But most amazingly, most miraculously, now Ob is insisting that May was, is, right here with us. That she came back a few days ago and is truly right here with us. (2.6)
Uncle Ob has to believe that Aunt May's still around, looking over their shoulders—it's the only way he can keep thinking that he'll be able to communicate with his beloved wife in some way.
I believe in ghosts. Maybe angels would be a better word for them. But ghosts seems more to the point. So if Ob says May was here, I figure she was. (2.33)
Summer is ready to jump on that ghost-hunting Kool-Aid too. After all, she loved Aunt May just as much as Uncle Ob did, plus she's willing to do anything as long as it helps Uncle Ob recover from his debilitating grief.
"I passed on. I did. I remember this light ahead of me and reaching out to it. I went after it, and suddenly everything was brilliant white, and I swear to God, my grandpa was there smiling at me and—you won't believe this part—my little dog Cicero who'd been dead three years, he was with me, too." (4.34)
And here's yet another reason why Uncle Ob gets along so well with Cletus—the kid likes old pictures, talks about weird things, and might have some kind of link to the spirit world.
Ob must have thought that by talking about May there in that place, painting her before Cletus's ignorant eyes, he could flood the garden with the vibrations needed to draw her to us. (5.4)
Even though Uncle Ob and Summer aren't exactly church-going folk, they're still hopeful that Aunt May will come to them. They still want to believe that there's a way to communicate with her.
"Ob's got visions, Summer. Just like you, except you're always fighting yours off." (5.35)
Man, Cletus does not take kindly to Summer's skepticism. The way he sees it, she's actively trying not to believe in Uncle Ob's brushes with Aunt May's spirit. Do you think she's just trying to protect herself from disappointment?
"The pastor there, it says, can communicate with the dead. Says that's what the whole church is about. Making connections between this world and the other side. This isn't any ordinary church." (7.5)
Uncle Ob is so desperate for a connection to Aunt May that he's willing to put all his faith in a strange little cut-out from the newspaper. Although most people would look at this ad with a raised eyebrow, he immediately decides to go see the church.
"'The Reverend Miriam B. Young: Small Medium at Large.' Don't you just love that? [...] Anyway, some call her the Bat Lady because she keeps bats as pets. Others call her the White Lady because she only wears white." (7.6)
Even though we never get to see Miriam B. Young in the book, we think that if there were a movie adaptation, this would be the kind of role that Helena Bonham Carter would be naturally suited for. She's just so witchy.
Turned back and in a quiet voice said to the man, "I was hoping she could help me contact my wife. I needed to talk to my wife." (10.15)
Oh no—Uncle Ob's dreams are all dashed. He came all this way to talk to Aunt May and all he's got to show for it is an empty gas tank and a couple of disappointed and worried kids.
We all let out a little gasp. The wings were so completely silent and we so unprepared. But the moon was bright and the shadow of those wings so real, and before we could find our voices, before I could call out, "Wait!" the owl had flown off into the night. (11.18)
They should have known that if Aunt May was really going to show herself to them, she'd do so on her own turf. After driving all that way and back home, Uncle Ob and Summer finally get a little sign from their beloved May.
"'What is the true mission of spirit messages? To bring us consolation in the sorrows of life...'" (12.10)
Was the owl really a message from beyond the grave? Who cares—what really matters is that Uncle Ob and Summer were able to derive some comfort from it.