When our firstborn child Grace was a baby, my husband Mike would pace the floor with her in his arms and sing her to sleep. Little Grace loved it. She was too young to realize that she was missing out on traditional lullabies because of Daddy’s preference for, um, alternative lullabies. Daddy, you see, liked serious songs that dealt with mature topics. Topics like death and aging (“Old Black Joe”), treachery (“Lemon Tree”), hardship (“Ol’ Man River”), and the wretched lives of coal miners (“Sixteen Tons”). Over time Grace came to favor “Ol’ Man River” for her nightly pace-and-croon. It was no surprise when Grace eventually began serenading her own dolly with “get a little drunk and you land in a ja-a-a-a-ail.”
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