Bud is running away from the Amoses. He calls it “being on the lam.” He is aware that he looks out of place, so he decides the safest thing to do is head for the library where Miss Hill, a librarian, might be able to help him. Bud plans to hide in the library’s basement until the building opens. However, when he arrives, he discovers that the windows are covered with bars. With no other options, Bud climbs beneath the low-lying limbs of one of the “Christmas trees” lining the property to stay out of sight.
Bud takes an inventory of his suitcase. The first item is his blanket: never knowing where one will need to sleep, the blanket is an important possession. Bud finds his rocks still in their tobacco bag and also his mother’s picture.
Bud studies the picture yet again, noticing that she was about his age when it was taken: she is posed on the back of a miniature pony dressed in cowboy garb, and she is very unhappy. She told Bud that her father—his grandfather—made her get that picture taken. Looking at that picture made Momma’s eyes get “big and burny.”
One thing Momma insisted on was that Bud knew his name: it was not, nor was it ever meant to be, “Buddy.” She had named him Bud because that was the part of a flower that had not opened yet, like a “flower-in-waiting” that would someday bloom—just like Bud.
Bud’s mom often told him not to worry about the details because she would tell him a lot of things when he got older. He realizes that his mom was not always right: now she is gone, and he figures he will never hear the other things she had promised to share with him.
Momma had also explained that when one door closed, another door would open somewhere else. He did not quite understand this at the time, thinking that if a door opened on its own there had to be a ghost involved. Since then—he is now at the advanced age of ten years—he has realized that she was trying to explain that if one situation did not work out, another opportunity would present itself.
Assured that nothing is missing from his suitcase, Bud snuggles into the blanket. If he wants breakfast at the mission, he has to be up early. If he is one minute late, they will not feed him.