Ernie and Jerry make their way to Washington DC, where they are headquartered, and where they keep a home. But, before they make their way home, they stop in a city park for lunch. Forgetting how much a celebrity his column has made him, Ernie gets uncomfortable when people start to recognize him. He escapes on foot, leaving Jerry with the car, and a thermos filled with rum. What could go wrong?
Finally back on the road, Ernie and Jerry stop into a favorite haunt for the night. However, it is in Ohio. Ohio is home to five newspapers in the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain, Ernie's employer, and whenever he sets foot in Ohio they harass him for stories about their cities. It is all Ernie and Jerry can do to stay incognito until they get out of Ohio. A drink and a room, that's all they ask!
In his quest to round out 'the Dana series' of columns, Ernie targets his favorite Aunt Mary. In so doing, he seeks out Jerry's help. However, Jerry may not be in the best state of mind as she has been holed up in his childhood bedroom contemplating the depths of a bourbon bottle. Not understanding how many sheets-to-the-wind Jerry has on her laundry line, Ernie insists she open the recorder on Aunt Mary.
Ernie discovers that his father drove his car through the front plate-glass window of the Dana dry-goods store. In a quest to get to the bottom of it, he realizes he must ask the most difficult question of his father, and himself: who is going to care for his folks in their twilight years?
After putting some very fine stories through his typewriter during his visit home in Dana. Jerry prompts Ernie to turn them into a series about his hometown. She convinces him to use the recording device to see if he can muster up some stories about what the neighbors think about his mother. Sure, he knows more about his mother than all of them put together, but what could it hurt?
Ernie's parents are enjoying Ernie and Jerry's visit home, but his mother just can't seem to accept what her son has become; a city-living work-a-holic. She understands he must make his own way in the world, but she would much rather he do it closer to her, in Dana, Indiana. And she is beginning to think she may be ultimately responsible for how her young boy turned out.
A quick trip to Ernie's hometown of Dana, Indiana, to visit his folks, results in a disgruntled Jerry. She has grown accustomed to living a certain way on the road that may invite judgment from an in-law, or two. In the balance is Ernie. He likes the road life too, but the pull homeward proves as mysterious as a Midwest wind storm.
As pressure mounts from the home office, Ernie is forced to use a voice recorder for his work in interviewing the people of America. Though he resists the boss's ideas, he and his wife Jerry find a different use for it; recording themselves.