Whip–poor–will! Whip–poor–will! A voice declares. It reaches across time and my remembering stops with the sound as it peacefully echoes back from a silent night of long ago. The summers of my childhood come alive with color as a cup of fiery memories overflows.
After supper, our family sat on the front porch of our home on Banner Mountain in the Ozark Foothills until time to go to bed.
Dusk appeared just as the whippoorwills began to sing. Fireflies flitted about the yard and some of them had the misfortune of getting stuck inside a jar, held by small, sweaty hands. Jarflies were so noisy that adult voices had to stop sometimes, but the children’s laughter continued and mingled with the noise of the approaching nighttime.
Daddy never said how tired he was or how hard he had worked or how aggravated he had been. It seemed as though he loved everybody he had ever met, and felt no ill will toward anyone.
And Mama was always unruffled, unhurried, and able to relax as she went about her household duties. The apron she wore has no replicas.
The modern day housewife seldom wears an apron. But her children need to feel the security that I felt on those summer evenings when my family gathered to wait for bedtime –when the dogs lay lazily in a corner of the yard, and chickens were on the roost, the door to the henhouse closed and locked. Once again the chickens had escaped the whistling hawk that sailed the clear skies overhead. Tomorrow would be another day. Whip–poor–will!
© Copyright, Freeda Baker Nichols, all rights reserved.