My plane is airborne, headed south.

Memories march in and out of my mind–

like dogface soldiers.

I’d said goodbye to Mama, then Daddy,

who bent to hug my three year old son

not very long ago.

Emotion struck Daddy like blows.

He straightened, then turned too late

to hide moist eyes.  His blue eyes had

laughed when I was my son’s age.

Youth disappears like the dandelion fuzz

on the face of the wind.

Adams Field is windy . . . but the

planes’ wheels touch the runway

in a smooth landing.

“No, son, Papa’s not here . . .

to meet us.”

Uncle Jim’s brown pickup needs washing.

“Your mama’s taking it bad, ” he tells me.

“Is the wake at the house?” I ask.

He nods. “Like your daddy wanted.”

At the doorway, someone takes my

little boy by the hand.

“The casket’s gray. I never saw Daddy

in a coat and tie before. He’s so cold-looking.

Mama? Mama!”

Her warm arms engulf me.

© 2017 Freeda Baker Nichols


BANNER MOUNTAIN GIRL # 18-a visit to the Emerson Inn by the Sea

As a child, growing up on Banner Mountain, I began writing poetry and continued writing it in high school. I loved reading poetry and hearing my teachers discuss poets and their work. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would become a poet. And I certainly never thought that one day I would spend a night at the same Inn by the Sea where Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) had visited, where he had been inspired to write some of his masterpieces.



This lovely bed and breakfast–the Emerson Inn by the Sea–is where Ralph Waldo Emerson sometimes vacationed.  The Inn has been renovated and the renovation left a portion of the original rooms where Emerson had stayed with his family. It was renamed Ralph Waldo Emerson after their most celebrated guest. Much of his inspiration, it is said, came from visiting this rocky coastline of Rockport, Massachusetts.


Rockport -- A Place Beside the Sea

Rockport — A Place Beside the Sea

I visited this romantic place and stayed at this unique Emerson Inn by the Sea with my husband and part of our family a few years ago when we returned to New England to show our children where we had lived. My husband was stationed at Pease Air Force Base, Portsmouth, New Hampshire for three years. We lived in Kittery, Maine when our third child was born. What a treasure to revisit New England, see old friends, begin a new poem, and to set foot on the rocky coast where Emerson once found inspiration to write!

© Freeda Baker Nichols



My First Date

The Trent boys drove their dad’s old gray Ford truck
to town each Saturday to buy their goods
and groceries from Privitt’s Mercantile;
I worked there Saturdays from eight to four.
My eyes caught Cade the older of the two,
and I was plumb near dumbstruck lovesick blind
the way Cade’s sparkling eyes returned my gaze.
He caused my heart to summersault in flips,
my face to feel beet-red like flames of fire.
He handed me the cash for goods they bought
and turned to Luke, who now smiled wide enough
to show a row of teeth unmarked by Skoal.
Cade looked from me to him and said, “Here, Luke,
load up,” and quickly handed him a sack
of Idaho Irish, white potatoes.
“Naw, you load up,” Luke said to Cade and smiled
at me as though I were some beauty queen.
Luke stood nearby and watched me counting change
and grinned at me the entire, blessed time.
I checked my petticoat and nothing showed.
My face still hot, I took the dipper gourd
and dipped myself a drink from wooden pail.
Luke stepped up close; I trembled as he held
the bucket while I plunged the dipper down
into the water once more, offered him
a tasty sip this time. “Thank you,” he said
in tones as rich as mountain muscadines.
Cade blended somehow into burlap bags
and boxes, calico and denim bolts.
“Like to go see the picture show?” Luke asked,
the minute he and I were left alone.
“Well, yes,” I said, so eagerly I feared
he would recoil at any minute now.
He grinned again and I saw that his eyes
were bluer than his brother’s eyes, and he
was inches taller than his brother, Cade.
While movie actors talked, Luke held my hand.
As he drove home, I sat right next to him.
My ride in that old gray Ford logging truck
was fine as Cinderella’s in her coach.

© 2016 Freeda Baker Nichols