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May 29, 2021

Rockabye Sweet Baby James

Dear Jay Leno,

Pardon me if I get a bit misty tonight while watching your last night on The Tonight Show. But it's all your fault. You invited James Taylor to be your last musical guest, and you asked him to sing not "Fire and Rain," not "You've Got a Friend," but (in my humble opinion) the best James Taylor song there is: "Sweet Baby James."

That's the song I sang to Matthew when he was a baby, rocking him as we swayed back and forth on the glider in the nursery on nights when he'd had a bad dream.

That's the song he'd ask for when he was a toddler, when we'd snuggle up and I'd sing to him and rub his back before he fell asleep.

That's the song I sang when he was in preschool, when he always wanted to "match our notes" on the last word: "James," his little face beaming every time.

Now he's 13, and way too cool to want his mom to sing to him. But I'll bet I can talk him into curling up on the sofa with me and watching James Taylor sing a song that has meant so much to both of us for so many years.

And Jay, I'm guessing it means a lot to you, too. Thanks.

P.S. In case you miss the show tonight, here's a gorgeous version of the song performed by James Taylor and Yo-Yo Ma.


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