BANNER MOUNTAIN GIRL # 43 Two Kittens

My kitten named Polly was silky black with white trim about her face. She looked like a tiny panther, which had been sprinkled with honey and then turned loose in a cotton patch. The white patches resembled bits of cotton stuck to the honey on the black, silky fur. Honey was an appropriate way to describe Polly because, as a child, I loved my kitten very much.
Another kitten, called Peter, was my sister’s pet. I suppose that sometime in the first readers, Yvonne and I must have read stories of Peter and Polly, a little boy and girl, because I know that as a child I was not creative enough to think of original names.
As an adult, I found that naming my children was a difficult task. When I gave birth to four babies, I was flabbergasted–not about the four babies–about how to choose suitable names. The babies did not come to me during one delivery time; they were delivered at four different times, spaced quite appropriately, I thought. They were spaced from two years and eight months to five years between them, so that the range of time I had children in the house was a total of thirty years. That makes me sound very old, but I don’t feel old. I must be getting old though because now I’m remembering my childhood and Polly.
Polly was a kitten which I loved with all the love and warmth that a little girl can give to a family pet. My sister and I treated Peter and Polly like real children, feeding them milk, trying to put them on a schedule, making them take a nap. Polly often would nap, but Peter never did. And he was spanked many times for misbehaviour. But spanking Peter made him worse instead of better.
My sister and I tried to feed the kittens three meals a day from one glass of milk. Our “day” might be only half an hour, and often Polly would take her nap and eat again when the milk was offered to her in a short while, which we called lunch time. But Peter thought he should drink the whole glass of milk in one great gulp for breakfast.
I can’t recall what happened to the kittens. I do not think, though, that it’s because I’m older or that my memory has faded. I think the kittens just went away, the way children see things like that go away.
My sister and I are stronger because we held close to our hearts, literally, two little kittens who might have been just as happy without us,but without them, we would not have grown to love and create as deeply as we do. My sister is now an artist and this story makes me a writer–I think.

© Copyright, 2012, Freeda Baker Nichols

Yvonne & Freeda                     Nella                   Freeda & Yvonne

 

BANNER MOUNTAIN GIRL # 42–Autumn in the Ozarks

When it’s Autumn in the Ozarks
and all the animals are fed.
When the hoot owl calls at nighttime
while I lie in my little bed.

The who-who sound is repeated,
far away, yet as close as night
that is dark outside my window–
the owl must be a pretty sight.

And oh, if I could find that owl
who gently wakes me with its call,
I would join it in the treetops
and not go back to sleep, at all.

© Freeda Baker Nichols

 

 

 

BANNER MOUNTAIN GIRL # 41

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Fireflies and Memories

When lightning bugs turn on their blinking lights
that signal sweaty, little hands to try
to catch them on the muggy, summer nights,
my memories slip in to make me cry.

I squeeze my eyelids tight to stop
the moisture forming there.

The fireflies take me back to childhood, free
as hummingbirds that sipped pink four o’clocks,
and apple blossoms from the twisted tree
that Mama planted deep beside the rocks.

As whippoorwills called to each other
and June bugs buzzed by the lilacs,

my mama, dad, and all the children sat
on edge of porch to watch the daylight fade.
We laughed and played. What fun it was to chat,
with voices joining evening serenade,

and splash our feet with cold water
from an old enamel pan!

My tears are falling freely now in spurts.
That last reflection is the one that hurts.

© Copyright, Freeda Baker Nichols

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Freeda, Bill, Yvonne, Walter, Sephrona, Dean, Emma Jean, Aaron and Merle

 

Banner Mountain Girl#39–from my files–an instance of regret

I noticed him as he sat on the motorized shopping cart and guided a half-filled grocery cart firmly with his left hand. He turned into the aisle by the dairy products. He picked up a gallon of 1% Milk. His cart already contained a case of Gatorade and a carton of Mountain Dew underneath the boxes of oatmeal, Oreo cookies, and a bag of Fuji apples. He also had bananas, grapes, a honeydew melon and tomatoes. There were frozen Stouffer’s TV dinners and several boxes of pot pies. He stopped briefly at the cigarette counter, then went on without choosing any. He reached for a bottle of Aleve and a can of shaving cream. He passed by the meat bin, without stopping. He raised his eyes to look at me as he maneuvered past my overflowing cart. His eyes were pale gray, so washed out–hardly any sparkle to them. His hair was neatly trimmed and short, showing beneath the cap he wore.  Even now, he was a handsome man.

He was a veteran.

I know because he was shopping in a military commissary, the day after Memorial Day.

I wish I had at least said hello to him. I wish I had thanked him for serving our country. © Freeda Baker Nichols

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BANNER MOUNTAIN GIRL # 38 A Journal Entry

Coreopsis in bloom on Banner Mountain.

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From my journal: “A nice sunny day, this 27 day of February 1991. I must get back to writing in a journal. That, at least, would help me get started back to creating stories.
Sometimes it’s easy to write, other times it is not so easy.
I hope that I haven’t written all the things I’m capable of writing. I hope I can get back to creating short stories soon. That is really my love, creating fiction–short stories, children’s fantasies and novels. That’s the real fun things to do in writing.
This Friday, Writers of the Foothills will meet. Our subject is War in the Persian Gulf. The war is almost over now. I feel relieved and will be glad when it is finally over and the troops are back home. ”  © Freeda Baker Nichols

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BANNER MOUNTAIN GIRL # 37 from my diary

September 1980 —The September breeze touches the hickory leaves gently. Buzzing insects twitter across the dry, dusty lawn. Although the rain from last evening helped the grass to turn green again, more rain is desperately needed across the state.—Freeda Baker Nichols

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Hickory