You'd think the rain might clean the town up a bit, but it doesn't—instead it kind of makes things worse by making all the dust turn to mud. Billie Jo observes this firsthand when she sees an employee of the local hotel cleaning up dried mud from the rainstorm.
When she gets home, she sees her own house differently—the way Ma would have seen it. If she were here, she'd be attending to all the chores, plus cleaning up the mud, plus her baby Franklin, plus looking over her shoulder for the next dust storm. Wow—talk about Super Mom.
With Ma gone, Billie Jo usually ends up doing the cleaning and knows she'll have the scrub the mud off herself, even though it hurts her hands. She's tempted to just let it go, but can't; even now, she's afraid of disappointing Ma.