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Set in the Great Depression, Christopher Paul Curtis' Bud, Not Buddy, tells the story of young Bud who has lost the only family he knows; his mother died four years earlier and Bud has been in a Home (orphanage). However, he is sure that his father is alive in Grand Rapids, Michigan. When things go very wrong in the foster home in which he has been placed (the people there are very mean, especially their son), Bud starts walking from Flint, Michigan, to find his dad—or the man he thinks is his dad, based on clues he found in some of his mother's papers.
Bud is walking on the side of the road after dark and is lucky enough to be seen by Lefty Lewis who is traveling from Grand Rapids to Flint. After Bud tells a tall tale (a lie or fib) about running away from home in Grand Rapids, Lefty agrees to take Bud back to his father there. When they finally arrive Bud's destination—the Log Cabin, where Herman E. Calloway (Bud's "dad") is playing with a band called the Nubian Knights of the New Deal—Bud goes inside to meet his dad. There are five men watching a sixth. Bud meets them all—they are the musicians in the band.
Jimmy Wesley is the band member who decides to take Bud to dinner with the group, to see if they can figure out what to do with him. The drummer is Doug "the Thug" Tennant. The sax player is Steady Eddie Patrick. The guy on the trombone is Chug Cross and the band's piano player is Roy Breed. While the men are nice to Bud, the Thug tries to trick Bud into showing his love for his father in a very public way: with a hug and a kiss in front of everyone. It seems he's kidding, but Bud quickly decides to ignore Thug's advice. It is Steady Eddie that warns Bud from making a fuss of any kind over Herman Calloway (Mr. C.). In fact, Eddie says:
Let's not get the little man killed before he's had a chance to eat...
Steady Eddie tells Bud not to pay any attention to Thug, and also encourages him to stay away from Mr. C. altogether; he explains that Mr. C. is not someone a person should "toy with" or play games with. When Eddie again has to tell Thug to stop teasing Bud, the youngster decides:
Of all the Dusky Devastators of the Depression or the Nubian Knights, Steady Eddie is my favorite.
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