Tales of a Life Well Wasted & Other Gems

Sleep Kentucky Babe

As I sat in front of my computer, engaged in some mundane task, the gentle melodies of Music Channel’s Soundscapes filled the room. It’s funny how certain sounds can transport us back in time, triggering memories long forgotten. This particular day, a familiar tune, a variation of an old lullaby, echoed through the speakers. Though I couldn’t recall the exact title, it whisked me back to a time when I used to sing a different lullaby to my baby brother.

It had been years since I sang that lullaby, and I had to dig deep into the recesses of my mind to remember even a single phrase. Thankfully, the wonders of the Internet came to my rescue, allowing me to find the lyrics with ease.

The memory took me back to my eighth-grade chorus class, where our teacher introduced us to a repertoire of old traditional tunes. Among them was “Sleep, Kentucky Babe,” a song so antiquated that most people today would likely scratch their heads in confusion. But to me, it was a melody steeped in nostalgia, harkening back to a bygone era.

At that time, I was the eldest of six siblings, with my youngest brother a mere toddler. Our home in Sacramento was a cozy one, albeit a bit cramped with three bedrooms shared among us. I fondly recall the bunk beds and the crib where my youngest brother, Bob, spent his early years.

My parents worked tirelessly to provide for our family. While I can’t recall the specifics of my father’s job at that time, my mother was a dedicated nurse, often working long hours at the hospital on various shifts.

Despite the chaos of our household, there were moments of tranquility, particularly at bedtime. I would often sit with Bob as he drifted off to sleep, singing softly to him and gently stroking his brow. Though he was too young to remember those moments, they left a lasting impression on me.

In hindsight, I realize that those simple moments of connection were precious, yet easily forgotten amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It took the gentle reminder of a familiar melody to bring them flooding back, evoking a sense of warmth and nostalgia that I hadn’t felt in years.

“Skeeters am a-hummin’ on the honeysuckle vine,

Sleep, Kentucky babe.

Sandman am a-comin’ to this little babe of mine,

Sleep, Kentucky babe.

Silv’ry moon am shinin’ from the heavens up above.

Bob-o-link am pinin’ for it’s little lady love.

You is mighty lucky, babe from old Kentucky,

Close your eyes and sleep.

Fly away (fly away).

Fly away, Kentucky babe, fly away to rest.

Fly away (fly away).

Lay your sleepy little head on your Daddy’s breast.

Close your eyes and sleep.

Close your eyes and sleep.”