Grandma is excited to host Mary-Ellen’s “quilting,” a centuries-old tradition in which the townswomen come together to embroider a square for a quilt, given to a young woman when she is of marrying age. Mary Ellen, eager to begin nursing school with no thoughts of marriage or starting a family, hates the custom, and wants no part of it. Grandma won’t give in, and now Olivia is resentful of Grandma’s interference in raising her daughter. John-Boy comes in as the peacemaker, and convinces Mary-Ellen to join the celebration as an act of love, not obligation.
First spat between Grandma and Olivia highlights this interesting offering dealing with the divide between custom and modern attitudes. Mary-Ellen proto-feminist that she is, certainly comes off looking sensible by today’s (and mid-70s) standards, but her compromise in the name of love and family unity is truly what the show is all about. Subplot involving the menfolk’s soiree at Ike’s during the quilting is fun, but moonshine lovers will be pained at the revelation that the sister’s recipe is accidentally used for turpentine!