Things are about to get crazy because it's the summer of 1775, and the war is officially in full swing. There have been battles at Bunker Hill and Fort Ticonderoga.
Wait, hold on just a second. According to Tim, the war isn't really changing much in his life. He even calls things "normal" (3.1). These battles may be going on, but they aren't happening inside Redding. This means that so far, not much has changed for Tim, except that everyone talks about the war all the time.
Well, there is one big change: Sam is gone. But no one in the family talks about Sam. Out of sight, out of mind.
So these days Tim spends lots of time doing his chores around the tavern. He tends to the livestock and keeps the place clean. Sometimes he gets to hear stories from people who have gone on trips to bigger cities and come back with interesting tales.
And then there are times when Betsy Read visits the shop (remember, the tavern also operates as a shop for Tim's multitasking family). She's always trying to eavesdrop on Tory conversations, but Tim's mom is always scolding her to not be idle.
One day, Betsy comes into the store and gives Tim a signal to meet her outside.
Once they're away from prying eyes, Betsy asks Tim what he'd do if Sam came to town for a visit. Will Tim tell his father? Or will he keep his mouth shut?
Tim is getting pretty tired of these tough decisions. He hasn't even made his mind up yet about which side of the war he supports. But he does know that he loves his brother so he says that if Sam comes to visit, he won't tell Father.
Now that he's promised to keep Sam's secret, Tim figures Betsy is going to tell him when Sam is coming back. But sadly for Tim, all Betsy knows is that he's coming "soon" (3.26).
Poor Tim has to wait for months to see his brother again. He keeps hoping Betsy will give him a sign that Sam is back, but time passes and eventually it's winter and snowing outside.
Then one day, Betsy comes into the store and gives Tim a sign: "I noticed that she was nodding her head slowly up and down. Sam was back" (3.38). Phew.