It is in chapter twelve, which is titled “The Marriage Bed,” that Pipestone is talked about. While Gram and Gramps having been listening with great interest to Sal’s tale of Phoebe Winterbottom, Gramps takes a detour to the Pipestone National Monument, which is close to the South Dakota border. It is immediately apparent that they are extremely caring grandparents and that Sal is important to them.
Gram doesn’t seem to understand his interest in visiting the Pipestone National Monument, and asks why he’s interested in going to “see an old Indian smoking a pipe.” The chapter details the road to Pipestone, as well as the small town itself, in which the people appear to be exceptionally friendly. It reminds Sal of Bybanks, where everyone knows everyone else, and will stop for a chat if you pass them in the street.
Upon arrival at the monument, Sal and her grandparents watch pipes being made out of stone, and it seems that Sal gets a little bored at the Pipe Museum, because she recalls learning “more about pipes than any human being ought to know.” Afterward when they are back outside, Gramps asks an “American Indian person” if they can try smoking his “long peace pipe.” The man agrees and Sal states that the sensation of smoking makes her feel a little “whang-doodled.” The sight of the smoke in the air reminds Sal of her mother for some reason, and Gramps later buys her a peace pipe, which is he tells her is for “remembering with” rather than smoking.