Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Little Night Music

"Sing, Papi."

I obeyed and, in a near whisper, sang the refrain of "Springtime In the Rockies." Every night for three weeks this past summer, I repeated this command performance in the pitch-dark stillness of my two-year-old grandson's bedroom.

When it's springtime in the Rockies,
I'll be coming back to you,

little sweetheart of the mountains,

with your bonny eyes so (true).

Once again I'll say I love you.

and the birds sing all the day,

when it's springtime in the Rockies,

in the Rockies far away.

Why "Springtime in the Rockies"? Call it a resurrected legacy, the only song I remember verbatim from my early childhood. Once in a while, my dad would pull out his black acoustic guitar and sing to my sisters and me. I don't know if he included the verses. All I remember is the refrain. Dad had a wider repertoire, of course, consisting mostly of Italian ballads, but "Springtime" burrowed into my brain, waiting decades for an opportunity to regift.  

Oddly, I don't remember singing "Springtime in the Rockies" to my two daughters. Somehow, this lovely melody only resurfaced, when my grandson was born. The refrain speaks of undying love and a steadfast pledge ("I'll be coming back to you") that endures across great distances and monumental obstacles. My twangy rendition seemed to soothe him, as I cradled  him in the crook of my elbow, and he nestled against my chest.  It's been our "thing" ever since, our unique point of contact. 

If I ever doubted the importance of "our song," my grandson gave me the answer one night. I sang and sang and sang the refrain, but he couldn't say goodbye to our day in the park, feeding ducks and swinging "up to the sky." Weary of repeating myself, I switched gears, making up some dumb song of my own. 

Out of the darkness came a tiny, but decisive, instruction: "No, Papi, 'Springtime.' "

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Listen to Easy Gibson's rendition on YouTube.