Bessie and Lee, two sisters in their forties, haven’t had any contact for many years. Bessie lives in Florida with her elderly, bedridden father, Marvin, and her Aunt Ruth, whom she lovingly cares for. She isn’t married, and has never had her own family. When medical tests reveal she has leukemia, her doctor phones her sister, Lee, in Ohio. Lee, whose abusive husband left many years ago, is living with nuns in the convent temporarily because Hank, her seventeen-year-old son, has burned the house down. Since the fire, Hank has been in a mental institution. Lee, a beautician in training, travels to Florida with her sons, Hank and Charlie, because one of them might be a bon-marrow match for Bessie. Now everyone is at Bessie’s house; Hank, however, has not yet agreed to be tested. Hank still deifies his missing father. He has found a box of old tools in Marvin’s closet and has adopted them.