Chapters 25-26 Summary
Will chats with Lias Foster, the mailman, about Grandpa’s marriage, and they swap stories of disastrous marriages, including Lias’s own. Will tells him that Grandpa wants to give him an interest in the store when he grows up, but he wants to be a farmer. His father will buy the Tweedy farm for him.
The camping trip had been Bluford Jackson’s idea, but he died, and so now Will goes with other friends—Pink, Lee Roy, Smiley, and Dunson. They go in Grandpa Tweedy’s big wagon that is also used as a hearse in the community.
The camping trip to the mountains is fun to begin with as the boys joke and cut up on the way there. They have baskets of food from their mothers, which two black bears promptly devour, leaving them to have to hunt and eat blackberries. The shotgun shells are left in the rain, and the boys scare themselves telling ghost stories in the hearse wagon. They cut the trip short.
On the way back, Will makes up two stories about his Aunt Loma to get even with her. They are slightly smutty. The first is that Loma nursed a pig to keep her milk going for the baby. The second is that she used rubber blow-up breasts on her wedding day, but Will poked a hole in one so it slowly leaked during the ceremony. The boys only half believe the stories, but they are so good, they don’t care.
Chapters 25-26 Summary
These chapters introduce us to more eccentric Dickensian characters, including Will’s other grandfather, Mr. Tweedy. Tweedy is a farmer but lazy, and the farm is rundown. This is the family farm Hoyt says he will buy for his son Will to run. Grandpa Tweedy’s third wife, Mrs. Jones, discusses how there is no room for her in the family cemetery since the first two wives will be on either side of Tweedy. She claims she will be buried sitting up in a rocking chair with a chocolate cake in her lap.
The plot often seems secondary to the opportunity the bizarre characters afford for wild digressions and local lore. On the camping trip, we see Will’s role as storyteller, telling ghost stories about his ancestors, and then the dirty stories he makes up about Aunt Loma. His imagination backfires on him when he has a dream of his dead friend, Blu. In the dream, Blu accuses Will of being responsible for his death, since it was his firecrackers they were playing with when Blu had the accident. Later Will tells Grandpa about the dream. Will says Blu didn’t seem to realize he was dead. Grandpa wisely remarks that it is Will who doesn’t believe Blu is dead. Will knows the camping trip was a dud because Blu wasn’t there.
The story about Loma’s wedding is important. It seems funny here but tragic later. She marries Camp, the son of a poor tenant farmer. He disappoints her on the honeymoon. He is out of his element with Loma, and it will catch up with him.