Pa is in an ill temper, owing to the remark Ma recently made about all his cloths being from the last century. As a result, he's been absorbed with the newspaper for several hours.
"You know," Pa finally remarks, "I think there might be some real merit to what this article says. Here the fellow maintains that intelligence of the father often proves a stumbling block to the son."
"Well, thank goodness," Ma replied, her attention never wavering from her own projects, "at least our boy has nothing standing in his way ..."