The Iron Mountain Review Vol. XXXII

Robert Gipe and Higher Ground Company 65

GALE: Tell me what to do. MR. OFFICIAL: You’re supposed to be quiet and listen to me. DONNA: Why should I? NANCY: We spent 13 years listening . . . waiting . . . sitting and listening, and for what? A stupid hat and a piece of paper that isn’t good for anything. JAKE: I can’t even read. DELANEY: I shouldn’t have passed 5th grade. GALE: We’re supposed to be grown up and ready to go, and I don’t know my times tables! MATTHEW: You don’t need to know that for real life. DELANEY: Yes. You do. DONNA: We’re changing things. NANCY: Yeah. This time, tell me something real. Not just happily-ever-afters and metaphors. MR OFFICIAL: Sit down! Please. PICKLE: Don’t you be shutting them down! I want to hear what the youngin’s have to say! DELANEY: I need you to tell me how. How to find a job. How to move out. NANCY: Tell me how to make ends meet. JENNY: Don’t tell me I can’t. MR. OFFICIAL: I don’t know what to do. JAKE: Neither do I. LISA: Don’t tell me who I am. MATTHEW: I still don’t know what I’m supposed to do tomorrow. MIKE: I know this: hiding from something and lying about it doesn’t make it go away or get any better. GALE: We see how good that’s worked. This county is dying out. MATTHEW: Someone tell me the solution!

JAKE: Maybe it isn’t one big thing, or one trade. Maybe it’s more small things. MATTHEW: We got that new ice-cream shop. That’s not much.

DELANEY: But it’s something. NANCY: It’s a job for somebody!

JAKE: Hey, the answer might be a factory. Maybe it’s ten ice-cream shops. I don’t know! But I believe great things. There’s people here who have a heart for the county and a will to make things change. DELANEY: Some of us are digging our heels in. May has good ideas. MAY: Mammaw taught me to listen to others. Always people stopping to talk to her. I just saw it a little differently. I’m not the only one who has ideas. So many of you all do too. CANDIE: We’re so good at making do and figuring things out. We just gotta find a way to use the skills we already have. JENNY: But they are just small things. And they don’t all work. God knows how many businesses have failed here in this county. MAY: You are never going to have something succeed if you don’t fail. You can’t be afraid of risk. ELLIS: We took risks in the coal mines every day. OLE BEN: Buddy, ain’t all of life a risk? MATTHEW: I know it’s a risk! But what am I supposed to do ? Used to be you could make a decent living with just your hands, but now even an entry-level job requires a solid basic education. GALE: Why didn’t somebody tell us? SARAH: I tried to tell you. I tried. But some of you came in so far behind. Some of you came in so angry. Some days we get on just fine. Some days are chaos. All of you could. I believe that. I still believe it. All of you could. And I know why you’re angry. Some of you are tired. Some of you are hungry. Some of you had to do harder work just to get to the front door of the school than I do all day long. I’m just one person. Every morning, I feel like a waterfall is crashing down on my head before I even get out of bed. But I get up. Even though I know this is bigger than I can stand. Even though I know I can never win.

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