In the beginning, Summer does not really like the idea of having Cletus around their trailer. She feels like Cletus is taking Ob away from her. Ob likes Cletus and totally enjoys his company. For instance, on Christmas day, he keeps Ob busy with a "one-thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle of the great pyramids."
In chapter five of the story, Summer realizes just how important Cletus is to her and Ob. Following Cletus’s admission about his belief in the afterlife, Ob believes that he can use him as an interpreter in his communications with May. He therefore takes Cletus and Summer to the garden, where the three try to reach out to May’s spirit. Ob talks about May’s life and the many good things she did. Meanwhile, Cletus looks at the sky and "glances at Ob now and then, nodding his head to let him know that he was listening." It is then that it hits Summer that "in the oddest way Cletus had become what they’d needed all along, from the undertaker, and preacher and visiting relatives." Cletus has become the "perfect consoler" as he listens to every single word that Ob says without interrupting. Summer reveals that "Cletus had some gifts," one of them being "knowing when to talk and when not to."