Chapter 13 Summary

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Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 647

When Bud announces to a room full of people at the club that Herman E. Calloway is his father, everyone becomes very quiet. The younger men in the room think this is very funny, but they are afraid to laugh.

Jimmy is the one who breaks the silence: “Hold on, now, is your name Bud?” Bud answers in the affirmative, and Jimmy makes the connection between this and the telegram that arrived the day before. However, Herman wants no part of this situation, and he scolds Bud a little:

First off, don’t be coming in here accusing folks of being your father, and second off, where is your mother?

Bud is sad that his “father” acts like he does not already know what happened to his mother. Bud quietly relates to the men that his mother is dead, having passed on four years ago. Herman is sorry to hear this but is ready to ship him back to where he came from. Jimmy interrupts the conversation to be realistic about this new situation. He asks Bud about other relatives—an aunt or sister or grandparent—but Bud’s answer is the same: he has no one in the world. When the conversation turns to the orphanage, Bud’s answers become mixed up and evasive.

Jimmy sees that the conversation with Bud is not making any headway, and he asks him to step aside and allow him to privately speak to Herman. When they return, Herman reminds Jimmy, “Don’t forget, this is your little red wagon, you pull it if you want.” Jimmy agrees and calls Bud back over. He makes a deal with the boy. Jimmy is going to feed Bud, but in exchange, Bud must be completely honest with him. With a strong handshake, as his mother had taught him, Bud agrees.

As he reflects on the brief meeting he has had with his father, Bud is sorry that the man is so old. He would have preferred that one of the other younger men be his dad.

Jimmy introduces himself and then the other members of the band to Bud Caldwell. Because they are done practicing for the day, it is time to pack up, and one of the men enlists Bud’s help. He is happy to comply. All the men are very nice. Casually, The Thug tells Bud that maybe he should have been friendlier to Herman: the next time he sees the older man, The Thug suggests that Bud run up to Herman, plant a big kiss on the old man’s bald head, and call him Daddy or Poppa. Thug says this will solve the problem. Bud is too smart to fall for this advice and reminds himself not to take The Thug too seriously in the future. On his own, Bud has figured out that Herman E. Calloway

seemed like the kind of person that would rather get bit in the behind by a snaggletooth mule than have somebody give him a kiss.

Jimmy tells The Thug to leave Buddy alone: he has enough problems. When the car is loaded, Bud gets into the back seat between Dirty Deed and Steady Eddie. The Thug asks what everyone wants to know: how did Bud find out about his daddy? Bud explains that his mother told him so. Then they ask if his mother was old when she passed. Bud explains that she was old: she was twenty-six when she died. Everyone becomes extremely quiet with this news. (To Bud, anyone very much older than him is very old, but for them twenty-six is not old at all.)

Steady Eddie tells Bud that he a “tough little nut,” and he likes him for the strength he exhibits in the face of this tragedy. Doo-Doo Bug shuts off the engine of the car and tells them it is time to eat.

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