Granny June calls the next morning and asks Daunis to take her to lunch at the Elder Center; she’ll bring the Jeep. On the ferry, she offers Daunis her semaa pouch to offer to the river; since the river flows constantly, it’s a new river every time, and they should honor their journey. Daunis holds Granny June’s hand as they enter the Elder Center and realizes why Granny June asked her to come—for moral support. They greet Minnie Mustang (so named for the red Mustang she bought when she turned 75) and Daunis gets in line behind Jonsy Kewadin, TJ’s grandpa. She fixes Granny June a tray and then tells Minnie about her college classes.
Even with Lily gone, Daunis remains connected to her friend’s grandma and to the other elders who frequent the Elder Center. It’s a surprising moment for Daunis to realize that Granny June, despite being a venerated Elder, needs moral support—it reminds Daunis that Daunis can indeed support her Elders in various ways. Supporting the Elders, in this sense, helps everyone in the community feel supported and invested in the group.
Daunis gets herself some food just as Auntie walks in. Daunis’s throat closes up. Auntie supposedly has felonies—would telling her about the investigation put Auntie in danger? Daunis decides that since Auntie has a happy life now, it’s better to stay quiet. After lunch, Daunis hangs out as Granny June and Minnie play cards. Jonsy asks if anyone wants to go bottle collecting with him, and Daunis overhears Auntie telling someone that she’s joining Daunis and Granny June in not collecting medicines for a year. Daunis should’ve prayed for respect this morning—it’s her job to protect and respect others during the mourning period. Remembering how talkative Jonsy is, she asks if he still needs a collecting buddy.
In many ways, Daunis is very mature and adult. She’s participating in a federal investigation, and by not telling Mom or Auntie about that, she’s prioritizing something much bigger than herself over her need for authority figures’ support. Still, though, Daunis is at the beginning of her coming-of-age journey, and she has a lot to learn. Here, she realizes that she doesn’t always know what the best choice in a given situation is—sometimes, she’ll only figure that out well after the fact. So, it’s yet to be seen if bottle collecting with Jonsy will turn out to be the right choice.