With Lum out of town to try and get custody of Ellie from the state home, she and Abner take care of the store. Though it’s Summer, Abner coaches her on school lessons. What do the lessons mean? Abner can’t say it any better than what the words on the page do, so he keeps on reading. Why does it take longer to cook in Cripple Creek than it does in Boston? Maybe they like their food better done in one place than the other.
Mary tries to explain about atmospheric pressure, but Abner is saved by the telephone bell. Grandpap has called to accuse Abner of cheating at checkers. Mary has long caught on to the reasons eggs boil faster in low climates, but Abner insists on trying to make sense of it from the book.
Phone calls keep interrupting Abner’s studies. Will the checker arguments ever end? Will Mary be able to go out and play?