Grandpa continues his home church and next asks Queenie’s husband Loomis to preach. This is really stepping out of bounds to have a black preacher, though Loomis is good at it.
Hoyt Tweedy decides to surprise the family and the town by buying the first automobile in Cold Sassy, a Cadillac. He does this to save face for Mary Willis, since her father stole her trip to New York. It is the hit of the day and keeps the peace in the family for the time being, since Love and Mary Willis are somehow even. Will helps his father take people out for a ride. They are the envy of the town.
Will takes Grandpa and Love and their suitcases to the station to see them off to New York. He gets the Toy Family Bible from Grandpa’s and gives it to his mother, hoping she won’t see that Miss Love wrote her marriage in it.
Will gets in on the popularity of the new car, as he and his father are the only ones who know how to drive. Meanwhile, everyone in town is getting a postcard from New York from Love Simpson, who tells each person she is buying something for the store, especially suited for their needs. Grandpa is tickled at this marketing ploy, and it works. Everyone is waiting for the train from New York with the specially ordered items.
Will is driving the Cadillac one day when he sees Lightfoot McLendon walking. He gives her a ride. He sees she now looks haggard like the other mill workers. He parks in the cemetery and when she starts crying about her father’s death, he tries to comfort her and ends up kissing her. Just then a townswoman, Miss Alice Ann, catches them, and Lightfoot runs off.
Chapters 33-35 Commentary
Grandpa is very liberal in some matters, such as liking to hear a black preacher. The town people think he is just making fun of church with such a gesture, and even Loomis objects. Grandpa, however, likes genuine religion and respects Loomis. It is Loomis he requests for his own funeral sermon.
The incident in the graveyard with Lightfoot gives a contrast of the lives of the mill owners, the Sheffields, and the mill hands, like Lightfoot and her family. Her father died from lung disease from working in the factory and inhaling the fibers, and now Lightfoot herself is not looking healthy. She tries to tell Will that Hosie Roach is a nice boy and very smart, but Will doesn’t pay attention. He is only mad at being caught kissing a Mill Town girl.
Grandpa is delighted with Love’s marketing ideas, such as sending personal postcards with ideas for customer purchases. She will help to modernize the store, as the purchase of the Cadillac opens up Cold Sassy to the trends of the twentieth century.