What does Miss Thomas provide Bud that he was previously lacking?

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Miss Thomas is the manager of the Band, The Dusky Devastators of the Depression.  When Bud talks about her we have no doubt how he feels about her. "Bud realizes that Miss Thomas, with her ring studded hands, is the most beautiful woman he has ever seen..." 

She give Bud love and care that he has been lacking.  She gives him a "mother's love" that is full of warmth and tenderness.  Bud's mother died when he was six and he has been without the real love of a mother figure since then.  Miss Thomas fills that void for Bud. She makes sure he has clothes, food and a warm bed.  She strokes his head and hugs him. She is a kind and loving woman.

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