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The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963


by Christopher Paul Curtis

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 Chapter 10 Summary

Tangled Up in God's Beard

  • The Weird Watsons take their first break at a rest stop outside of Toledo, Ohio. They stop for sandwiches and a bathroom break, only the bathrooms are like nothing Kenny has ever seen. There's just a wood seat over a deep, smelly hole. No water, no flushing, lots of flies. Gross.
  • Kenny and Byron both just go in the woods.
  • At lunch, Byron's like, "What's the deal with those bathrooms?"
  • Momma and Dad laugh and explain that it's called an outhouse and he'd better get used to it because that's what Grandma Sands has. Wait, what? They're sending Byron to a place without indoor bathrooms? This just gets better and better.
  • Byron is less than thrilled.
  • The trip continues with everybody looking out the window or napping as they drive through Ohio.
  • Later, they are getting close to Cincinnati where they're supposed to stop for the night according to Momma's master plan, but Dad says he wants to keep going a little farther. Kenny overheard Dad talking to their mechanic a few days before the trip, so he knows Dad is secretly planning to try to drive straight through to Alabama without stopping anywhere to sleep.
  • Kenny, on the other hand, definitely can't make it to Alabama without sleeping. He misses all of Kentucky and doesn't wake up until they are stopped somewhere in Tennessee.
  • Momma consults her notebook and announces that they're in the Appalachia Mountains.
  • When Dad turns the headlights off, it's super dark and everyone gets kind of creeped out.
  • Momma is mad that Dad's nonstop driving plan has left them needing a break at this creepy, abandoned rest stop (which she actually refers to as hell) instead of the nice, safe motel she had picked out.
  • Kenny and Byron go to the woods to pee, and Byron tells Kenny he's worried about rednecks. He says a redneck is like a hillbilly, only worse, and some of them have never seen black before. So Byron figures if a redneck caught them, they'd be hanged for sure… and then eaten.
  • This is one time Byron isn't just fooling Kenny; he's really spooked about this.
  • They all hurry back into the car and get on the road where it feels safe.
  • Driving through the mountains, they can see about a million stars, and all the Weird Watsons have their arms out the windows to feel the clean, cool air.
  • Dad says they're up so high that it's like they have their fingers tangled up in God's beard.

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