• Chapter 1 is narrated by Snookum, a little boy who is hanging out with is grandmother, Gram Mon and his cousins Toddy and Minnie on a hot day. The setting is the deep south, but the year is unclear. It is after slavery and there are references to modern cars and trucks.
• Candy tells Snookum to run tell Rufe, Reverned Jameson and Corrine and the "rest of them" to gather at Mathu's house. She tells Snookum to tell Miss Merle to call Lou to "get here quick."
• Snookum runs by Mathu's house and finds Mathu, a black man, crouched on his porch holding a shotgun. A man is lying dead in the weeds next to a tractor that is still running.
• Snookum finds Rufe, hoeing his garden and Corrine eating is her kitchen. He tells them and runs on.
• He gets to the home of Major and Miss...
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