Tread neat so small those little feet

This post is for my brothers…I know, I’m being very literal here, but since they both are now subscribers of my blog (thank you very much!), I figured I’d dedicate a song (and a blog post) to them.

The Greatest Discovery is one of my all-time favorite Elton John songs.  I’ve always loved it, but I appreciate it much more now that I have children of my own. I experienced my own “Greatest Discovery” moment when my son came into my hospital room after the birth of my daughter and exclaimed (in the most mellifluous voice I’ve ever heard) “Baby Chloe!”

Can you believe it was recorded in 1969?  Elton was 22 and Bernie 19 (can you believe it – 19!!!) at the time.  To write such poignant lyrics and elegant music at that age (well, at any age) astounds me.

Of course, the song is about a child waking up one morning to discover he has a new brother (in this case, Bernie’s brother Kit).  The innocence and wonder are captured so beautifully by Bernie.  And the music/orchestration provide such magical accompaniment. Paul Buckmaster’s string arrangement is perfect and Elton’s vocals are superb.

I’m going to include the full lyrics here – they are pure poetry.  (Take the words I chose for the title of this post – amazing.  Dare I say it again – 19!!!).  To share any less would be a disservice.

Peering out of tiny eyes
The grubby hands that gripped the rail
Wiped the window clean of frost
As the morning air laid on the latch

A whistle awakened someone there
Next door to the nursery just down the hall
A strange new sound you never heard before
A strange new sound that makes boys explore

Tread neat so small those little feet
Amid the morning his small heart beats
So much excitement yesterday
That must be rewarded must be displayed

Large hands lift him through the air
Excited eyes contain him there
The eyes of those he loves and knows
But what’s this extra bed just here

His puzzled head tipped to one side
Amazement swims in those bright green eyes
Glancing down upon this thing
That make strange sounds, strange sounds that sing

In those silent happy seconds
That surround the sound of this event
A parent smile is made in moments
They have made for you a friend

And all you ever learned from them
Until you grew much older
Did not compare with when they said
This is your brand new brother
This is your brand new brother
This is your brand new brother

I think, for me, the Greatest Discovery has been realizing that my siblings – my sisters and my brothers both – are among my best friends.  Who would’ve thought that when we were growing up?  Not I, that’s for sure.  I didn’t like growing up in such a big family, and I couldn’t wait to get out of our small town.  Now, I count it (them) a blessing.  Each and every one.

So, brothers, this one’s for you!

Next time I see you guys, I’ll sing it to you (god help us all).  Ok, maybe I’ll just play it for you.  Now, let me dig up those Frito  Bandito photos…

The Greatest Discovery (Elton John – 1996)