A peach-sunny romance set in Atlanta of the Thirties, in which Preston, a child of poverty who grew up to play life close against the chest, and whose sole passion is his ""Melba"" cafeteria, is pursued by pretty Palmetta, a nurse who can crack wise and love foolish. The courtship is a rocky one, and busy with verbal cuffs and tweaks. While Preston and Palmetta are off and on and off again, Preston's beloved Melba is threatened by a union action. Palmetta's pregnancy brings about a marriage and wedding-night separation; and a strike finds Preston at odds with the employees he's been a kind and stern father to. But Preston takes the emotional plunge--treating the new mother to a drunken, adoring hospital serenade and standing with his help to overcome the goons. The author is a screenwriter, and the dialogue is vintage silver-screen quippy. Except for the first section, heavy with neo-proletarian rigors, it's all as light and as artificially colored as cafeteria jello.