| Quote #1
I had never thought our home very pretty, but that night it looked different. It looked clean and neat and peaceful, nestled there in the foothills of the Ozarks. Yes, on that night I was proud of our home. (6.14)
This is your classic "I went on a trip, and when I came home things felt different" situation. Even though the trip only last a day, Billy has grown up a bit and is seeing his home through different eyes.
| Quote #2
As I ate, Papa sat down at the table and started talking man-talk to me. (6.32)
Billy isn't the only one who thinks he's different after his trip to town. His dad recognizes it, too, and starts treating him more like a grown-up. After all, it doesn't count unless other people see it.
| Quote #3
After Papa left, I started thinking, "He doesn't even talk to me like I was a boy anymore. He talks to me like I was a man." (8.12)
Billy starts thinking about himself as a man partly because his father treats him like one. Moral of the story: if you treat your kids like they're mature, sensible people, sometimes they'll surprise you by acting like mature, sensible people.