Dorothea Benton Frank
New York Times Bestselling Author
Dorothea Benton Frank
"Dorothea Frank and I share the same literary territory." —Pat Conroy
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Plantation - A Lowcountry Tale (Continued)

Where were we? Ah! Pivotal moment! Pivotal moment, indeed. You see, Trip - he's my only brother - called me in New York, in the middle of a cocktail party my husband, Richard and I were giving, to announce that Mother had flipped her wig and tried to kill him with her Daddy's old Parker reliable. (That's a shotgun.) He said she was crazy, he had her power of attorney, and that he was putting her away somewhere where she couldn't hurt anyone.

I knew that was some bodacious bull because my brother was generally accepted as the Second Coming, that is, if Mother's life long drooling all over him was an indication of her religious devotion. I guess that sounds like a classic sibling rivalry remark, but you have to know certain things and then you would agree.

First, Trip was the spitting image of Daddy and Daddy was dead - dead and canonized by Mother decades ago. Mother, bereft with her loss, then did a textbook transference of her enormous love for Daddy and heaped it on Trip. Yes, my husband, Richard, is a psychologist and a psychiatrist. We, Richard and I are . . . well, we'll get to that.

Second, Trip, dweeb that he is, returned her blind eyed affection with boundless ingratitude. My brother has always been the archetypal rationalization of why I had declined the possiblities of marriage with southern men. It was their relationships with their mothers that always did me in. And, the archaic sexism. But of course, with the birth of my own son, I quickly realized and then denied that I was wrong about that too.

Poor Trip! Mother would say over and over, sighing with the weight of all the problems of the world.

Well, I didn't completely disagree there. Trip was carrying a cross the size of the Brooklyn Bridge with that tacky, low rent wife of his. Frances Mae and her horrible children! Dear God! What a disaster she was! Gives new definition to the old ball and chain! We'll dissect Frances Mae later, don't you worry about that for a minute.

So, back to Mother and Trip and their Freudian Oedipus Thaing. I wonder how much Mother would have seen of Trip if our plantation didn't have a dock and a landing so Trip could spend half of his life on the Edisto River.

Trip was your basic southern, good old boy. Lawyer, fisherman, hunter. Clean shaven, flawless manners, good dancer and manly. He never came to the supper table without a tiny cloud of aftershave in his aura. He always held Mother's chair for her and found a compliment for her as well. Mother was smug in her reign as the matriarch and that she was well in control of her son's attention.

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