There is a hill in Bermuda
Very high and steep
With a narrow road from top to bottom
That twists like a preying python.
'Ass Hill' they called it.
And I fully agreed:
You would be a total ass
To negotiate it if you didn't have to
At a mere creep
Praying for reliable brakes
And no traffic from the opposite direction.
I called it Ass Hill for years
Until one day in amiable conversation
A chap, a long-time family friend,
Looked at me queerly and asked,
'What did you say?'
'I had to drive up Ass Hill yesterday
And another car was coming down.
What a pinch! I hate that hill!'
His face convulsed
As he struggled not to grin.
'Oh, what an accent you still have!'
He chortled, looking ready to burst.
'Not Ass Hill, Cynthia. S Hill!
S Hill, shaped like an S!'
And he collapsed into laughter.
'My accent! What about yours!
You're kidding me, right?'
But he wasn't.
So, finally I knew.
All those years
Maybe people thought I was wise-cracking
And politely allowed me my little joke
Uncouth as it might be.
Bermudians can be gracious
Up-front anyway, like most people.
In my own head I still call it Ass Hill.
Let the implications fall where they may.
Cynthia Buell Thomas, January, 2019