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The Song Remains The Same

Growing up, one of my fondest memories was my dad rocking me and my sisters asleep to James Taylor’s ‘Sweet Baby James’. That song is very special to me and my family. It would be the opening and closing song to the soundtrack of my life. It has been played and sung by my dad at all of our weddings. For the longest time, after I became a young adult up until recently, I refused to listen to it because it would bring me to tears from the memories it would stir.

Now that I am a dad, Mr. Taylor is a mainstay once again in a Viola household and ‘Sweet Baby James’ can be heard, being sung slightly off-key, on a nightly basis. My family doesn’t have too many traditions, but singing that song is one I plan on keeping alive and well. Every night since Ava has been born, she has been sung that song. Each time she has fallen peacefully asleep.

There is a trick to it, however. You can’t just sing the song as is. When my dad sung it, during the chorus, instead of singing the actual words of, “…and rock-a-bye sweet baby James,” he would sing, “…and rock-a-bye sweet baby Nicole, Dana, and Buck,” at a slightly more rapid tempo to fit it all in. I am ‘Buck’ if you were wondering, that is my nickname in my family, I can’t remember the story of where my dad got it from. To this day I am ‘Buck’ to my sisters and parents, as well as ‘Uncle Buck’ to my nieces and nephews.

Anyway, back to the song, I now sing, “…and rock-a-bye sweet baby Ava.” It has a nice ring to it, no? I stand with her in my arms, every night, swaying her as James Taylor strums away on my iPod. Back in the 80’s, my dad used a stereo system that took up a whole corner of the room, with James Taylor coming off vinyl or a cassette tape.  My iPod player takes up a small corner of my dresser.

Though the technology has changed, the song remains the same as I one day too hope to sing ‘Sweet Baby James’ at Ava’s wedding, seeing the tears well-up in her eyes as the fond memories of that song bring her back to a time when her daddy held her lovingly in his arms, safe from all the worlds harms.


About mikevi29

I was just a guy, now I am going to be a dad. *gulp*

2 responses to “The Song Remains The Same

  1. Char (NaNa) ⋅

    I just hope I am alive when you sing your final “Sweet Baby James” song to Ava at her wedding just like your dad did at all of yours.. nice touch Mike! Oh and by the way.. you got your nick name by a very dear friend of your mom and dad.. Dave Connelly.. who died very young.. Dave and your father loved the “Pirates baseball team” and would take you to them whenever they could and Dave would call you little Buck.. as in the song “Beat em Bucs”!! You loved to hear them say that ..So you where then referred to “Buck” by all..

  2. Ian ⋅

    My dad did the same thing, except replaced beer with rootbeer. I had long forgotten the song, only wishing to hear it now just to help me sleep. And, like you, I cannot listen to this song without getting all teary. Thank you for not only showing me a link to your past, but one to mine as well.

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