In the book, Marguerite uses a metaphor to explain how she feels about her grandmother's store. She likens the store to "an unopened present from a stranger" when it stands "alone and empty in the mornings."
She explains that "opening the front doors was (like) pulling the ribbon off the unexpected gift." To Marguerite, the store is a fascinating place, filled with delightful items. She tells us that, as the sunlight streams into the store every morning, the shelves of "mackerel, salmon, tobacco, thread" reveal themselves to the human eye. The sunlight illuminates everything, including the "big vat of lard" which often softens to a "thick soup" in the summer afternoons.
Marguerite compares the 'store" to an "unexpected gift," likely referencing the fact that the store provides her with a sense of belonging. Ever since her parents' divorce and her exile to Stamps, the store has become a sort of lifeline for her; it is the one place Marguerite can count on seeing every morning. In the evenings, it is where she, Bailey, their grandmother, and Uncle Willie can share boxes of crispy crackers and cans of sardines for their evening meal.
Marguerite relates that the "peace of a day's ending" at the rear of the store is a great reminder that God will continue to keep his promises to "children, Negroes, and the crippled." So, to Marguerite, the store is an "unexpected gift" in the midst of the tragedy in her life.