It's time to go to market in Strawberry, and Big Ma takes T.J., Stacey, and Cassie with her. It's the first time Cassie has been allowed to go. Exciting!
Big Ma has to take T.J. with her, since Mr. Avery asked if she would take T.J. to pick up some items in Strawberry that they couldn't get at the Wallace store.
And now the reason why Cassie is allowed to go becomes clear: Big Ma doesn't want to ride for twenty-two miles listening to T.J.'s unceasing chatter.
Strawberry is nothing like what Cassie imagines. It's a small, run-down, muddy town.
When they arrive at the marketplace, Big Ma pulls the wagon all the way to the back.
Cassie can't figure out why they have to go all the way to the back when they'd obviously get more business right up front. Well, duh: "Them's white folks' wagons" (5.17).
After the market ends, Big Ma has an appointment with Mr. Wade Jamison. We find out that Cassie respects him: he is the only white man who calls Mama and Big Ma by "Missus" (5.25). Plus, he's kind of like Papa.
T.J. asks Cassie and Stacey to go with him to the mercantile. This is a fancy way of saying "country store."
Stacey doesn't think this is a very good idea, since Big Ma wanted to go with them, but the kids do so anyway.
We're starting to get the sense than anything T.J. suggests is a bad idea.
In the store, T.J. admires a pearl-handled gun. No one would mess with him if he had that gun.
T.J. gives his list of items to Mr. Barnett, the store owner. It does not include a pearl-handled gun.
In the middle of filling T.J.'s order, a white woman comes in. Mr. Barnett stops filling T.J.'s order to help her.
Cassie objects to this, and Stacey tells her to be quiet.
After helping the white woman, Mr. Barnett returns to T.J.'s order. This time, he gets interrupted by a little white girl buying pork chops.
Cassie gets really mad (and really, who could blame her?), and thinks it's just completely ridiculous for Mr. Barnett to help another child before T.J. She can understand him helping an adult first, but not a child.
Cassie decides to intervene, and tells Mr. Barnett that T.J. was waiting and he was in line first.
Mr. Barnett is not cool with this, and yells out for Cassie's mother. Well, he says this in much more demeaning terms: "Whose little nigger is this?" (5.62).
Cassie bites back, letting him know that the situation is unfair.
Mr. Barnett makes Stacey take Cassie out of the store.
After they leave the store, Cassie runs into Lillian Jean Simms. No, really: she literally runs into her.
Cassie refuses to apologize for this, and Mr. Simms basically makes her (after grabbing her hard by the arm).
Big Ma comes onto the scene, and makes Cassie apologize.
Guess that trip to Strawberry wasn't so much fun, after all.