45RPM: Wagon Wheel

Where I match a song to a specific memory.

I first heard this song at a friend’s singing party and experienced that weird feeling I get when everyone is singing along to an awesome song I’ve not heard before.  It was forgotten in the crush of songs that night but found again in a tiny Hawaiian restaurant in a mountain town in Colorado.

We had traveled to the cool breezes of the summer mountains to see my boyfriend’s brother get married.  It was a fun wedding on a ranch where we rode horses and every morning ate a good breakfast.  Our last night there we drove into town to see (follow this chain if you can) my boyfriend’s mother’s partner’s son Jon play a set at local restaurant.  I’d met the player in question at a different family wedding and found him full of good humor and easy conversation.  That he also lived in Colorado and played the guitar was a revelation for this trip.  It was sunset when we arrived and as the light faded we sang along as Jon played many songs I know.  His set lasted longer than we did and as we packed up to leave he launched into this song.  We walked to our car, we could still hear his singing drifting across a creek that ran through town.  I sang along with the chorus, “Rock me mama like a wagon wheel,” but the next line was interrupted when John spotted us across the way, “Rock me mama–goodbye Dad!” he called mid-line.  We laughed as we found our car and sped off into the night.

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