Even though Frank Money lived in Lotus, Georgia since he was four, he never considered the town his home. According to Frank, “Nobody in Lotus knew anything or wanted to learn anything.” Left to their own devices, Frank and his friends roamed the unpaved streets and countryside with Frank’s little sister Cee in-tow, biding their time until they could leave Lotus for good. That opportunity came for the boys when they enlisted to fight in the Korean War. Cee’s opportunity presented itself later when she took off with a stranger—who took off with her car.
The return to Lotus was inevitable. Frank’s friends returned in government-issued coffins, and, unable to face their families, Frank delayed his return to a hero’s welcome and traveled the country, haunted by ghosts and the atrocities of war.
Only when he received word about his sister’s poor health at the hands of her employer did Frank venture toward Georgia. He finally lived up to his hero status when he rescued Cee in Atlanta, and took her home to Lotus. With Cee’s recovery entrusted to the local women, the siblings had time to look at the town through wizened eyes. These care-givers took responsibility for their lives, were irritated but not surprised by lack of common sense, and abhorred laziness. “Sleep was not for dreaming; it was for gathering strength for the coming day.”
After his return to Lotus, Frank located his box of childhood treasures, hidden where only he could find it. He noted, “The Bulova watch was still there. No stem, no hands—the way time functioned in Lotus, pure and subject to anybody’s interpretation.”