- “A nice funeral is a sort of thank-you” (Chpt. 8, p. 44)
Granny Blakeslee tells this to Grandpa, who does not care for funerals. He accordingly gives her a nice funeral to thank her for being a good wife.
- “Livin’ is like pourin’ water out of a tumbler into a dang Coca-Cola bottle. If’n you skeered you cain’t do it” (Chapt. 8, p. 48).
Grandpa Blakeslee says this to Will Tweedy while they look into Granny’s newly dug grave. He explains the challenge of living, but one cannot be afraid to face what may come.
- “In Cold Sassy, nobody under forty had ever made or waved an American flag” (Chpt. 10, p. 61).
This describes the continuing feud the Southerners feel against the Northerners after the Civil War. Only people who had lived before the war had ever waved the American flag. The Confederate flag is still flown in Cold Sassy in 1906.
- “ I can forgive a fool, but I ain’t inner-rested in coddlin’ hypocrites” (Chpt. 16, p. 99).
Grandpa says this to Will Tweedy after his train accident. Will gets unusual answers to his religious questions from Grandpa, who cannot abide regular churchgoers with their dogmatic ideas. He sees most Christians as hypocrites.
- “Reading King Arthur is what made me an old maid, Will. I kept holding out for a hero, a knight in shining armor” (Chpt. 20, p. 134).
Love Simpson explains to Will why she hasn’t married. She comes to regard Grandpa as that knight eventually.
- “Like an actor whose audience has stood up to clap, I didn’t want to quit. And now I knew what bait to use” ( Chpt. 26, p. 174
Will is a creative teller of tall tales. On the camping trip he entertains the other boys with ghost stories about his ancestors, scaring them with the fact that the wagon they are sitting in has been a hearse to haul dead bodies.
- “I preached bout the Virgin Birth. To my thinkin’, the birth ain’t the dang miracle. Hit’s the fact thet a boy like Jesus was born to a mama who could leave Him be” (Chpt. 27, p. 188).
Grandpa tells Will about his home church with Miss Love. She has been thrown out of the Methodist church, so Grandpa has his own service and preaches his version of Christianity.
- “ Long as she cooks good and ain’t aggravatin’, I don’t really care what she calls herself” (Chpt. 28, p. 194).
This is Grandpa’s reply to the scandalized store customers who hear Love say she will not use Grandpa’s name after marriage. She will remain Love Simpson. Love is a suffragette and very independent. Grandpa tends not to get upset about social or religious details.
- “Now I knew why Miss Love couldn’t stop Mr. McAlister when he was kissing her, despite how bad she hated him. She had lost her senses. Well, I’d lost mine too, and I wanted to stay that way” (Chpt. 36, p. 247).
Will had seen Love kiss back a man she said she hated, and when Will kisses Lightfoot McLendon, he understands that kissing is not rational.
- “ . . . faith ain’t no magic wand or money-back gar’ntee, either one. Hit’s jest a way a-livin’. Hit means you don’t worry th’ew the days” (Chpt.48, p. 363).
Grandpa preaches to Love on his deathbed, and Will, overhearing it, writes it in his journal.
Cold Sassy Tree: Top Ten Quotes