What’s So Good About the Top?

November 10, 2007
By Wilmene Hercule, Randolph, MA

Grand-Mama sat me down on her lap in the rocking chair
She took my rough skinny fingers in her soft plumped hands and said:
“Baby girl, what’s so good about the top anyways?”
She asked me this question so many times before,
Too many times,
And I had always shrugged my shoulders
It was getting frustrating
So I began to tell her exactly
What’s so good about the top

“It’s ‘cause you get to see the best views,”
I began
“You climb and you climb and you climb
And the more you climb,
The better the view gets
But sometimes, you get struck by lightning when you’re climbing them trees
Or the snowstorms get really strong when you’re tryin’ them mountains
But if you keep on goin’,
They can never turn you around
Your legs might get sore when you’re climbing them steps
But that’s okay
You can stop and rest anytime, Grand-Mama
Just as long you know you’re gonna keep on goin’ up
And you know the best part?
When you get all the way to the top of them trees
When you put your flag on them mountain tops
And when you reach that top floor,
You look at your burns, your frost bites, and your bruises
Then you look down as far as you can see,
And you realize
You’re at the top
And it was worth all the trouble
Even if you’re there for a little while,
At least you know what it felt like
And not everyone does
Not everyone does Grand-Mama
That’s what’s so good about the top”

She nods her head and grins a grin
As wide as a wide open prairie
She lets me off her lap and rests her eyes
Now she don’t ask me that question anymore
She don’t ask me any questions

She’s gone now

“Baby boy,”
I say several years later
“What’s so good about the top anyways?”
“Oh Grand-Mama,” he groans
“You asked me that question so many times,” he says
“Too many times.”

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