BANNER MOUNTAIN GIRL # 52 Christmas on the Mountain

Oh, it’s Christmas on the mountain
and the stars are burning bright
when the cool dark of December
spreads into the blackened night.

Oh, it’s Christmas on the mountain
and the snowflakes twirl and swirl
when the cool dark of December
turns each flake into a pearl.

When it’s Christmas on the mountain,
the wild creatures run to play
in the cool dark of December
on the eve of Christmas Day.  © Freeda Baker Nichols

Birds in the snow

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BANNER MOUNTAIN GIRL # 50 cedar waxwing

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This cedar waxwing visited my yard today and drank water from the pan. A small group of cedar waxwings come by now and then, but they don’t stay long. They are unique in the way they are dressed so smoothly in drab colors highlighted by red and yellow feathers at the tip of the wings and tail. The black stripe around the eyes looks like a mask. Some people call this bird “bandit.”  I never saw cedar waxwings on Banner Mountain when I was a child.  I love watching them now when they fly in to visit a while and I feel lucky when they pose for a photograph.      — Freeda Baker Nichols

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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

Baker Family (Scan0040)-2

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

 

BANNER MOUNTAIN GIRL#28 “Red Daylilies”

RED DAYLILIES

The house is empty now
and no one tends
the flowers, growing still
along the walk where once
I strolled with Mama.

My hand in hers, she walked
with me and talked about
the blue hydrangeas,
Phlox of pink,
daylilies red, and
golden black-eyed Susans,
dazzling at their peak
of color
in the sun.

I walk along the
silent footpath now,
where only shadows move.
I miss Mama.

© Freeda Baker Nichols

BANNER MOUNTAIN GIRL # 27 birthplace and homeplace

I wandered far from Banner Mountain . . . far from the place where I was born.

. . . But never have I forgotten where I am from.

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My folks were one of the families of the Banner Mountain community whose houses nestled along a road that still is hard dirt, clay and rocks. Our address once was Route 2 and we had a mailbox number, which does not immediately come to my mind.

A few years ago, when 911 maps were introduced, the road by my homeplace was named Silver Rock.

My grandparents lived along this road in a house with a breezeway. After my grandpa died, my folks with five children moved into the house with Grandma and my aunt. My grandma’s house with a breezeway is the place of my birth.

The breezeway was converted into more rooms and though no one lives in the house today, it still exists as the homestead of my grandparents.

While my parents were living with Grandma, my dad built our homeplace nearby. When I was about one year old, the family moved into our new frame house. So the house Daddy built became home to me and I never left until I married at age nineteen.

With my husband I moved far, far away from Banner Mountain . . . I followed my husband in his travels with the Air Force . . . but never have I forgotten where I am from.
© Freeda Baker Nichols

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a painting of my homeplace by my sister, Yvonne Baker Hall. © copyright, Yvonne Hall.