During the 1950s, young Jessica - Southern born but "being Yankee raised"--Spends Christmas in the small town of Galilee, Georgia, in the company of her Great-Aunt Kate, two other aunts, and a cousin. During this relatively brief visit, Jessica is subjected to full "Southernization" by the entire family. As one means of teaching Jessica "who she is, " they tell her the family story of the J.P. Stevens Percale sheet, a singular present that has circulated back and forth between Great-Aunt Kate and her late husband's Aunt Frances in Dallas for over forty years. The story of how that tradition began and why it continued for so long provides Jessica with her greatest lesson in the crash-course of Southern culture and manners. Conversely, she is also initiated into the brutal burden of Southern history.