The Song Remembers When: Me and Bobby McGee

I love music. My life is always accompanied by a soundtrack. If the radio isn’t on my iPod is blasting or songs are just roaming through my head as I make my way through the world. There are some songs I associate with specific experiences, events or locations. With this series, I make an attempt to document some of those associations.

The Song: Me & Bobby McGee by Janice Joplin

The Location: The living room at the home of the M. family

My parents separated when I was about 3. My Dad moved to Annapolis, Maryland but periodically, he would come pick me up for visits.  Since he didn’t have a local place to stay, we would go visiting. Sometimes we’d go visit my grandmother, but at least a couple times a year, we’d go visit the M’s. Mr. & Mrs. M are old friends of both of my parents.  They have two children, a son N who is a year or two older than I and a daughter A who is a year or so younger. I loved our trips to see the M family. They were always very welcoming and I got along well with both kids. It is from N and A, that I learned what the word eavesdropping meant and how to do it. I also got the chicken pox from them! We played pretend games and would frequently pass the hours outside.

This time, it is late on a winter Saturday afternoon, all six of us are in their living room. The room has beige walls and warm lamp light is battling back the gray of from the outside. There might even be a fire in the fireplace. Mr. M. is wearing faded, blue denim overalls. I thought it was cool that he wore overalls.

Janis Joplin’s Me and Bobby McGee is BLASTING on the stereo and we are all dancing around and singing.

I can’t tell you what happened before or after, but I remember the laughter and the joy of belting out that song in that moment in time.

I can’t honestly tell you how often we visited the M’s, but it seems like it was at least a few times a year for a few years. Now that I am a parent with kids of my own, I have a greater understanding of their kindness and I will always be grateful for their hospitality.

I lost touch with the family, but my Dad still talks to Mr. & Mrs. M. Sadly, last week, he called to tell me that Mr. M had passed away at the age of 73. Rest in Peace. Mr. M. I hope your dancing in Heaven.

While scouring YouTube for a the original version of Joplin’s Me and Bobby McGee (yes, I know Kris Kristoferson wrote it), I came across this cover by Pink. I can’t say I’m a huge Pink fan, but this definitely does the song justice. Enjoy.

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