Andy gathers together some reports for county clerk Howard Sprague and, while in Howard's office, meets a newcomer to Mayberry, Irene Fairchild, the county health officer. Later that evening, Helen suggests to Andy that he invite Howard and Irene to share a dinner date with them. Howard accepts but just before leaving home his mother makes a point of having a headache in order to ruin any fun Howard might have on his date. The four diners enjoy their meal but are forced to leave early when Howard phones home to discover his mother's condition is worsening. The next day, Helen suggests to Andy that he have a talk with Mrs. Sprague in an attempt to loosen Howard from his mother's apron strings. Andy agrees reluctantly, and, at the Sprague home, tells Mrs. Sprague she should get out, do things, and have a social life of her own. Mrs. Sprague agrees. She goes to dinner with the four friends and monopolizes Andy's time on the dance floor.