Chapter 22: Endangered Places

Rain falls for the whole month of February, and the trees burst into bloom. No news arrives from Hallie. Codi calls the Nicaraguan Minister of Agriculture weekly, but she is only told that Hallie's case is one of thousands and that there is nothing to do but wait. With the help of the women from the Stitch and Bitch Club, Codi writes hundreds of letters to elected US officials and to media sources, but to little avail. Everyone in Grace tries to be understanding, but there is nothing they can do. Codi stops going to Doc Homer's for dinner. She can barely sleep. In the middle of the month, Emelina's baby, Nicholas, learns to walk as Codi watches.

The peacock sales and the publicity draw the Stitch and Bitch Club a great deal of money. They put it in the bank, unsure of what to do next, until Sean Rideheart, an art dealer from Tucson, arrives in Grace. He visits often during the month of March, talking to the women about the piñatas. When he is invited to be a guest speaker at the Stitch and Bitch Club's monthly meeting, Sean Rideheart proposes a plan that could save Grace. If Grace and its trees can be declared a historic reserve and get listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it will receive national protection from the kind of destruction the polluted water and the dam wreak on the town. Mr. Rideheart explains exactly how to apply for historic place status. The only hitch is that they have to fund all of the documentation themselves; they have more than enough money to do that, thanks to the peacock sales.

Around the same time, Carlo invites Codi to move to Telluride with him. Although she has no particular desire to return to Carlo, the letter makes her realize that she does need to make plans for the following year. Since their return from Santa Rosalia Pueblo, Codi and Loyd have spent little time together. In addition to her intense depression over her sister's disappearance, Codi feels terribly guilty for having been off enjoying herself when the call came from Nicaragua.

Over Spring break, Doc Homer goes to Tucson for a CAT scan. He tells no one except for Uda Dell and only because he needs her to keep an eye on his house while he's gone. Uda tells Codi and also asks if Codi thinks Uda could go in and clean the house while Doc Homer is gone. Codi suggests that they go together. In the attic, they discover that Doc Homer has neatly stored everything from old shoes to photo albums, dating back to before Codi was born.

They discover a box of photographs of newborn babies' eyes Doc Homer had taken for the genetics paper he wrote on a phenomenon peculiar to Grace. As a side- effect of inbreeding, all of the children who are descended both paternally and maternally from the five Gracela sisters are born with marble-white eyes. As they look through the box, Uda points out pictures of both Codi and Hallie. Codi is shocked to discover that not only her father, but also her mother, was a native of Grace. She remembers Viola's comment that everyone but Doc Homer called her mother Althea and suddenly connects that it was Doña Althea's family and her mother's family who hated Doc Homer and that it was not because he was an outsider.

Chapter 23: The Souls of Beasts

After his return from Tucson, with a positive diagnosis of Alzheimer's, Doc Homer's mind deteriorates rapidly. He rarely remembers what has happened to Hallie, or who or how old Codi is. Codi stays by his side, trying to catch him in a lucid moment so that she can ask him more about her mother. Indirectly, he admits that Codi's mother was related to Doña Althea, but the family didn't want her to marry him because he was a Nolina, who had the reputation of being a bad family. Despite Codi's arguments to the contrary, Doc Homer thinks he renounced his family only to become an unloved outsider in the community.