Young love is fleeting, though, so I don’t think it’s going to last (they’re only four). Weeks ago, she wouldn’t even play “Ninjas” with him. But now they coordinate outfits and exchange smiley goodbyes at pickup each day. She even gave him a nickname.
It’s adorable and it must be great, because now he’s already paranoid about her leaving him.
And Charley Crockett’s “Jamestown Ferry” might be to blame.
Released on Crockett’s 2017 album of cover songs, L’il G.L.’s Honky Tonk Jubilee, “Jamestown Ferry” became a recent staple for our drives to and from school, and hence, the soundtrack to my son’s first taste of romance.
While it plays, he keeps peppering me with questions in the car. And I’m still not sure if the song is fueling his paranoia, or if it’s providing him a preemptive education on the tough realities of love that are the subject of so many of our favorite songs. Either way, it’s been fun and excruciating trying to explain yet another song to a love-struck four-year-old.
“She just caught the Jamestown Ferry It’s not a hot day in January Like she said it’d be If she ever left me A case of gone was all she carried As she got on the Jamestown Ferry And she said that gone was all she’d ever be…”
“Daddy, why did he say ‘hot day in January?’”
“Well, see, Charley’s sad because the girl he likes said she would only leave him on a hot day in January. But even though it’s always cold in January, she left anyway.”
“… basically, she lied to him, buddy. She told him she’d never leave him, but she did. Lying is bad. And that’s why Charley’s sad.”
“But WHY did she leave?”
“I… don’t know. Maybe he was mean to her? Maybe she was mean to him? Maybe… she just doesn’t like him anymore?”
And maybe I traumatized my poor boy by admitting that his girl might just stop liking him one day.
Still, traumatic or not, it was a truth he’d have to learn eventually.
If this special classmate of his DID leave him after Snack Time one day, I wanted him to know that it was ok to be sad about it. Just like poor Charley in “Jamestown Ferry,” he could feel his emotions on that day and use music to release them into the world through healthy, artistic expression.
Of course, what I didn’t tell him is that he’ll be the one catching the “Jamestown Ferry” out of town when he changes schools next month. And while it’ll still be painful, he’s probably due for a change in perspective.
Thankfully, Tanya Tucker’s original version could give him just that if I slip it into our drive-time rotation.
Written by Bobby Borchers and Mack Vickery and released on Tucker’s 1972 album “Delta Dawn,” the song is nearly identical to Crockett’s cover except for replacing the “she’s” with “he’s.” So, while my son worries about the potential heartbreak on the horizon, thanks to me and a wonderful feature of public school in California known as “transitional kindergarten,” my son might actually play the role of “heartbreaker” in this drama.
Come to think of it, maybe “Jamestown Ferry” isn’t the right song for his moment after all. Perhaps something more like George Strait’s “The Cowboy Rides Away” is more appropriate.
Because even though “Jamestown Ferry” hardened him to the harsh realities of the pursuit of love, my son should also know that it’s still ok to be sad when you’re the one who’s leaving.
And that’s what he’ll do on a hot day in August… right after Snack Time.