Chapter 3 Summary
At first, Margaret’s father is not interested in hiring Moose to cut his lawn. He says he wants to do it himself. However, on his first attempt to use the lawnmower, he tries to empty the bag of grass clippings while the motor is running. He cuts himself so badly that Margaret thinks he may lose a finger. On the way to the hospital, she asks God to make sure her father ends up okay. As it turns out, he needs eight stitches, and he decides to hire Moose after all.
Early in the morning on Labor Day, Margaret wakes up to the sound of knocking at the door. She finds Grandma on the front steps, her arms loaded with food from a New York delicatessen. Grandma insists that New Jersey food is not as good. Margaret disagrees but does not try to argue. It is pointless to try to change Grandma's mind about anything.
Instead, Margaret asks how Grandma got to New Jersey. Grandma explains that, even though she hates all forms of public transportation, she decided to take a train to visit her only granddaughter. This delights Margaret.
When Margaret’s parents wake up, she rushes upstairs to tell them that Grandma is here. They are shocked, and they both say it is “impossible” that Grandma could have overcome her dislike of trains so quickly. They do not go so far as to say anything mean in front of Margaret, but they definitely do not seem excited about this visit.
When Margaret’s parents come downstairs, they act like Grandma’s visit is a “wonderful surprise.” They call her “clever” for finding her way to their new house when they had not yet told her the address. Then they all eat the New York breakfast she cooks them.
After breakfast, Margaret shows Grandma her room. Grandma says she would like to buy Margaret a new set of bedroom things. She begins to list them off—but halfway through, she stops herself and heaves a sigh. “But I guess your mother wants to fix [your room] up herself,” she says. Margaret agrees that this is probably true. After that, Grandma keeps her opinions about Margaret's bedroom to herself.
However, Grandma does not remain silent on the subject of New Jersey’s food. All day, she makes a point of eating the New York food she brought. With every bite, she moans with pleasure and says, “Nothing like the real thing.” Margaret finds this funny, but her parents do not.
Before Grandma leaves, she takes Margaret aside and privately arranges to talk on the phone every evening at seven-thirty. Margaret agrees, although it seems like a lot of long-distance phone calls to her. Grandma warns her not to tell her parents, because they might not like it.