At this point in Sal's story, Gram, Gramps, and Sal have just crossed the border into Idaho. Gramps decides to push onto Coeur d'Alene where they can stay the night.
Tomorrow, August 20th, is Sal's mom's birthday, which means they are making good time. From Coeur d'Alene it's an easy drive to Lewiston, where Sal's mom is.
Gram doesn't look too good, though. Worried, Gramps and Sal try to figure out how she is feeling, but Gram just tells them she wants to push on to Coeur d'Alene. Her breathing is raspy and she looks kind of sick.
Sal finishes telling Phoebe's story. So she and Phoebe discover that Mrs. Partridge has been leaving the secret messages on the Winterbottom doorstep all along: "'I thought they were grandiful surprises for you—like fortune cookies, only I didn't have any cookies to put them in'" (40.21).
A very angry Phoebe decides to spit in the street. Sal joins her. It feels really good to spit, like a satisfying little rebellion. Maybe we should all take a spitting break right now. (Just make sure there's no one around first.)
And we're back.
After spitting with Phoebe, Sal feels courageous. She visits Mrs. Cadaver and talks to her for a long time. She learns all about how Mrs. Cadaver met her father. We readers don't get to hear this story, but we do know that Sal cries quite a bit when she hears it, and it helps her finally understand why her father likes to hang out with Mrs. Cadaver.
When she gets back home, Sal finds Ben waiting for her. He has brought her a present: a chicken named Blackberry. They kiss (Ben and Sal – not the chicken). Best present ever!
This concludes Sal's story of Phoebe.
Gram is starting to really look pale now, and her breathing is really raspy, so Gramps steps on it. They need to get to Coeur d'Alene, and fast.