Sandy, a middle aged woman, is reminiscing over what happened in the small farming community of northwestern New Mexico the year she was ten. Besides being the observer of the interactions, she played a role along with others, some innocent and some not so innocent, in the shaping of events. Tobus, her mother's cousin, yearned to find a girl to marry. Since he stuttered and had a slight mental disorder, he was fair game for taunting. Charley, the country store owner, delighted in making sport of Tobus until Ruby, Charley's sixteen year old daughter, suddenly took an interest in Tobus. Afraid of Charley's reaction to their intent, Tobus and Ruby married in secret, But since they dared not make known that they had wed, they had to live apart. Yet in that Ruby was the store clerk, they had the opportunity to talk when Tobus made trips to the store. Soon Charley began objecting to the attention Tobus was giving Ruby and threatened him. For a solution to their predicament, Ruby wanted for them to run away, and she thought she had Tobus convinced. But her plan went awry. The evening she had set for them to leave, Tobus hanged himself in the neighbor's barn. The reprecussions of Tobus' death intensified the already ongoing feud between Great-Aunt Ada, Tobus' mother and Charley. But despite the distaste one had for the other, each was destined to become the grandparent to the same baby.
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