Chapter 2 Summary

Bob sleeps late and finds his father and Shane eating breakfast. Shane reveals his parents were from Mississippi but settled in Arkansas; he left home at fifteen. The Starrett home is generally “warm with good feeling,” and it is especially so this morning. A summer storm arrives as Shane prepares to leave. Marian insists he must not leave until tomorrow—after the storm has passed and the roads are fit for travel. Bob can see that Shane likes the idea but is also somewhat worried about it.

Starrett agrees with his wife and offers to stop work for the day and show Shane around the homestead. Marian will make a deep-dish apple pie and insists she wants to hear all about what city women are wearing; Shane is the type of man who would notice and be able to tell her. As soon as Shane agrees to stay, Marian begins asking him fashion questions. Starrett is not particularly interested until Shane starts talking about the annual stock show in Dodge City.

When the sun is shining again, the two men and Bob begin the tour. Starrett does most of the talking, enthusiastically sharing all of his plans. He sees that Shane has stopped listening; he is staring at a stump, the “one bad spot” on the property. It is old and jagged across the top, big enough around to seat an entire family, and roots twist out in every direction. Some roots are as big around as Bob’s waist.

Starrett has been occasionally working at the stump, but the wood is so hard that an ax will only sink in about a quarter of an inch, and fire only seems to make the wood even harder. Starrett admits this is his one defeat, but he is determined to win the battle. Once again Shane is paying attention to something else—a horse coming down the road. As he sees a horse and wagon easily navigate the passable road, he quietly accuses Starrett of being a poor liar. Starrett chuckles.

The man in the wagon is Jake Ledyard. He comes through every few months...

(The entire section is 776 words.)