The Friday Morning Listen: Randy Newman – Harps and Angels (2008)

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One more time before …


Let’s back up a handful of years.

At that point, me and TheWife™ had been married for going on ten years and were living out here in the country in our big ‘ole house, working and taking care of my parents (read: just make sure they eat enough, remember their doctor’s appointments, and get out of the house once in a while). There were good days and bad, just like everybody else. Before we had moved out here, there we other family storms that made our then current state of things seem like a relative calm … which it was.

But then my mom got sick with what at first seemed like some sort of infection, which turned out to be a recurrence of uterine cancer. There was no cure, though there was some hope that chemotherapy might help. The reality was that the disease never gave her a chance to make it that far. In those short three months (which somehow seemed like both 3 days and 3 years), we found out what they mean when they say that somebody dies from “complications due to cancer.”

When there were a handful of weeks left to go, there were visits from various friends and relatives. One night after my dear in-laws said their goodbyes to JoAnna, they took us out to dinner. I can’t remember the exact details now, but something had been left in Mom’s hospital room. We swung by after leaving the restaurant and TheWife™ went in to retrieve the item. She came out in tears, not because of anything in particular, but just that sometimes the enormity of the situation can just suddenly overwhelm you. She also said that when all of this was over, we were going to move away.

Several years have passed and “all of this” is indeed over. Until recently, there were no plans. We’ve been so busy with work that there has been no time to put the future in focus. This past spring was the first chance we had to take a real vacation. Despite nearly two weeks of non-stop rain, it felt very good. But it felt like something else. It felt like home. And when we left, it hurt. I don’t mean this in a whiny, oh-gee-this-is-so-beautiful-I-don’t-want-to-leave kind of way. No, we really felt like we belonged. It was an odd, but not unexpected feeling. But what to do about it?

Well TheWife™, who is a teacher by trade, saw an opening at a local school. It looked great. It also didn’t work out. But then there was one more avenue to explore. As usual, her application was met with silence, which is sort of what we’ve come to expect. But then there was a phone call, and a frantic trip for an interview, and … a job offer. Stunning. A writer friend of mine recently said that she was tired of just taking the cards she’d been dealt. Yeah, so were we.

I’ve reported often on our trips to the coast of Maine. Not too long ago, as we crossed the border into the state, I said that someday it would be nice to be heading home when we crossed that line. So no more vacations on the coast of Maine … because we’ll be living there. Home.

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to, and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at
Mark Saleski
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