Written for US educational group. Washington DC. Used with permission. For grade 3 (8-year-old readers).
It’s a real scary thing living next to the tallest mountain in the world. All I have to do is look out of my bedroom window and there it is, Mount Everest, standing there in all its splendid magnificence, just behind the gas station.
Both my daddy and my granddaddy are heroes, you know. My daddy is in the army and he is always away from home. He is working in the mountains in some far off country and I sure miss him. He calls on the computer once a week and Mom and I talk to him. My granddaddy was a soldier, too, a long time ago.
“Longer than I care to remember, sweet pea.” He’s forever telling me.
My granddaddy still has a taste for climbing in the mountains. “It never leaves you. It gets a man right here.”
That’s when my granddaddy makes a fist and hits on his chest where his heart is and then he says, “I’m going to make you a mountain person, too.”
I’ve always wanted to be a mountain person since I was knee-high to a snowman. So I’m going to make sure I am ready for the mountain when my granddaddy says it is time to climb.
I know I can do this and I know people will think I’m crazy to want to climb the highest mountain in the world but it’s what I’ve always wanted to do. Honest.
When you know your own heart, you know things are going to be all right. At least that’s what my daddy tells me all the time.
Marion is always trying to get the other kids in my class to say stupid things about me. There goes the crazy mountain girl, she shouts at me, but as my granddaddy is always telling me, what people say about me isn’t my business.
I remember one day Marion brought a book into school about mountains. I remember she said that the mountain behind the gas station wasn’t anything more than a hill. She told me there was a book that said that Everest was a long way away in China or Nepal or somewhere like that. Then she said that we didn’t live in China or Nepal or anywhere close by.
I told her she was lying but she was having none of it. Said I was a stupid kid who believed her stupid grandfather.
Then last Saturday guess what I saw? Go on guess. Give up? It was Marion pulling herself up a tree using ropes and stuff like that. She didn’t see me, so I just stood at the bottom of the tree until she got to the top and I said to her that she must like climbing.
Well she nearly fell off the tree she was so shocked. When she stood up, she told me that maybe she did like climbing and maybe she didn’t. I didn’t think that kind of talk cleared anything up as I was still confused.
When I told my granddaddy about Marion, you know what he said? He said, why didn’t I take Marion along with us to climb Mount Everest? Have you ever heard anything so crazy? Just in case he was right, I asked Marion and she said yes. So that is why the three of us are setting off to climb the highest mountain in the world.
I’ve packed soda and water. Marion baked some cakes with her mom helping. She says that there are animals called Yeti and they live in Mount Everest and they tend to like cakes. If you throw one to them, then they’ll leave you alone. We didn’t see the Yeti, so we just ate the cakes instead.
The climbing wasn’t as difficult as I thought, but I guess all those months of training helped.
When we got to the top, granddaddy planted a flag, the flag of the United States, and he said that we were the very first to get to the top. Marion started crying because she said she’d never been the first in anything. I gave her a hug and she said she felt better.
The other thing was that at the very top my granddaddy lifted me up on his shoulders and he said that if I looked hard enough, I could see my own daddy in the mountains where he was working.
I’m sure I saw him waving, so I waved back and when he talked to me on the computer last week, he said that he’d seen me waving.
I reckon everyone should climb Mount Everest.
bobby stevenson 2012/2016