Shaking the Sugar Tree (Sugar Tree #1)

Bad weather’s moving in,” the old bird said, finally handing me a check.

Never seen so many tornadoes in my life.

We don’t need no more of those,” I agreed. “Last time one went through, the wind blew so hard I had to have my butt cheeks sewn back together.

Better feed him more beans or you’re going to have a midget on your hands, Wiley,” he said. “It’s bad enough to be deaf, but to be a deaf midget… oh God, help us. I had a dog like that once.

But I don't just want you to get into my pants," he said. " I want you to get into my life.

By the way,” he said. “You know that little black thing that you carry around? It rings and beeps and stuff?” “My phone?” “Try using it.

Can you do me a favor?” he asked. “What’s that?” “Shut up and kiss me like you mean it.” So I did.

Don’t swear in front of my kids, Papaw,” Bill said hotly. “Daddy, hush,” Mama said. “I’ll swear anytime I goddamn want to, Billy Cantrell,” Papaw replied. “You Christians are so uptight. Every time you sit down, I hold my breath because I’m afraid you’ll suck the whole goddamn world up your asses.” “Daddy!” Mama cried. “It’s true, Martha. You should know. There’s a hole in the sofa where you’re always sitting. Probably got half the living room swirling around in your rectum. Billy’s probably got half of Tupelo up his ass. Next time something comes up missing, Shelly, just tell him to bend over and take a look in his ass because that’s probably where it is.

Every time a woman has a period, it’s a spontaneous abortion because the egg didn’t take,” I said, undeterred. “Are we going to start having a funeral for every used tampon?

For an immature little preppy guy, you're pretty smart."
"An immature little preppy guy?" he repeated in an outraged tone of voice.
"You look like someone who would need a note from his mother to get out of gym class," I said.
"Life is full of surprises," he admitted.
"When you see the heat I'm packing, all this talk about imatture and little will go straight out of the window."
"Is that a promise?"
"You'll be crying for your mama.

God, fate, the universe, luck - we had been thrown together in this thing we call life for reasons we might never be able to fathom.

Hail Mary, full of grace,” Papaw
said, “please tell Billy to shut his
face.”
“I intend to speak my mind,” Bill
said.
“Oh, Christians,” Papaw said
with a heavy sigh. “Always got to
speak their fucking minds like we
haven’t heard it all a million times
already. They think the sun rises just to
hear them crow. What a bunch of
Christless bastards.

I always tell Noah to behave or I’ll sell him on eBay. You’ve got to have some way to keep these little buggers in line or they’ll just walk all over you. It’s a nightmare. Honestly. All the livelong day. Daddy, I want this. Daddy, I want that. Daddy, daddy, daddy! Gimme gimme gimme! I’m like, honest to almighty Christ and sweet and sunny jumped-up Jesus, if you don’t shut up, it’s back to the basement and the duct tape and the handcuffs again and I’m not joking. Now get me a beer, you frikkin’ munchkin!

I don’t think I want to visit your house anymore.” “Sometimes neither do I.” “And your grandfather….” “Leave my Papaw alone.” “He’s crazy.” “We don’t hide crazy,” I said. “We put it on the porch and let it entertain the neighbors.

Do you love me a lot? he asked.
I nodded.
As big as a house? he asked.
Bigger.
The grocery store?
Bigger.
The mall?
Bigger.
The sky?
Bigger.
Bigger than anything.
There isn't anything in this world bigger,
I assured him.

If you love Southern men, raise your glass. If you don't raise your standards.

I knew you’d say yes. You’re so easy.” “You’ve obviously never tried to get into my pants.

I'll wipe that smile off your face," he vowed.
"And how do you plan to do that?"
"Put the kid to bed and I'll show you.

It reminds me of the difference between a Northern fairy tale and a Southern fairy tale."
"What's that?" he asked.
"In a Northern fairy tale, you start off by saying: 'Once upon a time' and all that. In the South, we start off by saying:'Y'all ain't going to believe this shit!

It’s good,” Jackson said. “You’re just saying that,” I replied. “No, really, it’s good. A little greasy….” “The grease is part of the charm,” I pointed out. “Said the heart attack to the clogged arteries.” “You’re in the South now, boy. Grease is one of the four main food groups.

It was a love story about a father and a son. The rest was window dressing. As a love story between a parent and a child, it was universal. Didn't matter that I was gay, that he was deaf, that we didn't fit in, that we were each outcasts in our own way

I WOKE the next morning with a silly smile on my face. Like Donna Fargo, I was the "Happiest Girl in the Whole U.S.A." even though I was still "Sleeping Single in a Double Bed.

Kids are always hanging on your tits,” I added. “By the time they grow up, you’ve got tits down to your knees and curvature of the spine.

Oh, sorry, I’m thinking about Cousin Mary. Talk about a dog. That girl was so ugly we had to put a bag over her head when we went to town so we wouldn’t get arrested for public indecency.

Please, sweetie darling honey baby, you hunk of a man, you?” “When you put it that way….

She thought the best way to feed her child was to use a slingshot. - Wiley Cantrell

The Lord gave you a backbone because He wanted you to use it. So use it.

This is the South and we have our own ways of doing things down here. We're not going to sit back in silence while people like Wiley ram their homosexuality down our throats."

"God knows I ain't about to put my homosexuality in your mouth, Billy," I said.

We don’t hide crazy,” I said. “We put it on the porch and let it entertain the neighbors.

What do you do for fun in this town?

Well, you know. Wash dishes. Wipe up baby drool, put a new quart of oil in him once in a while. Watch the Weather Channel to see if any of the neighbors have been blown away by a tornado. Eat too much cheese and get cheese farts.

Keeps you busy, huh?

What he lacked in experience, he made up for in enthusiasm and the sweetness of innocence.

You’re not so bad-looking yourself. A bit too clean, like a metrosexual fella. Probably got a bunch of antiaging cream in your bathroom or something, but you in Dixie now, boy. You walk around looking pretty and these Southern girls will scratch your eyes out because they’re afraid you’ll tempt their husbands into committing horrible, unnatural sins.” “I should hope so.” “It’s the least you could