Cold Sassy Tree: Chapters 36-37

Chapters 36-37 Summary

Now Will understands why Miss Love couldn’t stop kissing Mr. McAlister, after he kisses Lightfoot. He is afraid of the gossip and decides to do as Miss Love did; he tells his folks before they hear about it. He gets a whipping. He worries that Lightfoot will think he doesn’t respect her.
When Grandpa and Love return from New York after two weeks, feelings are smoother, and Mary Willis invites the newlyweds to dinner. Mary Willis refuses to let Love clear the dishes from the table, however, a sign she is not in the family. Grandpa and Love hand out their presents. Grandpa gives a sexy dress to Loma that she cannot wear because of mourning, but Love promises to make her a black hat.
Although Will has been grounded for two months, he gets permission to drive Grandpa and Love home in the Cadillac. They have secretly ordered a car for themselves in New York, and Grandpa has signed up for a car dealership. He lets Will in on their new marketing plans and wants Will to give free driving lessons every weekend. Will feels a sense of glory.
Chapters 36-37 Commentary
Will now understands why Love doesn’t want people to gossip about her. His friends Pink and Smiley would only make his kissing Lightfoot something “dirty” (p. 248). When he tells on himself, it saves his pride. He gets all kinds of advice from the men in town about sowing wild oats—not getting caught next time or avoiding Mill Town girls.
Mary Willis makes a few friendly overtures to Love, but she has tried to erase Grandpa’s marriage from the family Bible, showing she does not really accept it. Aunt Carrie brings out embarrassing details during the family dinner, such as, that Grandpa and Love went to musicals in New York and that Grandpa paid a man to dance with Love at a dance hall.
Will notes the shock of his parents at the talk of Aunt Carrie and Grandpa, but the lesson he learns is that why shouldn’t you do things that make you happy if you don’t hurt anyone, including holding a lonely mill girl? Will sees Grandpa wink at Love and feels there is something new between them. She rumples his hair and acts familiar with Grandpa. Will worries about the growing intimacy. What if they have a boy who replaces him as Grandpa’s boy?