Come into the kitchen. I have a moving story to tell you about a modern medical miracle, and how it has connected two strangers. I take my tea with honey. How about you?
Photo: © 2012 Dan Tappan
I am continuing my holiday at our family cabin on Peabody Hill in Jaffrey, NH. It is such a gift to escape from civilization, and the busy-ness of my day job. The peace here inspired this little poem.
Outside my cabin door a wood thush calls
A feathered soloist
Allegro as the morning stalls
Behind a glowing mist
The flames inside my fireplace
For it was plied with pine
Accompany her masterpiece
With warm staccato sounds
I wonder in my busy day
How many times this happens
A song is sung. A drum is played
But I choose not to listen
© 2013 Tom Smith
This Month’s Music
My Mother’s Face
Click the image above to play the video.
My Mother’s Face
© 2013 Tom Smith, with thanks to Mally Smith
Lyrics in the comments section below.
In May, my daughter Mally Smith shared a web link to a press conference at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. At this press conference, Mally’s friend Marinda Snow Righter spoke about her mother Cheryl Denelli-Righter and helped to introduced Carmen Tarleton. Carmen is the recipient of a face transplant by donation from Marinda’s mother after her untimely death. I was deeply moved by Marinda’s words – and the remarkable story of how these women became united.
For three months I struggled to put this wonderful story into music. Thanks to the peace here on Peabody Hill and to several phone calls and emails with my daughter Mally, it came together quickly once it started to spill out. Mally was very helpful – telling me some details about her friend Marinda, Marinda’s relationship with her mother, and providing helpful feedback through several versions of this song.
I did not know Marinda’s mother, but listening to Marinda describe her love for life, her resilience after losing her husband to a drunk driver when Marinda was only two years old, and the love she and Marinda shared, I am certain that we would have been good friends. Carmen Tarleton is inspirational – with a big heart and strong spirit. Following the attack by her ex-husband who beat her with a baseball bat and burned most of her body with industrial strength lye, she was horribly disfigured – but alive and fighting to rebuild her life.
Let’s hear them tell their story. Please do take the full eighteen minutes to view the video below. It will touch your heart – and leave you with admiration for the face transplant team at Brigham and Women’s hospital. For details about this video, see The Verge.
The photo below is Marinda and Carmen at the press conference, the day after they first met.interview with Marinda and Carmen on NPR’s “All Things Considered”.
Wishing you and your loved ones summer days full of water play, ice cream cones, music and dance.
(If so inclined, I invite you to leave a comment by scrolling to the end of this page.)
I am taking a break from public performance this summer, but I have several great shows coming up in the fall.
Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, 2:00 pm: Concord, MA
With The Chanticleers at The Olde Manse. Mostly traditional music with Kate Chadbourne, Pat Kenneally, Robert Phillips, Linda Abrams and Oen Kennedy. Free.
Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, 8:00 pm: Framingham, MA
Opening for David Mallett at Amazing Things Arts Center. David is one of the great songwriters of our time. It is an honor to open for him at this wonderful venue.
Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, 7:30 pm: Rockport, MA
I am a great admirer of James Keelaghan’s music, so I jumped at the chance to open for him at this great Rockport venue. Noted music critic Dave Marsh calls James Keelaghan “Canada’s finest singer songwriter.” It doesn’t get any better than this.
Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, 8:00 pm: Rochester, NY
Returning to Songwriters in the Round at Tango Cafe, hosted by Brian Coughlin. Joining us are my good friends Steve Gretz and Leslie Lee. Great venue, great music, great company!
Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013, 7:00 pm: Rochester, NY
This is an old fashioned music gettogether, hosted by my good friends Steve Gretz and Leslie Lee. I will do the feature set this evening.
Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013: Concord, MA
I am featuring at this long-standing open mike, hosted by the remarkable Ellen Schmidt. I will be joined by my daughter Mally Smith, and Mally will be accompanied by very special guest, violist Laurence Scudder.
Click to view details for all upcoming shows.
Featured Non-Profit: Brigham and Women’s Hospital
“Recognized internationally for its excellence in patient care, its outstanding reputation in biomedical research, and its commitment to educating and training physicians, research scientists and other health care professionals, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) is a 793-bed teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School located in the heart of Boston’s renowned Longwood Medical Area. Along with its modern inpatient facilities, BWH boasts extensive outpatient services and clinics, neighborhood primary care health centers, state-of-the art diagnostic and treatment technologies and research laboratories.”
With this month’s story originating from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, I invite you to contribute to their good works.