How I sang my grandson to sleep.
Sing, Papi, sing."
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,
">http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_4Zspe_g7KZc/SudEKdyXJwI/AAAAAAAAAEU/5kWWpM1i9vc/s1600-h/rocky_mountains.jpg">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.' "