Banner Mountain Girl # 69

From my journal: “It is raining very hard. The sky is dark and heavy with clouds full of water. It is a day in which I am usually lonely, but today my heart is filled with joy that is lasting over into this dark and rainy day.”

I am a writer and I must write. Often, I wonder what is new to write? Even if, like Hemingway, I should begin with one true sentence, how would I complete a work that I haven’t even thought about? It’s amazing how sometimes my words and phrases tumble over each other to crowd the page, and other times, the page remains blank because a long, dry spell has control of my sub-conscious. Writer’s block is for real from time to time in a writer’s life. And it’s to be expected. As far as I can tell, there’s no quick cure for it.

Journal entry: “I have no creative thoughts but I feel compelled to write something. Drove out to Banner Mountain. Enjoyed the peacefulness of the woods. I always like to go back there.”

Going back to Banner Mountain is like going back home–the place I left at the age of barely nineteen. On an autumn day following our wedding and honeymoon, my husband and I loaded our wedding gifts into the car he had borrowed from an Air Force buddy and we began our journey in life together. A couple of days later, we arrived at Smoky Hill Air Force Base out on the Kansas plains–the countryside so different from my beloved Banner Mountain, with its woodlands, its songbirds, goldfinch on hoeand its kind and gentle people. I would meet other wonderful people as we followed my husband’s military career. I would live in other states in the United States and in one foreign country before my husband retired. After his retirement we moved back to Arkansas, back to the Ozarks to live not very far from Banner Mountain.  © Freeda Baker Nichols

Banner Mt.

 

Banner Mountain Girl # 35 My Favorite Room

The Kitchen is my Favorite Room

Some writers say their favorite room is their writing room. I write in my office but it’s not my favorite room. I go there to write or to be alone. I can be sure I won’t be disturbed because I’ve had only one visitor in the several years I’ve been writing. One day, time slipped by as I worked on an article and my husband came in to ask what time dinner would be served. I no longer spend a lot of time in my kitchen — and my husband might not believe this — but my kitchen is my favorite room.

violets from my windowsill

African Violets bloom from my kitchen window which faces east, and that pleases me because they are supposed to thrive only in light from the north, and I don’t have a north window for violets. My kitchen window not only provides a shelf for potted plants, it also allows me to see the driveway which brings friends to my door.

Friends and family are important to me — like good books — and in my kitchen I like preparing foods and beverages for people. Their compliments are more rewarding than I deserve but it’s part of the reason why I like my kitchen.  I don’t like to clean my kitchen floor, but I like a spotless floor and when the floor is sparkling, I like my kitchen even better.

In the near future, I plan to remodel my kitchen. In its present state, it’s far from a picture model in Better Homes and Gardens. My husband is either lucky or unlucky that I have a sense of humor, because without it I would not have survived the many years of preparing meals from this kitchen. Without my sense of humor, my husband and I might have parted with this kitchen, or I might have parted with my husband, one of the two.

I realized I had a sense of humor when my son got married. Following tradition, I invited my son’s fiancé and her parents for dinner. Her mother stood in my kitchen talking about the wedding shower which was given in her hometown for the newlyweds-to-be.

“They received everything. Just everything,” she said, “except fine china.”

Oh, I thought, fine china. They must have fine china. As I opened my cabinet to get a pan, every piece of Tupperware I own came crashing out and spilled onto the floor. That’s when I laughed. Laughter costs a lot less than tears and I’m an economical person.

Today I changed two light bulbs in my kitchen. My husband would have changed them but it’s so easy to ask him to do that, I decided that changing the bulbs was more of a challenge than asking him, so I changed them. I hope this doesn’t prove I can get along without my husband, because I can’t. I need him, not only to compliment my cooking but also to proofread my novel.

It’s a romance and an exciting adventure for me. I hope it’s a best seller, but if not, I’ll try another category. From my favorite room, I’ll share a secret or two. Good cookbooks are always in demand.

cowboy stew simmers on stove

~© Freeda Baker Nichols

 

Banner Mountain Girl # 34

Sea Star

I live in the ocean
in a far away land.
One day I was swept
onto the dry sand.

A sweet girl picked me up
by one of my arms
and I was impressed
by her human charms.

Somehow, she knew
that I longed to be free.
She gently carried me back
home to the sea.

Rockport

Rockport — A Place Beside the Sea

~~© Freeda Baker Nichols

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BANNER MOUNTAIN GIRL #24 In the springtime

copy-cropped-cropped-homeplace.jpg                                    (Homeplace from a painting by Yvonne Baker Hall)

As I remember Banner Mountain in the springtime, I think of how the apple blossoms and plum blossoms greeted me as I returned from school. I might not have noticed the fresh blooms in the orchard as I left the house to walk up the trail to the Banner School. But always on my return, the orchard welcomed me back home from a day of “readin’, writin’, and ‘rithmetic” and playing with my friends.

Yvonne & Freeda Baker

Yvonne & Freeda Baker

Yvonne and I at the homeplace, standing between the daffodils and the lilac bush. With two years difference in our ages, we were inseparable. Mama said that when I started to school that Yvonne was very lonely. She’d go outside and call for our dog, named Rusty. “Here, Rust! Here, Rust!” In a couple of years, though, Yvonne joined me on the walk to school. As time went by, Rust met his fate although I don’t recall when or how he died. Another dog named Fuzzy came into our lives, and he was allowed to go with us to school. He waited around for us until school was out and he hurried along as we headed back home.  At the close of school for the summer when certificates were given to those completing the eighth grade, Fuzzy received a certificate, too. I don’t know how much Fuzzy learned but he was well-behaved and friendly to all.

The lilacs, the daffodils, and the orchard’s pink and white blooms were such a pleasant sight–the memory of which I still cherish from long-ago spring-times on Banner Mountain. ~~Freeda Baker Nichols

Bluebird

the bluebird flies purposefully