Chapter 12-14 Summary
Will stretches out on the train trestle to watch the water below. His dog T. R. won’t follow him and is whining as if he hears a train, but Will knows it is not time for the train. Laying his ear on the track, however, he feels it coming. When he gets up to run for it, his fishing pole gets caught in the tracks. He can’t leave it that way because it would derail the train. He sees he can’t make it off the trestle in time. The engineer sees him and blows his whistle. Will falls flat between the tracks as the train roars over him, deafening and burning him with hot cinders. The train stops a few feet ahead. He hears Lightfoot’s voice as she runs over the trestle to help him. T. R. licks his face.
Lightfoot helps him to crawl over the trestle while the people from the stopped train watch and cheer. They hear another train coming behind, so the people and Lightfoot and Will get on the train, but the dog is terrified and won’t move. Big Loomis, the black husband of Queenie, the cook in Will’s house, goes out to get the dog and saves him. The two trains avoid a collision, and at the station, Will gets off to cheers. He has become a hero for surviving a train running over him.
Lightfoot is worried because she left a full bucket of blackberries to help Will. She is crying and Will knows it was the family’s dinner. He promises to go berrying with her tomorrow to replace the berries. Will feels sick from the adventure but more worried that he will get a whipping from his father. At home, however, his family is so happy he is alive that he is fussed over instead. Half the town shows up to congratulate him and hear the story. Will does not go berrying with Lightfoot the next day.
Chapters 12-14 Commentary
The story is bizarre, like all the weird tales that are told in Cold Sassy, only this time, Will is living the story. He likes the attention but feels guilty about not helping Lightfoot as he said he would. The incident also shows the character of a small town where everyone pulls together in a crisis, though the rest of the time they gossip about one another.
Will is the town celebrity, and he likes being fussed over instead of getting a whipping, but he wishes his Grandpa would come. He never feels complete until he has told things to him. Grandpa, however, is having his wedding supper with Miss Love in the hotel.