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Summary: Chapter 13

In the Log Cabin, Jimmy asks Bud if his name is Bud, remembering the telegram that had arrived that morning. Bud tells Herman that his momma died four years ago, and that he belongs with him now. Jimmy tries to explain to Bud that Herman can’t be his father. They ask about brothers, sisters, grandmas. Bud tells them about the Home, and how he escaped, and made his way to Grand Rapids.

Herman agrees to let Bud come along to the Sweet Pea for dinner. Jimmy Wesley, otherwise known as Mr. Jimmy, the horn player, introduces Bud to the band: their drummer, Doug “the Thug” Tennant; sax man, Harrison “Steady” Eddie Patrick; trombone, Chug “Doo-Doo Bug” Cross; and on piano, “the palest member of the band,” Roy “Dirty Deed” Breed. The band members talk with Bud about his situation, and give him advice for how to deal with Herman E. Callaway, or Mr. C. 

Because Thug asks, Bud tells the band the story of how he came to know that Mr. C. was his daddy. He tells them that his mother had let him know, and that she was twenty-six when she died. 

They pull up at the Sweet Pea, and head in for dinner.

Summary: Chapter 14

At the Sweet Pea, the band sits at the table with the sign “Reserved NBC.” NBC stands for Nobody But Calloway. Jimmy introduces Bud to Miss Thomas, the band’s vocal stylist. Her name is Grace, and she’s horrified by Bud’s wasp bites, the black eye Todd Amos had given him, and his general condition. Hoping Mr. C. is listening, Bud describes the fight with Todd, loudly telling Miss Thomas, “I fell down, ma’am, ’cause the Lord give me the good sense to know when enough is enough.” He points at Herman and tells Miss Thomas that he is his daddy.

Miss Thomas orders food for Bud, and then tells him that it’s near impossible for Herman Calloway to be his father. Before Bud can explain, Tyla, the waitress brings him meat loaf, okra, mashed potatoes, and a glass of apple cider. When that’s all gone, she delivers a piece of sweet potato pie with whipped cream on top. 

Captivated by the humming of Miss Thomas and laughing at the stories Mr. Jimmy is telling of the band’s travels, Bud realizes that this is where he is meant to be. Overwhelmed with emotion, he starts to cry. Miss Thomas gently pulls him into her lap and whispers, “Go ahead and cry, Bud, you’re home.”

Summary: Chapter 15

Bud arrives with Miss Thomas at Grand Calloway Station, Herman’s house, named so because of the constant comings and goings of people, in and out. Given the late hour, Miss Thomas leads Bud to the room where he’ll sleep. She promises to give Bud a tour of the house tomorrow. Bud asks her if the closets in the room are locked, and she tells him they’re likely not, but all he’d find in them is the clothes of a girl who’s gone. He thinks about Rule 28: 

Gone = dead!

When Miss Thomas leaves the room, Bud hears loud arguing in the hallway. Mr. C. comes into Bud’s room with a key and locks the two closet doors. He whispers to Bud, out of earshot of Miss Thomas, that he knows Bud might have the others fooled, but “believe you me, scamp, you’re going back where you belong.” He warns Bud that he has a way of knowing if anything’s missing by the “little secret bells all over everything.” This reminds Bud of the white lifeguard at the YMCA who told the children from the Home that if they peed in the pool, a bright red chemical cloud would surround them.

Bud looks around the room and thinks “even a hard-up thief wouldn’t find nothing much worth stealing” in it. The best thing about the room is the wall covered with pictures of horses. Bud falls asleep thinking, “Nothing could hurt me now.”

Analysis: Chapters 13–15

Bud courageously stands firm when his pronouncement stuns the group in the Log Cabin. He is solidly convinced that Herman Calloway is his father, regardless of what the others, including Calloway, think. After the band members question him, they must think there’s something to Bud’s story worth pursuing because they convince Calloway to let Bud accompany them to the Sweet Pea for dinner. By now, Bud is realizing that “Herman E. Calloway seemed like he was going to be hard to get along with.” Bud is more comfortable with the other members of the band who treat him with kindness, tease him, and try to put him at ease.

The Sweet Pea, which is the restaurant the band takes Bud to, is a symbol of belonging in Bud’s story. When Bud enters and takes in the smell with deep breaths, describing in great detail his sensory experience, he decides that this must be what heaven smells like. Then, after he’s met Miss Thomas and after he’s spent time with the band, his bottled up emotions spill forth. The reader remembers that this is the Bud who supposedly no longer has the capacity to cry. Yet he sobs into the warm, loving lap of Miss Thomas who tells him, “You’re home.” Bud is allowed to cry and be comforted like the child he is. He’s concerned with what the others might think, but Miss Thomas reassures him that he’s okay just as he is, a child with feelings. This feeling of belonging is something Bud has not experienced in a long, long time.

That night, Bud learns how the “Grand Calloway Station” was named, and as Bud is its guest for one night, the reader wonders if he is only passing through or finding a permanent home there. Bud immediately looks for clues of a family connection in the bedroom Miss Thomas leads him to. She tells him that the girl who stayed in this room is “gone,” and from Bud’s reaction, the reader can assume people have described his mother’s death in the same way. Mr. C. makes it abundantly clear that he sees the game Bud is playing, and that Bud, clever though he may think he is in fooling Miss Thomas and the other band members, clearly doesn’t belong there. Ironically, he tells Bud, “you’re going back to where you belong,” and then locks the doors that could finally unlock the mystery of who Bud’s family is. Looking around at the pictures of horses on the walls, Bud feels safe and as if his mother is with him.