Orphaned as a small child, Summer is passed from relative to relative until she is taken in by Ob and May. She spends six happy years with them in a little trailer in the West Virginia mountains, then May dies, and Summer watches as Ob struggles to go on without her. One day, Ob tangibly feels May's spirit come to him, and desperately tries to reestablish connection, to no avail. Summer's eccentric friend Cletus finds an artical about a spiritual medium who can communicate with the dead, and Ob, Summer, and Cletus set out for Charleston to consult with her, only to find she too has died. As the despondent Ob drives back, Summer tries to resign herself to the fact that he has given up and will follow May in death, but he inexplicably chooses to "turn this buggy around" in a move symbolic of his decision to embrace life even without his beloved wife. The three spend the day enjoying the city, and when they arrive back home, Summer, finally allowing herself to acknowledge the depth of her own grief now that Ob is alright, cries long and hard, and is comforted by Ob's steady presence and Cletus's deep and perceptive concern. The story ends on a note of hope, as Ob and Summer draw from the love they share for each other and with Cletus, to set themselves free from their grief and move on in confident awareness of May's spiritual presence remaining with them.