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.' "

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Listen to Easy Gibson's rendition on YouTube.

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely legacy for your grandson. The song is probably embedded in his brain, and maybe someday he'll pass it on to children and grandchildren of his own.

    B. Lynn Goodwin
    Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers