About the Book

At the Butcher Counter of Life

She turned fifty and promptly became obsolete overnight. Her nest emptied. The doctors who had employed her for twenty years retired. She gave up on the confirmed-bachelor love of her life, made a midcourse correction, and married in haste. To correct that rash decision, Janet Parmely made an extreme one and answered an ad:

“We have sixty million sheep but we’re short on audiologists.”

She got the job. As muddled, full of puff, wind, and rabbit tracks as a teenager, this seeker boarded a plane for New Zealand. Her one-year contract turned into a ten-year journey without a compass. What started as as a tap on the shoulder by the Big Five-O would end with a baby grand piano shipped across the world—twice—and a greater respect for the horsepower of hope.

Part quest, essay, travelogue, love story, this memoir is told with humor and wit, steeped in the allure of the Land of the Long White Cloud, New Zealand.