Meanwhile, Back In The States

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Driving into Portland, Maine the other night in a torrential downpour I couldn’t help but be reminded of my first visit to Portland, years ago. Kris Woolsey’s grandmother lived there, and his nuclear family was convening for a long weekend at her house in the woods.

We flew up on the renegade 80s airline, People Express, armed with a couple of fifths of Stolichnaya. I remember we had to wait for over an hour on the runway while President Reagan conducted some of his nasty business at Newark Airport, so I was passed out cold before we even took off. I don’t recall Kris’s family being too overjoyed to meet me.

It was a strange and tense weekend, and I kept pretty much to myself and my guitar. After everyone went to bed, I would raid the liquor cabinet and talk on the phone with my girlfriend, Mary, back in New York, then stay up all night reading. And somewhere in there were a few too-bright-and-too-early canoe trips and other awkward lake-style adventures. (I think things loosened up a bit after Kris’s family left, and we were just hanging out with his grandmother, who was cool. I remember her showing us the harbor and all the little islands that dot the Casco Bay, and even then I was awed at the sight.)

Anyhow, the flight home was even worse than the flight up — a huge, terrifying thunderstorm and an interminable delay. We sat nervously sipping Manhattan after Manhattan in the little airport lounge there, staring out glumly as waves of water crashed against the windows and I silently prayed for the flight to be cancelled. I was sure we were all going to die.

Airport Lounge

The Nightmares

Airport lounge in Portland, Maine
Our flight’s been held ’cause of pouring rain
Pouring rain

Thunder and lightning but it’s warm inside
Everybody’s going for a little ride
Little ride

I wish I could be a little stronger
And I wish I could stay a little longer

Everybody had another round
So they’d be prepared if the plane went down
Plane went down

Finally got our clearance, so we filed on board
I was thinkin’ ’bout the harbor, thinkin’ ’bout the lord
‘Bout the lord

I wish I could be a little stronger
And I wish I could stay a little longer

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5 Replies to “Meanwhile, Back In The States”

  1. Yeah… the weather in Northern New England has been wet and wild this summer. The other day in Durham, a tornado passed by about 20 miles to the west, and UNH set off its emergency warning system. I guess UNH got a grant following tragic incidents on other campuses. There were in any case, sirens and buzzers and incomprehensible announcements all over town. It was much louder than the storm itself. In Durham, at least.

    I got caught it another bad storm last month at NH Motor Speedway… they called the race wqith 17 laps to go and instead of hiding under the grandstands, everyone tried to run to their cars. They all got soaked. And I was riding around in someone else’s golf cart and didn’t have my raincoat on. Not fun. But I did get to drive through the flooded tunnel to the infield afterwards, which was great fun.

  2. Queen Bitch meets some kind of kountry guy krooning? Please…more maritime, and glad you made it back.

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