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The Right Mountain

I cut my teeth writing on Hubpages back in 2009. I've written 17 novels, numerous songs, and short stories since. I love to write love.


His opinion.

"I'm not gonna' walk behind a mule and push a plow till I drop dead like daddy did. By the time we got the tractor, daddy's body was worn out. I am going to go to college and get a good education. I am going to have people respect and even look up to me. I want to die knowing that I made my mark! People will know the name, Nevel O'Toole meant something," He said while biting down on a dangling wheat stem from the corner of his mouth.
Sitting in her creaking oak rocker, Grandma Iris looked over her glasses at Nevel and said, "Boy, if you can leave this old world and actually love somebody other than yourself, there might be hope for your soul." She dropped her knitting needles in an old canvas bag and slapped her hands on the worn stained arms of her rocking chair.
Nevel started to speak but she cut him off and said, "It ain't how many people that love you, child. It is how much you love people. Any damned fool can be loved. I am tellin' you now, the very truth! Love is the prize at the top of our mountain. That mountain is covered with thorn bushes and sliding rocks. If you ain't willin' to climb it, you don't deserve it!"
She continued, "Your daddy was a fine man and a good provider for his family. Yes...he was a hard-working farmer. He loved the ground your mama walked on and he cherished you so deeply." Nevel hung his head and softly said, "I know grandma. I just want to be more than a farmer."


Her response.

Grandma Iris grinned and chuckled saying, "You cain't be more than a farmer, boy. Farmers grow food. No life. You could be the best picture show actor or even a great a writer as Samuel Clemens but a starving man would trade a life lived in fame for a bowl of my stew and a smile across the table."
Nevel snapped back, "You don't understand Grandma, I know you're telling me good things but...but!" She cut him off, with a little anger in her voice, saying, "Someday in the future, you are gonna remember these old hills and miss the boy you are at this moment. I guarantee you that....child." She continued, "See that little sparrow on the well pump?" Nevel looked and nodded as he said, "Yes." Grandma Iris said, "God even looks after the little sparrow but it ain't gonna get a worm unless it jumps down off that pump. Labor to live ain't a bad thing child. It is a blessing from the good Lord."
Nevel gave her a bit of a snarled look and quickly said, "I have to go Grandma. I have a date tonight and I need to get some chores done." Grandma Iris motioned with her hand for him to come to her. Nevel bent down to give her a hug. Grandma Iris kissed him on the left cheek and simultaneously flicked his right ear with her finger.
Nevel backed away fast and shouted, "Ouch....dang Grandma...that hurt...why did you do that?" Grandma Iris smiled and said, "I want you to remember a little poem I wrote when I was your age."
She recited:
Suns and rains
Doves and crows
Paths of pains
Kissing tears
Tickling toes
Words from here (She pointed at her heart.)
Is our mountain



Grandma Iris wiped a little tear from under her glasses and said, "Your Grandfather could kiss me and unleash the heavens in my heart. Sometimes it felt like stars were sifting through my fingers."
She looked Nevel in the eyes and said, "Find what you love and find who to love. Smile at the Lord every day with a thankful heart and he will show you a path on our mountain." Nevel crossed his arms and took a step towards the steps, saying, "How do you know there even is a Lord, Grandma?"
Grandma Iris rocked her chair a few times and answered, "Just look. He's right behind you!" Nevel started to whip around, caught himself, and laughed, saying, "I'm not six years old anymore. You fooled me back then but not now."
Grandma Iris grinned big and said, "No need to worry about not seeing God, child. Best worry about God not seeing you." She looked at the blue sky of scattered white clouds laced under her porch roof and said, "You go on and get your education. You make your life as you need to make it and always remember that your daddy and Grandpas were farmers. Your mama and Grandmas were Homemakers that worked beside them."
She swallowed hard and continued, "If you ever find in your heart that we were less than anyone or thing in this world, you will surely be at the top of the wrong mountain."
Nevel remembered the words and poetry of Grandma Iris back in 1933. Even the flick of her finger on his ear kept her in mind so often. He kneeled down and placed wildflowers in a stone vase of her grave. He spoke softly with tears in his eyes, "Sweet Grandma Iris, it took me more than thirty years to claw my way to the top. I turned hell inside out to stay there for another twenty years. I'm a happy old sparrow fluttering around in wonderful childhood memories. God...I love you and miss you so much. I did find the right mountain, Grandma. Right here.

The People of My Childhood

© 2022 Tom Cornett

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