Is It Just Me? Memories of Mr. Frog

Published on Saturday, 5 April 2014 22:56 - Written by Nelson Clyde isitjustme@tylerpaper.com

Some days our memories are the best part of our lives. My thoughts have taken me back to reflect on the songs sung to me as a small child. Being the first grandchild in the family, I was the recipient of much singing and rocking. Every rocker had a different style.

Some would just rock. Some would add a gentle tap on the back to sync with the rhythm of the tune. If it wasn’t for my age and my height (6-foot-3), I could still use a good rockin’ some nights before slumber.

Possibly my favorite song from that era was “Mr. Frog Went ‘A Courtin’” (some call it “Froggie Went ‘a Courting” but that just doesn’t sound right to me). The song has many verses, and each family member sang it with a little different twist.

In fact, when the lyrics are reviewed on Google you have to wonder if they weren’t making them up as they went along.

When we administered the tradition to my children, I have to admit to improvising.

There were others, including “Jesus Loves Me” and “Jesus Loves the Little Children.” One of my kids told me recently “Jesus Loves the Little Children” is officially now considered politically incorrect. Now our lullabies are subject to censure?

It’s funny, some children love to be rocked, and others just wanted to go to bed. It is hard to imagine anything more beautiful than the tender head of a baby next to yours waiting for the restlessness to leave and the peace of a little one sound asleep on your shoulder.

My Sarah would stay awake and dig her head into my shoulder for several encores before she gave up the ghost. Many nights as parents of several young children, we would draw lots to see who would “put the baby to bed.”

Some nights we were so tired, it seemed staying awake in the rocking chair was the biggest challenge. You have to wonder who was putting whom to sleep.

In hindsight, I wish desperately I had a recording of each family member’s version of those wonderful songs and sounds. The quiet of an entire household anticipating the moment a baby will fall and stay asleep almost seems as if the studs in the walls had been instructed not to creak.

Have you ever caught yourself listening to someone else singing and rocking a baby? It may be the sweetest music on earth. You probably won’t find it on your iPod, but if you’re lucky you might run across it in your routine, and if not there — perhaps in your memories.