“…moon river and me” by
(35 Stories)

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“Moon River”, the sweet melody composed by Henry Mancini, with wistful lyrics by Johnny Mercer (sung and strummed by lithesome Holly Golightly, played by Audrey Hepburn, in the movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961)), is a heartbreaker of a song:

“Moon river, wider than a mile

I’m crossing you in style some day

Oh, dream maker,

You heart breaker

Wherever you’re going, I’m going your way…

Two drifters, off to see the world

There’s such a lot of world to see

We’re after the same rainbow’s end

Waiting round the bend

My huckleberry friend, moon river and me.”

“Moon river, wider than a mile I’m crossing you in style some day Oh, dream maker, You heart breaker Wherever you’re going, I’m going your way…"

The narrator follows the shimmering moon glow, a river of moon glow, a moon river, wherever it flows.  The narrator is lost and adrift, a dreamer, a dreamer whose heart is broken, who hopes the moon river, his incorporeal friend and companion, will lead him across the abyss of sadness to gold at rainbow’s end.   The song floats through time and space, at an unhurried pace.  My favorite recorded version is by Andy Williams.

I don’t know when exactly I matched up with this song.  But by the time my children were born, in 1981 and 1984, respectively, it was embedded in my repertoire of songs to sing to induce them to fall asleep.  As I sang it, typically with a child’s head on my shoulder, walking along the shore, bathed in the glow of the moon river, I and my child were the two drifters of the song, joined together in our life adventure.  As sweet a moment as I can recall.

Sometimes the child would fall asleep.  Sometimes the child would fall asleep until his or her head would touch down on the pillow, and then would immediately sit upright, eyes wide open, and I would lift the child back onto my shoulder and repeat the song as we walked again along the shore.  The rainbow’s end was the child asleep, comfortably asleep for the night, as the last notes of the song faded into the air.

And what is further enriching and wonderful is that my children, now grown and with children of their own, sing “Moon River” to their children at bedtime.

Profile photo of jonathancanter jonathancanter
Here is what I said about myself on the back page of my 2020 humor/drama/politico novel "The Debutante (and the Bomb Factory)" (edited here, for clarity):

"Jonathan Canter Is a retIred attorney; widower; devoted father and grandfather (sounds like my obit); lifelong resident of Greater Boston; graduate of Harvard College (where he was an editor of The Harvard Lampoon); fan of waves and wolves; sporadic writer of dry and sometimes dark humor (see "Lucky Leonardo" (Sourcebooks, 2004), funny to the edge of tears); gamesman (see "A Crapshooter’s Companion"(2019), existential thriller and life manual); and part-time student of various ephemeral things."

The Deb and Lucky are available on Amazon. The Crapshooter is available by request to the author in exchange for a dinner invitation.

Characterizations: moving, well written


  1. Suzy says:

    At first I was shocked to see that you had written about MY song, but then of course I realized that it showed exquisite taste on your part. Lovely image of you singing your child to sleep with this song. Thanks for making your title different. Hope you will read my story too.

    • Yes, exquisite taste on both our parts. And two quite different perspectives. I liked your recitation of your history with it, particularly as it was your wedding song, particularly as it has been your favorite since you were a little girl, particularly as you associate it closely with Audrey Hepburn.

  2. Marian says:

    Aw, Jon, it’s heartwarming that this song has soothed you and children through generations. Thank you for writing this.

  3. What a sweet story, Jonathan, and how lovely to have two stories on this beautiful song, each with such a very different but equally poignant connection to it.

  4. Betsy Pfau says:

    I love the Featured image that you use to set off the lyrics so perfectly. As I mentioned to Suzy, this is a favorite song of mine too. I used it in a Vocal Technique class I took as a youngster (I’ve sung my whole life). But I love the image of you soothing your child to sleep while singing it, and now he does the same…walking at the water’s edge. Lovely and soothing – two huckleberry friends, moon river and me.

  5. Dave Ventre says:

    A lovely song indeed. I am embarrassed to say that, until now, I had never made the connection with the moon shining across water. How did I miss that?

  6. I liked that you printed out the lyrics near the top of the meditation. This narrative had a quiet and beautiful power, like the song itself.
    My mother loved the song, too, and we arranged for a family friend, a professional jazz singer (female) to croon it in between some of our eulogies.

    • Dale, how really lovely to croon the song your mother loved at that time. FWIW, when I sing it I do a modified croon (a modified baritone croon); I have no range and I have no ear, but almost randomly I’ll hit one of the notes and hold on to it, and feel like Andy Williams (or Frank) on a fly me to the moon kind of soar (“Fly Me to the Moon” is another good bedtime song). Thank you for liking the piece.

  7. Laurie Levy says:

    Your story moved me to tears. What can be more special than singing this beautiful song to help a child drift off to sleep. And the fact that your children sing it to theirs at bedtime — so wonderful.

    Just ordered two of your books and looking forward to reading them.

  8. Khati Hendry says:

    I love that you used this song to sing your children to sleep, and maybe give them sweet dreams. Didn’t realize words were by Johnny Mercer—what a talent he was! We have a lake near enough to see moon rivers fairly often, reminding me of that song every time.

  9. What a wonderful bedtime tradition you’ve passed down to your children, and now your grandchild are lulled to sleep with the same lovely song!
    Sweet story Jonathan!

  10. Susan Bennet says:

    Who knew that a satirical Poonie could be so sentimental? Of course he (and now she) can, and obviously you are. Your story just drifted me along a Moon River lit by moonbeams, Jonathan, and the images of your little children going off into Dreamland with this song are exquisite. I will hold them with me a good while.

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