My Family

Julia, the Intercostal Clavicle, and the Turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston

Yes, look at the time.  It’s after two in the morning.  Julia woke up an hour ago and she just FINALLY went back to bed.

Ordinarily if she wakes up and won’t go back to sleep right away, I fix her a 4 ounce bottle and we go downstairs to the basement where the TV is and watch Nick at Night – I think I’ve mentioned before that she has a crush on Will Smith. 

Well, her timing was wrong, so I started looking for something else to watch – and found Bringing Up Baby

Didn’t help at all.  She woke right up.  Loved the leopard, first of all.  She was screeching and babbling in utter delight at the TV every time the big kitty cat made an appearance.  But that wasn’t all.  She seems quite taken with Cary Grant too.  She just watched him, eyes unblinking, her little mouth (now with THREE teeth!) in a silent "oh"….I am not making this up.  It was very cute.

Anyway.  After a while of this, I realized she wasn’t going to go to sleep at all if I kept watching the movie, so I went back to Nick at Night and watched Murphy Brown find out the sex of her baby.  And I stood there in the dark trying to hold Julia in a comfortable, relaxing position for her, alternately patting her back and rocking her, so she would go back to sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep…but she kept fussing.

So I did what I used to do with Alex.  I sang.  And for some weird reason, even though my brain stocks hundreds of song lyrics and melodies, the only thing I can come up with in this situation is "Sweet Baby James."  So that’s what I sang. 

And she stopped squirming and fussing – immediately – and just stared up at me. 

I had her cradled in my arms (my left hand eventually went numb – she’s not as tiny as she used to be), rocking her back and forth, singing in my James Taylor voice. 

…there is a young cowboy…

And her eyes were unblinking at first, just staring (probably in horror, thinking "boy, she really has an awful voice") and then……..

…he works in the saddle, and he sleeps in the canyon…

her eyes began a series of progressively longer blinks until, finally, finally…

…deep greens and blues are the colors I choose…

I finished the chorus,

…and rockabye, sweet baby james…

and carried her

                          back to

                                          her crib.


Goodnight, little moonlight lady.

2 thoughts on “Julia, the Intercostal Clavicle, and the Turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston

  1. how wonderfully written.
    and i, too, remember the effect your singing had on me. we would sing in the car…anyplace, really, and our voices would meld into this beautiful sound.
    (anyone interested in purchasing the tapes, email me at and we’ll negotiate.)

  2. This is so beautiful, Jayne. I love it!!

    And seeing Ralph’s name reminded me that he emailed me – arrrghhhh! I’m such a loser when it comes to responding to emails, as Jayne well knows.

    But hello, Ralph! How are you??

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