwhile, Monica assists Harrigan's neighbor and chief
nemesis, Dr. Lucy Scribner, who submits a written critique of his
weekly sermon. Monica
and Tess ultimately realize the purpose of their assignment has more
to do with Brian than the two feuding adults.
Lucy strikes a rapport with Brian and explains the reason she
became a doctor had to do with her having polio as a child.
She was told by doctors that she would never walk again.
Tess proceeds to tell Monica the story behind Robert and
Lucy's feud which began as a tale of teen romance.
But when Robert told his parents of his plans to marry Lucy,
they objected, fearful that polio was somehow contagious.
Robert's parents saw to it that their marriage plans were
thwarted and sent him away to live with relatives, leaving Lucy with
a broken heart. In time, a vaccine was developed and Lucy went on to medical
school. Meanwhile, back
in the present, Lucy and Robert square off on opposite sides of a
local issue over the placement of a stop sign at a busy
intersection. Lucy is vehemently opposed to the stop sign which she feels
would open the floodgates to developers and would encroach on their
city's small town charm. Lucy
and Robert go at it, using the public forum as a means to vent their
personal agenda until Brian finally cries out against these two
adults behaving like children.
He then runs off and is struck by a car at the very
intersection they've been debating.
At the hospital, Robert and Lucy learn that Brian suffered
damage to his spinal cord and will be paralyzed from the waist down.
Lucy starts to feel hopeless, but Monica reminds Lucy how she
proved the doctors wrong when they told her she would never walk
again. Lucy goes on the
internet and locates a new drug that could reverse the effects of
paralysis -- with the caveat that it be administered within 72 hours
of the injury. Unable
to convince Robert and the attending physician that this is Brian's
best option, Lucy goes to Judge Andrew to obtain a court order
granting her permission to go over Robert's head to administer the
drug, but Andrew denies the request.
With time running out, Tess finds a way to get through to
Robert by showing him how his feud with Lucy flies in the face of
the very gospel he preaches, reminding him of the Biblical passage
of coming to the altar having been reconciled to those you have
wronged. With moments
to spare, Monica and Tess act as referees, showing them how their
feud is holding a little boy hostage and how this grudge grew out of
silence and lack of communication.
With the key to the past finally unlocked, Robert and Lucy
make their peace in time to administer the drug -- and begin to heal
the wounds of the past.