Bud makes it to the mission in plenty of time, but his pretend family is not there. So, he has to eat his oatmeal without the brown sugar they had shared with him. When he finishes his breakfast, he heads once again for the library, hiding his suitcase under one of the Christmas trees. Inside, the same librarian is manning the desk, and so he asks her for a piece of paper, a pencil, and one of the books she had shown him showing how far one city is from another. She strikes up a conversation about him and his mother whom she remembers coming to the library together. She even remembers that his momma liked fairy tales and mysteries, but he had liked books on the Civil War. Then, she gives him the book he requested and tells him that when he returns it, she has a surprise for him. Bud doesn’t get too excited by this, because he knows what librarians think of as surprises! At a table, he begins to leaf through the book until he finds information that tells him Flint is 120 miles from Grand Rapids and that it will take 24 hours to walk it. He writes down all the names of the towns in between and then takes the book back. The librarian gives Bud a huge book on the Civil War and tells him, “Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!” Bud doesn’t want to tell her that he isn’t interested in history, but only in the gory pictures taken after Civil War battles. This is a great book, because there are lots of gory pictures!
Bud then remarks to himself that time is a strange thing in a library. One minute you open the first page of the book and the next minute it’s closing time. The librarian tells him it’s time to go, but hands him a lunch in a paper sack as he leaves, because she knows he hasn’t eaten all day. What’s more, he knows he won’t make it to the mission on time, so the librarian’s gift is more than welcome. He returns to the Christmas tree thinking that this time tomorrow he will see his father. He eats the sandwich and before he heads out for Grand Rapids.
Bud then begins to think about how ideas begin like seeds: when you first look at seed, you can’t imagine that it will ever be a tree so high you get a “crick” in your neck trying to see the top. This is also true when he thinks of how the idea that Herman Calloway is his father first poked its head out of the dirt when he and the other boys at the Home were getting their nightly teasing from the biggest bully there, Billy Burns. Like all the other boys, Billy said his momma was coming any time to get him out. This led to his assertion that none of them even knew who their parents were. That’s when Bud spoke up without thinking and said that his father played a giant fiddle and was named Herman Calloway. That idea continued to grow when he’d sit alone at night and ask himself why his momma had kept the flyers. As he grew older, he began to think that she might have known she wasn’t going to be around very long and was trying to leave him a message with the flyers. Now the idea is so big and so strong that he’s willing to walk across the state of Michigan. He takes out each of the flyers and repeats the names of the band. The picture is always the same, but the band’s name changes on each flyer. He looks at them carefully once more, replaces them in his suitcase, and heads west, just like Bugs!
There are some wonderful thoughts that come from Bud in this chapter: the basic kindness of the librarian, his determination to walk for 24 hours to reach Grand Rapids, and his comparison of his belief that his father is Herman Calloway to the growth of a giant tree from a bitty seed.
Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on Bud, Not Buddy".
. 23 March 2015