Russell M. Middleton - Carry On Wayward Son
This site originally published in MICHIGAN.
Any Russell M. Middleton
Click to go Home
Valid XHTML 1.0!

Carry On Wayward Son

Leftoveture Album Cover
Image Source: Leftover.jpg

Album: Leftoverture (©1976 Kirshner)
Band: Kansas
Song Title: Carry On Wayward Son

The 90's, the fourth decade of my life, was a time of trial for me. On Sunday, 7 August 1994, Prince, a German Shepard-Husky mix I'd known for ten years, died. A loyal and faithful companion, who, when you were sitting quietly with your hands in you lap, would come and sit next to you and lean on you and put one paw on your hands. He made me believe that we were truly members of the same pack.

My father died of heart failure on Wednesday, 20 November 1996. A harder working man, with more courage, strength, and honesty, I have never met. When he was informed by his cardiologist that his heart was wearing out he said, "Well, I guess we'll run her as far as she'll go." Russell George Middleton is buried in the South Martin, Michigan, cemetery next to his grandfather George Middleton who was the son of Margaret Sutherland, she was born in Scotland, in 1823. As a piper played the tune 'The Green Hills Of Tyrol' and the words of 'The Scottish Soldier' rang in my head on that late November day, I found new meaning in the belief that "the spirit of the fallen come alive in the pipes --- Every note is their call to life, their call to courage, and a reminder that in this world, no one goes alone, no one dies in vain."

And just in case my soul needed further tempering in the furnace of life, on the day before my father's funeral, my late wife Gail was diagnosed with cancer. She waged a valiant fight for life, for twenty months. During the first nine months she bore the ravages of chemotherapy under the care of a local oncologist, until the dread "P" word (palliative) was all he had left to offer. Then, we drove to Houston, Texas, on the trail of an alternative treatment that sounded promising. We flew back to Houston three more times for follow up exams and each time the prognosis was hopeful. But Gail succumbed to septic shock at noon on Saturday, 4 July 1998. We were all there, her best friend Rachel, her two daughters, Amy and Emily, her mother Marvel, her sister Judy, her minister Charley Herrick, and I. It was a gray, wet day, much like a summers day in Scotland.

But the 90's had not been all tragedy. Gail gave me the greatest gift, short of life itself, which anyone has ever bestowed. The ember of love for Scotland that was kindled at my birth and fueled during my time at Upper Heyford. Had smoldered quietly through the years until it was fanned alive when Gail took me to Scotland. In early May 1995, while Gail and I were driving home from a family gathering, in Plymouth, Michigan, she said, "let's go to Scotland this summer." So we stopped at Borders Books, in Novi, Michigan, USA, picked up a few travel guides and by late August we were standing in the knave of Kelso Abbey. We also explored Jedburgh, Melrose, Dryburgh, and on our way to Scott's View we discovered a statue of William Wallace overlooking the Tweed.

We trod the battlements of Stirling Castle and gazed out toward Bannockburn. We climbed to the top of the other Wallace Monument and looked down on Stirling Bridge. We hiked the Braes of Balquhidder and stood silently at the grave of Robert MacGregor. On a misty morning we walked Drumossie Moor where the Sassenachs hoped the Flower of Scotland had been drowned forever in Highland blood. We scanned for Nessie, to the sublime sound of a piper playing from the top of Urquhart Castle. We drove up Bealach nam Bo (the pass of the cattle), the highest road in Scotland (at 626m 2053 feet above sea level). "The road incorporates a number of hairpin bends and is unsuitable for learner drivers, caravans or those of a nervous disposition." From the top of the Applecross Peninsula, Gail and I enjoyed a spectacular view across the Inner Sound, and the Isle of Raasay toward the rugged profile of the Cuillins of Skye.

I lead Gail to Dunvegan Castle, stronghold of the Chiefs of MacLeod for nearly eight centuries, which I had visited some twenty-three years earlier. We sailed back across the Sound of Sleat on a Cal-Mac ferry, from Armadale to Mallaig with tickets so faint as to be illegible, because it would have been extravagant to replace the printer ribbon so late in the season. We stood on the shore of Iona, where St. Columba brought Christianity to Alba, a millennium and a half ago. We experienced a mysterious chill will driving up Glen Coe, at noon, on a warm, sunny, summers day. And as we left the Highlands via the shores of Loch Lomond the fire in my soul grew hotter, for this was 1995, the year of the films Braveheart and Rob Roy.

And so I carry on!

Song Title: Carry On Wayward Son
Lyrics from: data/carryonw.htm
MP3 from: cows.mp3

(Links are an audio clip (6.93 MB) in MP3 format.)

Carry on my wayward son
There'll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don't you cry no more.

Once I rose above the noise and confusion
Just to get a glimpse beyond this illusion
I was soaring ever higher
But I flew too high.

Though my eyes could see I still was a blind man
Though my mind could think I still was a mad man
I hear the voices when I'm dreaming
I can hear them say.

Carry on my wayward son
There'll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don't you cry no more.

Masquerading as a man with a reason
My charade is the event of the season
And if I claim to be a wise man, well
It surely means that I don't know

On a stormy sea of moving emotion
Tossed about I'm like a ship on the ocean
I set a course for winds of fortune
But I hear the voices say

Carry on my wayward son
There'll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don't you cry no more

Carry on, you will always remember
Carry on, nothing equals the splendor
Now your life's no longer empty
Surely heaven waits for you

Carry on my wayward son
There'll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don't you cry {vocal echo: Don't you cry} no more

Contact Me about this page. All rights reserved. © Rm² 2001