Raine, Raine Went Away
Katherine Taulman Vaughan
Raine Moss’ story typifies the enduring bonds southern families share. When a naive Raine falls victim to the machinations of her third husband, the situation is exacerbated by an early-onset Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Her sister, Dorsey Montoya, pleads with her wealthy father to change his will so that Raine’s daughter Tessa will inherit – not Raine. Dorsey has discovered that Raine’s husband – Hartley Moss – has a gambling addiction and has drained most of his wife’s assets. But it was his involvement with another more vulgar vocation that created a chasm between Dorsey and her husband, Blue. He refused to believe his brother-in-law capable of anything salacious. When Dorsey’s father, Bogart Dudley, dies unexpectedly without changing his will, the struggle to protect Raine and the family homeplace – Thimbleberry Farm – begins. Ultimately, Raine moves to an assisted living facility in Atlanta where she is befriended by a cousin who also lives there. Etta DeRenne is younger but suffers from a medical malady that requires her to reside near a major hospital. Bullied as a child due to her large, deformed legs, Etta has never had a friend. Her only solace throughout her life was her love of nature. She was raised in North Carolina in a large commercial garden – DeRenne’s – known throughout the world. But when her health failed and her father died, she was forced to move to Waterhaven. Bored and depressed, Etta was struck with the thought of installing a magnificent garden. Her family helped and by the time a suffering Raine moved in, Etta’s garden was ready to welcome her. A fast friendship formed between the two disparate women: one a former debutante, the other a misfit, lost in her sheltered, but happy world. Raine’s condition improved when she was with Etta in the garden. But her abusive husband would arrive, and her condition deteriorated. Raine’s inheritance remained in abeyance since her family decided to sue Hartley for guardianship. But they lost the case, and Hartley prepared to sell Thimbleberry. He was also alerted by his employer that Raine was a liability because of what she witnessed on a Bahamas trip. Thus, she was expendable.The trip through this story is a difficult one. It paints a realistic picture of subtle spousal abuse and dementia with its collateral damage. But there is a long-awaited redemption in the end. And the reader accepts that there had to be the darkness at night to allow for glory in the morning.