In a tirade which would have made Julia Sugarbaker (of Designing Women fame) very proud, Shelby Whitehead Harper gives a pair of racist siblings a true Harper dressing down in this powerful episode of Harpers Falls.
It was a new morning in Harpers Falls, and the mood was very somber. A group of people were looking at the front lawn of Stacey Marshall's home on Attleboro Avenue. There was a patch of yard that was burned. The night previous some nasty people came into town and burned a cross on the lawn.
Suzanne Prentiss was looking at the burned ground. "I never thought that would ever happen here in this town," she said.
"Me neither," Vanessa, her sister, said, as she put her arm around her.
"Even I am scared," Megan, their other sister, said, "that was really vile."
Shelby Harper looked at her son, who looked absolutely sickened by what had happened. It killed her to see her child, wincing in pain and horror. Racism had never really been an issue in Harpers Falls, but then again, it never had been.
"The thing is, Aunt Shelby," Anyssa Forson had said, "I've never even checked out any of these loons, and what they had done."
Just then, her phone rang, it was Susannah. "Hi Susie," Anyssa said, her voice choked, with tears.
"Nyssa," she said gently, "what is wrong? I got your message, and Mom told me something was wrong."
"Oh, believe me," Anyssa said, her eyes full of tears, "it couldn't get any worse." She then proceeded to tell her friend what had happened.
"My goodness," Susannah said, "that is terrible."
Meanwhile, everyone gathered at the Harper Mansion, Velda Smithfield was astonished that everyone was there.
"Mrs. Harper?" Velda asked, "What is going on here?"
"I'm sorry, Velda," she said, "I am getting ready for having some people come in, and I would want you to be in on this."
"Of course, ma'am," Velda said, "where's Anyssa?"
"She's in her room with Bryan," Shelby said, "I am having all the families here in the main dining room, I want as many of them seated comfortably, all right?"
"Of course, Ma'am," Velda said, "you want met to have Laurel and Arielle help me too?"
The families were seated. The new family, the Marshalls were seated in the raised platform. The Monroes; Watkinses; Merciers; Schulders; Corwins, and the other members of the community in the Harpers circle, was sitting there as well.
Dylan's face was stone cold, as he saw the two people who were coming in.
"Are you Janet and Christopher Helgerson?" he said coldly.
"Who wants to know?" Chris laughed.
"Don't you dare mock me," Dylan said angrily, "I want you two morons, for want of a better term, one that is far more VULGAR, to follow me!"
He led the dumbfounded brother and sister into the main dining room of the Harper mansion.
They saw the entire community sitting on a raised dais, and they were shocked to see Shelby Harper glaring at them, in a harsh look. She looked almost regal, as befitted the wife of the town's foremost citizen.
"My son told me about what you two did to their neighbors!" she said in a very angry voice, "I have to admit I am very disgusted with what you two cretins and the miserable fools who accompanied you did to the Marshall family!!"
"Don't you think we are entitled to do what we felt was right?" Chris demanded.
"SHUT UP!" Shelby exploded, "WHAT YOU CLOWNS DID WASN'T BRAVE, WASN'T GOOD; AND MOST OF ALL, WAS THE ACT OF A COWARD!"
"You listen to me, you stupid bitch!" Janet shot back at her, "Anyone who is anyone in this town would have done the same thing!"
"How dare you even PRESUME to think that?!" Shelby raged, "I will have you know that this town was founded by my husband's family, and they were NOT racists!!"
"We are standing up for your skin color!" Janet shrieked.
"You do NOT speak for me, or anyone in my family!" Audrey Monroe said coldly.
"Same with me and my family," Angela Mercier said angrily.
"Nor my family," Victoria Jensen said acidly.
"Or MINE!" Patricia Wheeler said in a fury.
"You people need to see what the wonderfulness of racism is!" Chris screamed.
"YOU SHUT UP!" Dylan exploded, "LET MY MOTHER SPEAK!"
"I have never thought I would live to see the day I would say something like this to anyone," Shelby said in a rare fury, "but you two are perhaps the most evil people I have ever met. Not even Molly Wainwright would have pulled the despicable act that you and your cronies pulled! I am going to set it to you two morons straight! You are going to apologize to the Marshall family for the crime you pulled, or I am going to have Anne Hamilton personally arrest the both of you and your accomplices for the cross burning you pulled last night."
Janet sniffed, "Why should WE have to apologize for ANYTHING we did?!"" she spat, "We're PROUD of what we did! VERY proud of what we did!"
"Take them away from here, Ms. Hamilton," Shelby said, "I have had my say towards those two people!"
"You will be sorry you did that!" Chris said, "We will get even with you!"
"You DARE to say that to my mother?!" Dylan spat angrily at the two arrogant racists, fury etched on his face, "You two are beyond contempt! We don't have any liking for your kind. You don't speak for me, and you don't speak for my family, or my friends or ANYONE in this town. The Marshall family are my friends and my neighbors, and I will NOT allow you to terrorize them. If you EVER try this stunt again, I promise you, I will stop at nothing until you and your lot are eradicated and removed from this town! And don't think I can't do it, either!"
Anne led the despicable duo out of the dining room. "I am so sorry for what they did to you, Mrs. Marshall," she said, "to you and your family, the way these two did that is NOT the way Harpers Falls plays."
Janet and Chris looked disgusted as the families helped the Marshalls and welcomed them into their lives.
"YOU WILL ALL BURN FOR THIS!" Chris screamed, "I DENOUNCE ALL OF YOU!"
Shelia glared at the two racists. "No," she said angrily, "WE are the ones who DENOUNCE YOU!!"
The two racists looked sickened and were marched out by Anne.
"I thank you for what you said, Shelby," Stacey Marshall said, "I mean it."
"I meant every word," Shelby said, "you are as much family here as we are. Those two won't ever do that to you again!"
"They will be back," Stacey said realistically, "you know they will."
"I know," Shelby said, "but this will allow you some healing."
The families surrounded the Marshalls and they felt a part of the family.
Michelle Stafford: "Racism isn't smart, it isn't cool, it's pure and unadulterated hatred towards anyone who doesn't fit the norm. Teach your children not to hate, it's the best way to show them you love them."