Study Guide

A Year Down Yonder Chapter 2

By Richard Peck

Chapter 2

Vittles and Vengeance

  • In Grandma Dowdel's little town, people take Halloween seriously. There are all sorts of hijinks going on—including pranks and vandalism.
  • But what the boys who carried out all the pranks don't seem to remember from one year to the next is that Grandma Dowdel isn't just a little old lady sitting alone and helpless in her house; she's a big fan of Halloween too.
  • When the community party rolls around, Grandma Dowdel reminds Mary Alice that if they're bobbing for apples, she should bring some home so that they can bake them with brown sugar. These are hard times, after all.
  • The notice for the community party also asks people to bring food—which means that there are sure to be attendees. There are always people present whenever free food is involved.
  • Grandma reads that and tells Mary Alice that they're going to be busy baking pumpkin and pecan pies.
  • After dinner one night, Mary Alice goes outside to find Bootsie and hears a clank and crying. She finds Bootsie with a tin can tied to her tail—poor thing! The pranks have begun.
  • When Mary Alice returns to the house, Grandma is stirring something that smells awful. She tells Mary Alice that it's glue, and then asks her to get some tools. Mary Alice knows better than to ask what's going on.
  • Grandma goes out to the cobhouse and puts down stakes, then winds wire between them. She tells Mary Alice to get inside the cobhouse and wait with her.
  • They sit there for a while before they hear the sounds of some teenage boys approaching. The boy in the lead doesn't see the wire.
  • When he gets close to the cobhouse, he falls over the wire and flat onto his nose. Grandma runs out with her pan of glue and pours it all over him. Of course, the commotion freaks out all the other boys and they drop all their stuff and run off.
  • Score! Grandma founds that they've left a nice knife behind, a handsaw, and even some flour (which they planned to throw over the house and the cat). She's mighty pleased—this means that they have more flour for their pie-baking plans.
  • The next day at school, there are a lot of the boys from town absent. When Mary Alice returns to the house, Grandma Dowdel tells her that they're going to pay a visit to Old Man Nyquist's place.
  • Apparently, Old Man Nyquist is a retired farmer who has a big pecan tree in his yard, and he said that Grandma could have as many fallen pecans as she wanted for her pies.
  • Of course, there aren't that many pecans on the ground. So eventually, Grandma Dowdel spots a tractor sitting to the side and gets on it. Before Mary Alice can stop her, she rams the tractor right into the tree so that it starts raining pecans.
  • Thankfully, Old Man Nyquist doesn't wake up, and they manage to squirrel away two whole sacks full of pecans for their pies. Next up, Grandma announces that they're going to find some pumpkins.
  • They go to another neighbor's yard and Grandma Dowdel quickly cuts free three big pumpkins and places them on the cart. With that, their work is done and they can return home to start baking.
  • After a full day of baking, they have a wagonload of some pretty good-looking pies. When Mary Alice gets ready for the party, Grandma Dowdel hovers and decides to come along too…which is to be expected. She's not one to miss the reaction that her pies will surely inspire.
  • When they arrive, the party is looking pretty sad—especially the snack table. People haven't brought much by way of goodies. They all perk up when they see Grandma and Mary Alice arriving with all of those delicious pies.
  • Everyone starts lining up to get a piece of the pie for themselves, even the grown-ups. So many people look skinny and underfed, and they're obviously excited to get some real food in them.
  • When Mr. Fluke, the principal, comes up with his son Augie, Mary Alice is shocked to see that Augie's head is bald and that his nose is all bandaged up. She suspects that she knows how that happened…
  • Grandma does too, and she takes out Augie's knife (which he had dropped) and uses it to cut a slice of pie while watching him.
  • Mr. Fluke sees the knife and puts two and two together, and starts yelling at his son for pranking Grandma's house.
  • In the end, they manage to feed a whole lot of people and make the town happy. And they even go home with some apples to bake with brown sugar.

This is a premium product

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

Please Wait...