Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Huckleberry Friend

Moon river, wider than a mile,
I'm crossing you in style
One day.
Old dream maker, you heart breaker
Wherever you're goin'
I'm goin' your way.

Two drifters off to see the world
There's such a lot of world to see.
We're after the same rainbow's end,
Waitin' round the bend,
My huckleberry friend,
Moon river
And me.
 -- lyrics by Johnny Mercer

I'm sure many of you are already humming along to this very popular song from the 1960s. The lyrics don't make a lot of sense, but the dreamy quality of both the words and the music make it a very lovely song.

I hadn't heard it in in probably a decade or more until tonight, when it came over the speaker system at Barnes and Noble.

My mother loved Moon River when it first came out in 1962. She purchased the sheet music -- both the movie version and, later, Henry Mancini's stylized arrangement for the piano. She sang it all the time. She played it all the time. This song is actually one of my earliest memories -- listening and watching as my mother practiced and practiced and practiced the music. (Mancini's piano arrangement contains a wickedly difficult last verse.)

When Moon River invaded my peaceful browsing at Barnes and Noble tonight I had an instant visceral reaction. Unexpected grief boiled up to the surface. It was hard to breathe. It was harder still to keep the tears in check. In that nanosecond, I was transported back to our tiny, pine paneled living room, my young and beautiful mother at the spinet piano, singing in her clear alto.

Such small moments on the journey.

- Catherine


bensrib said...

I so remember that pine-paneled living room and spinet piano, though I never heard your mom sing. Praying for you.

Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

O, Catherine, i know so well what this is like. Hugs and prayers.

Christy said...

I've been surprised at what brings back memories of my recently-departed grandmother. I've also been surprised at how weird it is to think I'll never talk to her again. And then I realize how you are experiencing that to the 1,000th degree. Praying for you tonight.